Mob raids controversial precinct

The police station at the center of allegations last week concerning the beating of Afghan immigrants was attacked by some 50 suspected anarchists on Christmas Eve, forcing officers to fire warning shots in the air before riot squads dispersed the youths. The incident took place at the Aghios Pandeleimon police precinct in central Athens. Last week, human rights groups alleged officers from the station had tortured dozens of Afghan immigrants, subjecting them to beatings, mock executions and photographing them naked during interrogation. Attica police is investigating the claims. Friday evening’s rioters, who tried to force their way into the building, smashed the station’s windows with stones and destroyed the guardhouse before setting upon seven parked cars, two of which they overturned and set alight. No injuries were reported. The anarchists were driven away from the area after officers fired in the air several times and two riot squads arrived on the scene. A 29-year-old man was arrested soon afterward carrying an adze police believe was used to damage the cars. Another 18 youths were picked up during the night and taken in for questioning. Leaflets dropped at the scene by the anarchists made reference to the alleged abuse of the Afghans and the third acquittal of a policeman in Patras accused of raping a Ukrainian woman. In a separate incident on Christmas Day, one of two Afghan men arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly was taken to hospital after allegedly banging his head against the wall at Aghios Pandeleimon station, officers said. The two suspects were picked up in the northwestern suburb of Acharnes and taken to the station where, police claim, one man attacked and injured an officer before banging his own head against the wall twice. The suspect was taken to hospital.