NEWS

Greek officials mark decade from deadly bank firebombing

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Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and other officials on Tuesday marked the 10-year anniversary of the death of three bank employees in a firebomb attack during an anti-austerity riot in downtown Athens.

“Three human lives were sacrificed at the altar of bigotry and division. We honor their memory and hope that our country never again experiences outbursts of extreme polarization and blind violence,” Sakellaropoulou said in a tweet.

In an address in Parliament, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also referred to the incident, in which the three employees became trapped in a burning branch of Marfin Bank on downtown Stadiou Street on May 5, 2010, in the worst riot to rock Greece after it signed its first bailout deal with international creditors.

He described the victims as “innocent compatriots whose lives were taken… by the Molotov cocktails of hooded [rioters],” and said that a commemorative plaque would be installed at the site of the incident, “as a call to unity and democratic vigilance.”

Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, who held the same post in May 2010, described the Marfin Bank firebombing as a “hate crime.”

“Ten years ago, Greeks burned Greeks, citizens burned their fellow citizens. The murder at Marfin cannot be forgotten. It was a hate crime with no statute of limitations and the stigma of fanaticism cannot be washed off,” he said.

“The perpetrators remain unpunished. It is a question of democracy, the responsibility of the state to lead them to justice,” he added, pointing to the absence of convictions over the attack.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias also took to Twitter in tribute of the “four lives lost,” a reference to 32-year-old victim Angeliki Papathanasopoulou, who was four months pregnant at the time of her death. The other two victims were Paraskevi Zoulia, aged 34, and Epameinondas Tsakalis, 36. Dendias described their death as a “crime that rocked the country.”

In a post of Facebook, Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said that “it is a matter of justice” for the incident not to be forgotten.

“Ten years, three lives lost, no punishment,” he wrote over a photograph of two female employees calling out for help from a balcony as smoke pours out of the bank.