Details released on suspects arrested over Prespes rally violence

Details released on suspects arrested over Prespes rally violence

A prosecutor on Monday charged six men and a woman with felonies committed during a rally in central Athens on Sunday in protest at the Prespes name deal.

The suspects, aged between 27 and 46, are charged with causing explosions, possession of illegal explosives, attempting to cause aggravated serious bodily harm against police officers, illegal possession and use of weapons and other crimes related to Sunday’s riot, in which at least 25 police officers were injured.

The accused have denied taking part in the violence and claimed they were some distance from where it took place.

Three of the suspects have criminal records: A 27-year-old man has been accused in the past of being a member of an extremist far-right organization and arson. He was arrested in January 2018 for reportedly participating in the far-right organization Apella and the arson attack against the anti-fascist Favela squat in the port of Piraeus in late February.

According to police sources, the 27-year-old is the one who recruited the other members of Apella, while in the past he is believed to have been a core member of the Piraeus chapter of neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, until he left.

The two other suspects, a man aged 37 and a woman aged 28, are reportedly from Thessaloniki and traveled to Athens for the rally. The man was accused in 2011 of verbal abuse and bodily harm, while the woman was arrested for theft when she was 18. In 2018 she was arrested for drug use.

The clashes started when members of extreme-right groups attacked riot police with Molotov cocktails, clubs, stones and other projectiles in front of the Parliament, ahead of a vote this week on the agreement signed between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Officers used tear gas and stun grenades to push them back, which led to more clashes in the streets around the Parliament building.

The violence and the extensive use of tear gas caused an intense confrontation between the government and the opposition, which continued on Monday.

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