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live Hunger strike increases the tensions about the anniversary of Grigoropoulos’ murder

05 December 2014 / 13:12:33  GRReporter
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Tense atmosphere and an unprecedented state of readiness of the police authorities to suppress unrest are reigning in Athens and other major Greek cities a day before the sixth anniversary of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos’ murder.

The police are concerned about last night's attack on the police station in the Athens district of Vironas. At about 11:00 pm, a group of 20 people with hidden faces threw at the building a petrol bomb, "Molotov cocktail", causing damage to one of the service cars.

The ongoing hunger strike by Nikos Romanos and the procession on occasion of the sixth anniversary of the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos are the two main reasons for the high alert of the authorities over the following three days.

The Greek police have taken unprecedented security measures that have been in force since early Friday morning. According to sources, the measures are more stringent even than those that were taken during the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2012, when Athens was turned into a "fortress".

More than 7,500 police officers from various detachments are guarding the centre of Athens and all members of the police and fire service in the city, about 20,000 people, are in a state of full readiness too.

Accounting for the fact that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu will arrive today, the head of the Athens police has issued a ban on rallies and protests both in the city centre and in the region around the airport. The ban is in effect from 6:00 am on Friday to 3:00 pm on Saturday, when the Turkish delegation will depart for Ankara.

Therefore, draconian security measures will be in force over the following 72 hours in order to avoid riots during the processions to mark the anniversary of Grigoropoulos’ murder, which will take place late on Saturday afternoon.

The rejected request of Nikos Romanos by the judicial council and the message of the hospital head that he fainted last night have further increased the tension. The building of the General Confederation of Workers in Greece has been under occupation by a group of anarchists since last night. They entered the building under the pretext that they would participate in a meeting of a syndicate close to the radical left SYRIZA and then announced that the building was under occupation in support of Nikos Romanos, who has been starving for 26 consecutive days now.

Another group has "conquered" the building of the leadership of the college in the Athens suburb of Egaleo. As the rector refused to leave his office, the young people did not hesitate to curse and hit him to force him to go out.

The situation in the centre of Athens will be followed by the operational police station on Alexandras Avenue. Senior police and fire service representatives are already there as their task will be to duly prevent every outburst of tension.

Local police stations will double the patrols and officers from the "DIAS" forces for immediate police intervention will continuously patrol the streets.

The operation will involve helicopters of the Greek police and preventive checks and detentions of citizens will be possible as well.

Indicative of the state of high alert is the fact that the police officers' school will be closed on Friday and its students will patrol certain areas that are considered as potential targets of attacks.

For security reasons in connection with the visit of the Turkish Prime Minister, by order of the police, the underground stations "Evangelismos", "Megaro mousikis" and "Katehaki" will be closed from 1:00 pm on Friday.

Tags: SocietyAnniversaryAlexis GrigoropoulosProcessionHunger strikeNikos RomanosSecurity measures
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