AMNA--Ninety three buildings totally destroyed or seriously damaged by fire, among them nine listed or historically significant buildings, and at least 150 others looted and damaged, were the sad toll of Sunday's violent riots in downtown Athens, according to the latest reckoning on Monday.
A total of 74 people were arrested during the rioting while more than 90 people were brought in for questioning by security police during clashes between riot police and groups of hood-wearing youths that infiltrated a large but mainly peaceful demonstration against new harsh austerity measures.
Police on Monday announced that of the 79 suspects arrested on rioting and looting charges linked to the previous day's violence in central Athens, 53 are local residents, nine are Albanian nationals, while the rest of the arrested suspects include four Algerians, a Tunisian, one Mauritanian man, two Romanian nationals, two Poles, an Afghan, four Palestinians and one Iraqi.
Authorities did not specify whether the foreign nationals are considered illegal migrants or holders of legal residence permits or valid travel documents.
Moreover, three of those in custody are minors, aged between 14 and 17 years old; 41 suspects are aged from 19 to 29; 27 from 31 to 39 and eight suspects over the age of 40.
Of the 92 individuals detained for questioning, 68 are Greek citizens and 24 are foreign nationals -- two Armenians, three Albanians, a Pole, a Russian, seven Afghans, five Iranians, an Iraqi man, a Pakistani, an Algerian, one Kazakh and one man from Palestinian territories.
Police used teargas and chemicals, while in many instances they also accompanied the fire engines to help them approach the flaming buildings.
Some 103 police officers were injured and also a large number of citizens, who were taken to hospital. amna
The clashes began when scores of black-masked individuals threw rocks, stones and firebombs at riot police outside the Greek Parliament on Sunday afternoon, once again spoiling a much larger demonstration by protesters rallying against the latest round of austerity measures demanded by Greece's creditors to approve a new bailout package.
The original protest was called by the country's two major umbrella labour federations (GSEE and ADEDY) and the Communist Party-affiliated PAME labour organisation against the new memorandum.
Among the buildings that suffered extensive damage was the two-storey listed building on the corner of Stadiou and Christou Lada streets, while some damage was also inflicted on the Aghios Dionysnnsios Cathedral on the corner of Panepistimiou and Omirou streets. amna
Culture ministry preservation of monuments staff fear the two-storey building on Christou Lada, which housed the cinemas Attikon and Apollon, may have lost its upper floor entirely but were denied entry by the fire department on Monday on safety grounds. The building was erected between the years 1870 and 1881, based on a design by Athens' foremost architect of that period, Ernst Ziller.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
79 suspects arrested on rioting and looting charges linked to the previous day's violence in central Athens, 53 are local residents, nine are Albanian nationals