Violent raids intensify

On the eve of an annual march held to commemorate a student uprising against Greece’s dictatorship 32 years ago, youths yesterday attacked police and the PASOK offices in central Athens as authorities fear that recent riots in France will fuel violence at today’s gathering. Police said that about 20 youths attacked law enforcement officers by throwing gasoline bombs at them and then turned on a nearby police minibus. The youths attacked the driver before setting fire to the vehicle, which was completely destroyed. A policeman was in the bus when the youths hurled a petrol bomb at it but managed to get away. No one was hurt in the attacks, police added. The group continued its rampage by throwing a Molotov cocktail at the offices of PASOK and then dispersed through the streets of Exarchia. Police fear that recent riots in France will influence local self-styled anarchist groups during today’s pro-democracy march held in honor of a 1973 student uprising against the 1967-74 dictatorship. One of the city’s areas to be heavily guarded today will be around the National Technical University, currently hosting an art display by three jailed members of November 17 – a group that assassinated 23 Greek and foreign notables between 1975 and 2000. The government condemned the display yesterday. «On an important anniversary for the restoration of democracy, the promotion of messages of any kind by those who injured democracy constitutes a provocation,» said government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. The display, which comprises 28 paintings and sketches, has outraged the families of the extremist group’s victims as well. Today’s march will wind through central Athens and end at the US Embassy. The ombudsman took the unusual step yesterday of reminding police to be cautious in their approach. The watchdog said officers should only use violence against marchers if it is absolutely necessary.

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