NEWS

Seven people remanded during crackdown on marches

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Police in central Athens remanded at least seven people in custody on Tuesday morning, on suspicion that they were planning to organize or participate in demonstrations marking the November 17, 1973, Athens Polytechnic anti-dictatorship uprising.

According to preliminary reports, one of the suspects was driving a car on Stadiou Street in downtown Athens on Tuesday morning that was stopped and searched, and found to contain wooden poles, helmets and gas masks and other items often used by protesters gearing up for clashes with police. The suspect has reportedly been arrested in the past on suspicion of being a part of the Revolutionary Struggle urban guerrilla group.

Despite a two-day ban on public gatherings aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, several groups have held low-key marches in central Athens on Tuesday, including the Attica branch of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), which tried to reach the US Embassy but was stopped a few meters before the building on Vassilissis Sofias Avenue, and a handful of members of the leftwing MeRa 25 party led by former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

Around 5,000 police officers – with aerial support from helicopters and drones – have been deployed in Athens on Tuesday to prevent the customary November 17 rallies and marches to the US Embassy.