Police clear anarchist squats in Athens

Police clear anarchist squats in Athens

A large police operation to evacuate three buildings in the central Athens district of Koukaki squatted by self-styled anarchists got underway on Wednesday morning.

Officers entered the buildings, located on the streets of Matrozou, Panaitoliou and Arvali, at 7 a.m. 

The squatters on Matrozou Street refused to leave the building and threw several items at the police officers, including pieces of furniture, stones and a fire extinguisher. Police responded by firing teargas and stun grenades.

Reports said occupants had been campaigning against short-term vacation rental services like Airbnb that have pushed up rents in the neighborhood.

Reports said ten people were detained during the operation, including two local residents.

The operation on Matrozou Street sparked fresh allegations of police abuse. A resident of an apartment adjacent to the squatted building said he had turned down a police request to enter his flat without a warrant. The man, as well as his wife and son, were allegedly beaten and handcuffed during a later encounter with police officials on the rooftop of their house.

In a statement, police denied accusations of misconduct.

The evacuations are part of a pledge by Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis to clear 15 such anarchist-run squats in different parts of the Greek capital by the end of the year.

On Tuesday, police cleared an illegal squat in the northern Athens suburb of Maroussi. The former country villa had been under occupation by anarchists since 2010.

This is a developing story.

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