NEWS

Policeman assaulted by anarchists

A policeman was injured after being attacked by a group of anarchists in central Athens yesterday amid a climate of heightened tension in the countdown to Friday’s anniversary of the 1973 student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic. Meanwhile, police chiefs convened to discuss the security measures to be implemented in the countdown to Friday’s march which, according to tradition, could be marred by violence. Yesterday’s attack occurred outside the offices of the Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), in the central Athens district of Exarchia, where two plain-clothes officers on a motorcycle were attacked by anarchists who beat one of them severely and and took his revolver. They also set fire to his bike. The wounded officer was treated in hospital for facial injuries but was later released. The beating occurred when about 50 anarchists were leaving the GSEE offices, which they had briefly occupied to protest the detention of a man accused of assaulting former GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos in January. A team of riot police which then arrived on the scene was pelted with stones and a Molotov cocktail bomb. Officers responded by firing tear gas and the youths dispersed. There were no reports of arrest or any further injuries. Yesterday’s assault, and an attack on a Finance Ministry office on Sunday, are believed to have been fueled by tensions ahead of Friday’s march in memory of the students killed when military forces quelled an uprising at the Athens Polytechnic in 1973. Police started tightening security as of last night in anticipation of further outbursts of violence. A core force of 5,000 officers will be deployed in the countdown to Friday’s march and an extra 2,500 officers will be on standby, senior police officials decided yesterday during a session to plan their strategy. Despite the large number of officers on duty, police chiefs agreed yesterday that their presence should be discreet with an emphasis on preventative checks. Parking will be forbidden in the vicinity of the Polytechnic (now the National Technical University of Athens) on Friday and traffic will be subject to restrictions in the city center.