Bid to fell trees for car park sparks angry riots

Hooded youths clashed with police on central Patission Street in Athens yesterday after a heated residents’ protest against a municipal tree-felling initiative. The youths torched police stations in Kypseli and Aghios Panteleimonas and then firebombed the entrance of the nearby Athens University of Economics and Business. They also set fire to trash cans and threw stones at police who responded with tear gas. Earlier, hundreds of residents had protested in Amerikis Square where police guarded municipal workers cutting down trees in a local park to clear the way for a car park. The residents have taken legal action against the felling, complaining that plans for the car park aim to facilitate shoppers visiting the area, not local residents. Municipal authorities counter that the busy area needs two new car parks. They claim to have cut down just 12 trees, not 45 as residents assert. Residents are planning to march to City Hall at 1 p.m. today.

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