Appealing for calm, prepared for violence

More than 6,000 police officers will be deployed in Athens this weekend, it was revealed yesterday, as authorities issued a plea for calm ahead of events that will be held in the city to mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of a teenager by a policeman. Authorities fear that the December 6 anniversary of Alexis Grigoropoulos’s shooting could see a repeat of last year’s widespread riots. Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said that unlike 12 months ago, authorities would be prepared. «Various fringe groups will try to create their own anniversary of violence, which bears no relation to the demands of the new generation,» said Chrysochoidis. «The organized state will do everything it can to prevent this.» Chrysochoidis said that authorities and citizens had to form «a social and political front» against violence. He revealed that the police had been instructed to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to any trouble and to ensure that peaceful protest are not disrupted by vandals and troublemakers. Sources said that police have received information that some anti-establishment groups intend to make their mark in Athens and other cities this weekend. Some 500 anarchists from abroad are also expected to be in Athens for the anniversary of Grigoropoulos’s killing, which Chrysochoidis described as «an incident of extreme police and state violence» adding that young people were justified in «rising up» after the shooting in Exarchia. Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos insisted that the necessary «planning and preparation» was in place to deal with any trouble, which, he suggested, could include people targeting police officers. «We will not tolerate attacks on police with murderous weapons,» he said. A police foot patrol came under attack from a group of some 20 hooded assailants wielding chains and hammers near Exarchia Square late on Thursday. Two officers were injured and had to be taken to hospital for head stitches. A second foot patrol that was called to the scene was also attacked but by a different group of assailants, officers said. There were no further injuries but 13 people were later taken in for questioning.

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