NEWS

Policeman fighting for his life

A 24-year-old police officer was in critical condition yesterday after being attacked late on Friday by a group of some 30 youths outside a rock concert in Athens. The policeman was guarding an area outside the baseball stadium of the Hellenikon Olympics complex, southern Athens, when the self-styled anarchists attacked him with sticks, iron bars and stones for no apparent reason. Authorities said the officer was fighting for his life, suffering from serious head injuries. They said that he was currently under sedation in intensive care at an Athens hospital. Police said the attack was the latest in a series of violent incidents targeting law enforcers in which «the assailants have no qualms about causing serious bodily injury or committing murder.» A second officer, aged 35, was also injured in the attack on Friday. He suffered broken ribs and bruises. Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras told a ruling party conference yesterday that his ministry will continue to fight anarchists that have increasingly been targeting police officers on the streets of Athens. Polydoras also said that he can take the criticism recently directed at him from his political opponents due to the support he enjoys from the broader public. «Normally, I should not be speaking as I am a punch bag and punch bags cannot speak. (However) I am speaking and have not been affected by this as I have been instructed by you (voters) not to cower,» he said. The minister was responding to recent criticism over his role as coordinator of firefighters in the devastating blaze that destroyed 4,200 hectares of forest on Mount Parnitha.