NEWS

Mass poisoning of city pigeons

A woman was charged yesterday with damaging foreign property after being arrested on suspicion of having fatally poisoned some 240 of the Syntagma Square pigeons, one of the capital’s major tourist attractions. Athens reflexologist Chryssoula Maniki, 39, was taken into custody shortly before 8 p.m. on Sunday in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after passers-by identified her as the woman who had fed the pigeons shortly earlier and walked away. After eating the mixture of corn, linseed and sesame seeds, the birds started to fall dead. Police said Maniki had claimed to have had no intention of killing the birds, telling officers that she had found the seeds in the flat of a recently deceased uncle of hers. A sample of the tainted seeds has been sent for laboratory testing. For decades, Syntagma Square and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – where hundreds of tourists flock every day to watch the changing of the presidential guard – have served as a home to large pigeon populations, mostly supported by food scattered by visitors.