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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-12-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou addresses Prosecutors' Union
  • [02] CPI figures for November
  • [03] Calm restored in Athens
  • [04] Secondary schools closed on Tues.

  • [01] Papandreou addresses Prosecutors' Union

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou will speak on Monday at the 1st Conference of PASOK's Interdepartmental Council of Attica Labour Organisations.

    Papandreou characterised Justice the shield of Democracy in an address at the 24th congress of the Prosecutors' Union of Greece on Sunday, and called for a common effort to restore the Greek people's confidence in the democratic institutions and the consolidation of a state of justice and dignity and respect of each other's distinct role in the function of the institutions and their mutual checks and balances.

    He also underlined the need to oppose cover-up, corruption and collusion by serving as forces of revelation, in which battle the judicial functionaries have front-line position and responsibility.

    "We cannot be passive in the face of an ever-growing certainty of general umpunity, the belief that nobody is punished today in Greece and especially those who have political, financial or media power, the conviction of a general lawlessness, that there are no rules that are being adhered to. Responsibility has two sides: Pay and Reward. And when there is no responsibility, there is no meritocracy," stressed Papandreou.

    Papandreou specifically reffered to Justice's independence and the judges' role, and accused the government of attemtping to manipulate the judicial functionaries.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou speaks at the 24th congress of the Prosecutors' Union of Greece in Athens on Sunday 7 December 2008. ANA-MPA/KATERINA MAVRONA

    [02] CPI figures for November

    The General Consumer Price Index (GCPI) in November rose by 2.9 percentage points over November 2007, according to figures released on Monday by the national statistics service ESYE.

    The index posted a 0.3 percentage point reduction in November over the preceding month of October, against a 0.7 percentage point rise over the corresponding period in 2008.

    According to ESYE secretary general Manolis Kontopyrakis, the de-escalation of inflation is due to the decrease in petrol by 10.2 percent, a 13 percent reduction in the price of heating oil, and the continuing containment and/or reduction of prices in supermarkets.

    He further said that the GCPI, in the 11-month period January-November, was running at a mean level of 4.35 percent against 2.78 percent in the corresponding period in 2007.

    Also, the Harmonized Consumer Price Index had dropped to 3 percent in November from 4 percent in October, and against 3.9 percent in November 2007.

    Finally, the Core Consumer Price Index (core inflation) was running at 3.4 percent in November from 3.5 percent in October, and against 3.3 percent in November 2007.

    [03] Calm restored in Athens

    Calm appeared to have returned to downtown Athens on Monday morning, following rioting in the capital and other Greek cities throughout Sunday following the death of a 15-year-old pupil in the Athens district of Exarhia the previous night after he was shot in the chest by a policeman, while several demonstrations were scheduled on Monday in Athens and Thessaloniki.

    The Athens Metsovio Polytechnic University, the University of Athens and other tertiary education institutions in the capital were closed on Monday in protest over the 15-year-old pupil's death, as were several other secondary and higher education facilities in various parts of the country.

    University professors have proposed a three-day strike through Wednesday, while their association has already announced a 24-hour strike on December 10 together with other workers' unions, while the Teachers' Federation has called a 24-hour strike on Tuesday.

    Rioting broke out in Athens and other Greek cities in the early hours of Sunday, after news began to spread of a teenager's death at the hands of police in Exarhia the previous night. The 15-year-old boy was shot in the chest and died of his injuries shortly after being taken to hospital.

    The incident occurred shortly after 9:00 on Saturday night when a police patrol car responding to a call in the Exarhia district was surrounded by a gang of 30 youths belonging to leftist, anti-establishment groups that started throwing stones and bits of wood.

    The two special guards in the patrol decided to pursue the youths and, in the ensuing fracas, one of them fired his service revolver to disperse them, injuring the 15-year-old highschool student. The officer who fired claims he shot twice in the air and once at the ground and that the bullet that injured the boy must have ricocheted.

    The two officers have been placed under arrest, while Deputy Interior Minister for public order issues, Panagiotis Hinofotis, immediately initiated action to place the pair on suspension, as well as their supervisor at the Exarhia police station.

    Police headquarters said that an investigation was underway to determine whether the events had occurred in the way described by the two officers, while an autopsy has been ordered to confirm their claim that they did not shoot directly at the victim.

    The youth's death sparked some of the worst rioting seen in the country for decades, as hundreds of leftist and self-proclaimed anarchist youths rampaged through Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Ioannina and Hania, setting fires and smashing up cars, banks and shop windows in incidents that lasted until the early hours of Sunday morning. Several police stations were attacked during the night and police officers in several cities became the targets of violence.

    The Fire Brigade, in a bulletin issued on Monday morning, said that the damage caused in the rioting, up until midnight Sunday, included: in Athens, the burning of 24 banks, 35 shops, 22 cars, 12 homes, 63 trash receptacles, 7 bus stops and a ruling New Democracy local organisation office; in Patras, a bank, a police patrol car, four cars, a vehicle belonging to the Achaia prefectural authority, 14 trash bins and a police parking log; in Thessaloniki, 9 banks, the Macedonia-Thrace ministry's press office, 7 cars, 40 trash receptacles, the Aristotelion University's canteen, an ND local organisation office, and three Metro construction sites; in Iraklio, Crete, two banks and four trash bins; in Hania, a prefectural car and 8 trash bins; in Kavala, an ND local office, a trash receptacle and the passport office at the police directorate; and in Chryssoupoois, a border guard post.

    The Fire Brigade clarified that the above damages were incurred chiefly by molotov cocktails, and the damage listed did not include destruction caused by rocks, wood, marble and other items thrown at targets during the riots.

    Further, seven people were arrested and 15 were taken to police headquarters for questioning on Sunday night in AThens during serious violence that broke out during a march to the General Police Directorate (GADA) in protest of the youth's death.

    Police said the demonstrators were cut off before reaching the GADA on Alexandras Avenue. Clashes broke out with police, in which 8 citizens and 13 police officers were injured, and were tkaen to hospital, while car dealerships, bank branches, cars and shops along Alexandras Avenue were damaged.

    Police made extensive use of chemicals during the clashes, which spread to the streets around the Polytechnic, while a large number of demonstrators flooded the Polytechnic's grounds.

    Demonstrators also marched along Stadiou street towards the Parliament building off Syntagma square, where more clashes ensued, with police again using tear gas, before the protestors returned to the Polytechnic area.

    Caption: Clashes between protestor and police in the city of Patras on Sunday 7 December 2008.

    [04] Secondary schools closed on Tues.

    Education Minister Evripides Stylianidis on Monday announced that the operation of all secondary schools throughout the country would be suspended on Tuesday, in the aftermath of rioting in several parts of the country over the shooting death of a 15-year-old youth by police in the Athens district of Exarhia on Saturday night after a run-in between a police patrol car and a group of stone-throwing anti-establishment youths.

    Stylianidis expressed the ministry leadership's deep grief over the "tragic loss" of the 15-year-old pupil's life "under conditions that wound the quality of our democracy", and expressed deep condolences to the boy's family.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Education Minister Evripides Stylianidis.

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