NEWS

Anarchists stage parallel hits

Two groups of suspected anarchists yesterday staged simultaneous attacks on banks in different parts of central Athens, despite an increased police presence, boosted following similar attacks earlier this week and ahead of today’s trial of bank robber Yiannis Dimitrakis. One of the attacks was against the branch of National Bank on the corner of Solonos and Ippocratous streets, the site of an armed robbery last year that led to the bloody shootout in which Dimitrakis was arrested. Hooded assailants hurled stones, wood and paint at the bank’s facade, causing damage but no injuries. Though uniformed and plainclothes police officers had been stationed both outside and within the bank, considered a likely target for attack, the assailants eluded arrest. Meanwhile, another group of suspected anarchists used Molotov cocktails to attack three banks on Athinon Avenue. There were no injuries. It is believed that yesterday’s hits were carried out as an expression of solidarity with Dimitrakis, who today faces trial for his alleged role in a bank raid in central Athens in January 2006 which led to three people being injured. In a related development yesterday, around 40 people stormed the offices of Spor FM radio station and forced staff to broadcast live a 10-minute statement expressing solidarity for Dimitrakis and another jailed anarchist, Vassilis Stergiou. At the time of yesterday’s attacks, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, who had on Wednesday vowed to boost police presence in central Athens, was in a meeting with Police Chief Anastassios Dimoschakis and bank workers’ union officials discussing staff safety during robberies.