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Riots at the opening of the Thessaloniki fair

11 September 2011 / 13:09:52  GRReporter
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On the streets around the Thessaloniki International Exhibition special police forces are facing young people, some of them hooded, some of them wearing shirts of the football team "Iraklis". Chemicals, tear gas and bombs "Molotof" - this is the picture on "Tsimiski" street and the small park "Angelaki." The demonstrators retreated.

A few hundred meters away from there, guests arrive at the Congress Center "Velidio" to hear the speech of the Prime Minister.

The atmosphere is heavy because of the smoke, but also because of the specific odor of chemicals. To the right from the entrance of the International Exposition in a garden, four men in suits quietly drink coffee without paying attention to the battles between demonstrators and police forces that take place 150 meters away from them.

The prime minister arrived at the Congress Center shortly before 20:30 pm. On "Tsimiski" street the fire fighting department was estingushing three fires lit by fans of "Iraklis".

At the bottom, close to the street "Nicolaou Germanou" demonstrators are climbing up from the side of the White Tower.

Trade unionists, students, many representatives of the extra-parliamentary leftist party are trying to reach the fences placed at the entrance of the International Exhibition.

Squads of special forces appear from all sides. In the Congress Center George Papandreou spoke about the "visions" and about a new Greece, beautiful, rich, corruption-free, productive and mostly strong and independent. Two pictures, two worlds, one reality. That of Thessaloniki on September 10th, 2011, a city with empty streets since the morning, with residents who left it (those who managed to do so), with police force of 7,000 men, occupied key locations around the Thessaloniki International Exhibition and stores with bars closed down.

It should be noted that the police detained 94 people, and to one of the arrests, which was made earlier for possession of fireworks, should be added one more, this time for violating the law on weapons.

Chronology of incidents

The "angry" citizens rushed to be the first to gather at the three assembly points which they had identified (the White Tower, "Vas. Gheorghiou" Street and in front of the former building of the 424 Military Hospital). Hundreds of students gathered outside the Polytechnic School and headed towards the Congress Center "Velidio", where they met with union representatives and members of the l movement "I do not pay".

While the procession of unions headed towards "Velidio", at the street "National resistance" it met with fans of "Iraklis" and created tension. Police used a large amount of chemicals, and as a result the central core of the procession dispersed.

Shortly after 18:00 on Saturday, taxi drivers and fans of "Iraklis" started throwing various objects at the police in front of the main entrance of the International Exhibition, while the demonstrators chanted slogans against the Minister of Interior Yannis Rangousis.

Subsequently, the feelings ran high, and police used tear gas to repel protesters, who advanced to them by throwing various objects and torches.

Tensions escalated at around 20:00 pm. In the region were already present the "dissatisfied" and the anarchists. New tensions was created on "Tsimiski" street where fans of "Iraklis" were throwing flaming torches against the police.

Shortly after 22:30, tension was transfered near the University. Clashes erupted on "Angelaki" street at the Fountain Square, where a group of youths started throwing stones and other objects, and police responded with chemicals.

Meanwhile, students who participated in the demonstrations, said they were ready to protect the University occupied by them.

Students are gathering at the "Chimiou" Square at the University to guard it, and accuse the special forces of excessive use of chemicals.

Tags: riots demonstrators special police forces International Thessaloniki Exhibition
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