Rioters leave a trail of destruction at university

19 November 2016
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After hours of clashes between self-styled anarchists and riot police officers that started on Thursday night and continued into the early hours of Friday, municipal workers cleared a ton of debris from the area around the National Technical University of Athens, where the unrest caused widespread damage.

Workers gathered chairs and broken doors that rioters had brought out into the streets from the hall at the NTUA where they had been holed up manufacturing the Molotov cocktails with which they pelted riot police.

There was also damage to traffic lights, road signs, sidewalks and parked cars.

Inside the university grounds, the damage was just as bad. Apart from graffiti-covered walls, the university’s management discovered broken and burned doors, chairs and desks, smashed up marble stairs and beaten up fire extinguishers.

A total of 13 people were arrested in the clashes that followed a march on Thursday night to commemorate the anniversary of a student uprising against Greece’s junta in 1973. Of the 13 people detained, eight were Greeks, three were Syrian refugees, one was Romanian and one Albanian. Most were aged between 19 and 21, except the Romanian, who is 16.

Around 40 self-styled anarchists were occupying part of the university building until shortly after 7 a.m., when they left the area.

The NTUA’s former rector, Theodoros Fortsakis, now an MP for conservative New Democracy, blamed the government for not doing enough to avert such upheaval. “Once again, we are witnessing these wretched scenes,” he said.

“The legislative framework is in place, it is simple and clear. What is needed is the will of political leaders and the decisiveness of the [university] senate for its implementation,” he said.

The union representing the country’s police officers also slammed the government, but for other reasons. “Our colleagues are not punching bags and the police force is not there to absorb popular discontent or for any kind of criminal plans or political expediency,” a statement issued by the union said.

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