Appeal for calm to Nigerians

A senior Nigerian diplomat in Athens yesterday appealed for calm after four nights of rioting in Thessaloniki following the death of a 27-year-old Nigerian immigrant, for which protesters have blamed the police. Some 200 people, including immigrants and leftist sympathizers, protested on Tuesday night in a rally that was marred by violence, leading to the arrest of 20 people, including five women, all of whom were Greek. «I call on my fellow Nigerians to remain calm and steer clear of the anarchists that have infiltrated their ranks,» the Nigerian Embassy’s charge d’affaires, Mohammed Sani Dole, said after talks with Greek Police Chief Anastassios Dimoschakis. The police have condemned self-styled anarchists for allegedly hijacking protests by immigrants to create unrest ahead of the forthcoming general elections. Tony Onouha, a seller of pirate CDs, died on Saturday after falling from a first-floor cafeteria balcony in the Thessaloniki suburb of Kalamaria. Relatives said Onouha fell from the balcony in an attempt to flee plainclothes policemen. But police have denied any part in the death, saying no local officers had been assigned to patrol the area on that night. Dimoschakis said yesterday that a probe into the causes of the incident had yet to implicate any police officer. According to Public Order Ministry general secretary Costas Ailianos, who also met with Dole yesterday, Onouha had documents proving his legal residence and so would have been an unlikely police target. «The police and the Greek state generally demonstrate lenience in the case of minor offenses,» Ailianos said.