NEWS

Landfill altercations trigger probe

Athens prosecutor Eleni Raikou yesterday ordered a preliminary investigation into the violence that broke out on Saturday and Sunday when residents of Keratea, southeast of the capital, clashed with riot police in an attempt to stop a landfill being built. The probe will examine claims that someone among the protesters fired shots at the police and the prosecutor that was overseeing the process. It will also look at how a reporter from Alter TV was injured during the scuffles. The journalist had to be taken to the hospital, where he was treated for light injuries. Meanwhile, authorities said that one of the riot policemen’s helmets bore signs of having been hit by gunshot. Protesters also threw rocks, Molotov cocktails and other objects at the police on Saturday and Sunday. Officers used tear gas as they attempted to stop angry locals from blocking the road leading to the site in the Ovriokastro area. This led to Lavriou Avenue, which runs between Athens and the port town of Lavrio, being closed for several hours. Yesterday, a section of the road near Keratea was closed to cars traveling toward Lavrio. A detour was in place. «The clashes were really violent,» the outgoing mayor of Keratea, Stavros Iatrou, told Kathimerini. «Some shots were fired. I was held in custody for five to six hours and was hit by riot police, as were some elderly people and youths.» Keratea and Grammatiko, northeast of Athens, were designated some 10 years ago as the sites where Attica’s new landfills would be built but the schemes have been held up by legal wrangles and residents’ protests. The government is in a hurry to get the projects under way because it risks losing European Union funding otherwise. However, locals claim that the proper legal process for appropriating the land on which the landfill is to be created has not been followed. They also argue that the landfill will be situated near an archaeological site. A justice of the peace yesterday ordered work on the landfill to halt pending a check on the scheme’s legality.