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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-05-11

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Siege of Athens Polytechnic ends at dawn

  • [01] Siege of Athens Polytechnic ends at dawn

    Serious incidents occurred with the injury of a youth by a policeman's bullet late on Tuesday night at Athens Polytechnic, during the presentation of a book at which about 100 guests, including Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) deputies Evangelos Venizelos, Christos Verelis and Spyros Vougias, were present.

    According to police reports, about 40 youth who had entered the Polytechnic at about 9 p.m, attacked the police escorts of Venizelos and Verelis who were in the cars of the former ministers inside the compound of the Polytechnic.

    The youth caused damage to cars with chairs, planks of wood and stones and struck the two police officers as they tried to retreat. Then, one of the policemen, probably Verelis' driver, as said by police officials, shot with his gun to scare off the youth, resulting in one bullet hitting a 28-year-old man in his right leg.

    The injured man was transferred from the Polytechnic compound by ambulance to an Athens hospital. He was accompanied to the hospital by former Parliament vice-president Panagiotis Kritikos who was present at the presentation of the book. The youth was operated on and is not in danger.

    Verelis' driver was also sent to a military hospital for first aid.

    Immediately after the incident, the youth, along with others who arrived at the Polytechnic, started to set fires to trash bins around the Polytechnic, particularly on Stournari Street, while they obstructed the former ministers and the others assembled at the presentation of the book event to leave the Polytechnic.

    A strong police force arrived at the Polytechnic who could not enter given that the youth are protected by university asylum.

    The head of the police force tried to negotiate with the youth who until 00:45 on Wednesday refused to leave and asked for the police officer who fired to be named and be punished.

    Two public prosecutors also arrived at the scene while the rector, Andreas Andreopoulos, who also intervened, tried to persuade the youth to leave.

    Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis is currently outside Greece on a visit to Pakistan and on the part of the ministry, the situation was being handled by Deputy Order Minister Christos Markoyiannakis who had asked for the presence of the police to be as discreet as poossible and not to provoke, so that the tension to subside without further incidents.

    The siege finally came to an end just before 5 a.m., with the youth leaving together and heading for Exarhia Square. A few minutes later, the deputies also left.

    Minister of State and Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos in an announcement said that "the government from the first moment, handled with calm and cool-headedness, quite a sensitive situation which could have developed into a major crisis with unforessen repercussions."

    Roussopoulos said the police acted with calm, seriousness, self-control and discretion to avert the worse, protecting human life and public property."

    He added:"I wish to thank, on behalf of the prime minister, also those who contriubuted in the easing of the tension in the best possible manner."

    The incident occurred on the eve of May Day celebrations. Due to the fact that Orthodox Easter was on May 1, May Day was tranferred to Wednesday, May 11.

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