NEWS

Youths run riot for third day in a row

A group of around 40 youths threw petrol bombs and stones at a government office and a bank branch and clashed with police early yesterday, marking a third day of street violence. The youths attacked the offices of the state Competition Commission and a bank branch on Patission Street, starting fires and causing widespread damage. They then hurled petrol bombs, rocks and even chairs and desks to stave off police before seeking refuge in the grounds of the Athens University of Economics and Business, also on Patission Street. Police estimated that more than 100 petrol bombs were launched between 4 a.m. and 6.30 a.m., when the clashes died down. No injuries or arrests were reported. Asked why no arrests had been made, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras simply remarked, «The police are doing their job properly.» Police officers, for their part, said that it had been virtually impossible for them to arrest any of the perpetrators as they would retreat into the university grounds following each attack. The National Technical University of Athens, which was the scene of violent clashes between protesters and riot police following Wednesday’s rally against education reforms, is still under occupation by suspected anarchists, police said. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos yesterday remarked that the current university immunity law – which bans police from entering university campuses without permission – was being exploited by troublemakers. «The government has boldly stated the need for change in the approach to university immunity in order to protect this immunity while also averting its abuse by certain individuals planning criminal activities,» he said. Roussopoulos highlighted the paradox of policemen being attacked by Molotov cocktails that had evidently been made on university grounds. «This is a very strange notion of university immunity,» he said.