Tight security for Turkey match

Approximately 1,000 police officers will surround the Karaiskaki soccer stadium in southern Athens today as part of a security operation to ensure the World Cup qualifying match between Greece and Turkey is not marred by fan violence. Supporters will have to pass three police checks before entering the stadium and will have items that can be thrown onto the field of play, such as lighters and coins, taken from them. Police will also confiscate abusive or insulting banners. The 30,000-ticket game is sold out but no Turkish fans will attend the match. The Turkish squad will arrive and depart from the stadium under a heavy police escort. Meanwhile, the government has come under more fire for not distancing itself from anti-Albanian comments made by the prefect of Thessaloniki, Panayiotis Psomiadis, which followed violent clashes between Greeks and Albanians after Greece lost 2-1 to Albania in another qualifier on Saturday. A spokesman for Synaspismos Left Coalition, Nikos Voutsis, accused the government of engaging in «voiceless, populist and hushed-up politics in a case of creeping racism and against the sporting spirit.» Commenting on Psomiadis’s remarks, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the government rejected views that do not fit in with its logic but added: «In a democracy, all views are allowed, none are banned – if they are, then it’s not a democracy.» The Albanian Parliament held a minute’s silence on Monday night in memory of an Albanian stabbed to death on Zakynthos after Saturday’s game. The Forum of Albanian Immigrants in Greece said 73 Albanians had been hospitalized in Athens after the riots. The group plans to sue the police for their alleged inaction during the clashes. Hundreds marched through Thessaloniki last night to protest against the attacks.

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