Hundreds of extremists run riot in city center

The center of Athens erupted into violence on Saturday when more than 500 extreme leftists and self-styled anarchists clashed with far-right demonstrators, resulting in three people being injured but no arrests. The clashes began on Saturday morning when two groups of extreme leftists met on Stadiou Street in the city center and ran into members of the far-right Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) group that had gathered in Kolokotroni Square to mark the 12th anniversary of the Imia islets dispute with Turkey. It is estimated that there were at least 400 leftists and about 100 right-wingers involved in the clash. The two groups hurled rocks, pieces of wood and any other objects they could get hold of. Some 200 riot police were called in to try and defuse the situation. Officers used tear gas to disperse the rioters, who had erected burning barricades along Stadiou Street. The leftist demonstrators also clashed with riot police on Panepistimiou Street a little later. The clashes led to two people suffering head injuries that required hospital treatment. Another person was stabbed in the stomach and needed a minor operation. None of the injuries were life threatening. Four policemen were also slightly injured after being struck by rocks. The police issued a statement yesterday saying that 100 people, 66 men and 34 women, had been detained and questioned following the riots but all of them were released. According to a police statement, six banks, one store and four CCTV cameras were damaged during the clashes.