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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-05-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Perpetrators will found, tried
  • [02] Political leaders condemn violence
  • [03] Emporiki Bank reports 209 mln-euro loss in Q1
  • [04] IMF statement on Greece
  • [05] Country shocked by death of 3 bank employees

  • [01] PM: Perpetrators will found, tried

    (ANA-MPA) -- Political leaders expressed their shock and condolences on Wednesday in the wake of a bank torching in central Athens that left three bank employees dead, as news of the abhorrent attack found Parliament in session to debate the latest round of government-announced austerity measures -- the reason unions were holding street protests outside the legislature.

    Tensions were heightened inside Parliament as well, especially after verbal sparring between Communist Party (KKE) deputies and MPs from the opposite side of the aisle, namely, from Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party.

    Prime Minister George Papandreou referred directly to a murderous attack, while promising that "the perpetrators will be located and will stand trial."

    Moreover, the Greek premier called on all Parliament-represented parties to unequivocally condemn the violence and "not to hide behind the decisions to save the country, which the government was forced to take, because otherwise the country would be led to bankruptcy." (ANA-MPA)

    [02] Political leaders condemn violence

    (ANA-MPA) -- Political leaders expressed their shock and condolences on Wednesday in the wake of a bank torching in central Athens that left three bank employees dead, as news of the abhorrent attack found Parliament in session to debate the latest round of government-announced austerity measures -- the reason unions were holding street protests outside the legislature.

    Tensions were heightened inside Parliament as well, especially after verbal sparring between Communist Party (KKE) deputies and MPs from the opposite side of the aisle, namely, from Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party.

    Prime Minister George Papandreou referred directly to a murderous attack, while promising that "the perpetrators will be located and will stand trial."

    Moreover, the Greek premier called on all Parliament-represented parties to unequivocally condemn the violence and "not to hide behind the decisions to save the country, which the government was forced to take, because otherwise the country would be led to bankruptcy."

    He also decried opposition statements claiming that the country was under a "dictatorial regime" as well as calls for "insubordination to the constitution", statements he said poisoned the political atmosphere.

    "You all know, each one of you individually, that under the weight of the current situation we made difficult decisions, but responsible ones in order to save pensions, wages, jobs, bank accounts and the toil of our households and working people. The other option was bankruptcy," Papandreou said during an address in Parliament.

    In directly commenting on the day's grim developments, he underlined that "every citizen has the right to demonstrate. He does not have the right to violence that leads to murder. Violence breeds violence; protest is one thing, murder is another. It is self-evident that we will stand by the three families now living through a tragedy, and we tell them that the perpetrators will be located and answer to justice. They cannot enjoy direct or indirect cover, it is necessary for the entire political world to condemn every form of violence," the prime minister said.

    Samaras

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras emphasised that the country is experiencing "critical moments", while expressing his grief and condolences for the innocent victims of "fanaticism and blind violence". (ANA-MPA)

    "... as a Parliamentary democracy we must, jointly, raise our voice and declare that there is room for disagreement and protests but not violence ... We are the guarantors of normalcy, the country has passed through worst times, and we must remain calm."

    Finally, the ND leader expressed his satisfaction over a decision by the premier to accept a proposal for a convening of the political party leaders' council.

    KKE

    Communist party leader Aleka Papariga, speaking after the Parliament session, condemn Wednesday's violence and expressed her party's condolences for the loss of the three bank workers.

    At the same time, Papariga blamed "provocations" by ultra-rightist "thugs", who she claimed tried to storm Parliament with banners and flags of the KKE-affiliated PAME labour grouping. She also charged that the right-of-centre LA.OS party was also provoking her party within Parliament.

    In response to televised images of angry protesters attempting to break through riot police ranks and enter Parliament, a KKE statement read:

    "...KKE condemns to the Greek people that a plan aimed at provocation was implemented when the PAME rally arrived in front of Parliament. A group of provocateurs grabbed PAME flags and attempted, with slogans and actions, to influence other protesters into violence, so as to slander KKE and PAME. The immediate response by the protest's security disarmed them and isolated them..." the statement read. (ANA-MPA)

    [03] Emporiki Bank reports 209 mln-euro loss in Q1

    (ANA-MPA) -- Emporiki Bank on Wednesday reported net losses of 209.3 million euros in the first quarter of 2010, after losses of 168.7 million euros in the same period last year. The bank, in an announcement, attributed this negative result to increased provisions.

    Net income totaled 188.7 million euros in the January-March period, up 26.2 pct from last year, while gross operating earnings totaled 44.5 million euros, after losses of 1.0 million euros in the first quarter of 2009, up 57 pct from the fourth quarter of 2009.

    Provisions rose 44 pct to 249.4 million euros from the same period last year.

    Emporiki Bank said its loan portfolio was stable at 22.8 billion euros, boosted by the support of its majority shareholder, Credit Agricole. Saving deposits fell 9 pct in the first quarter, compared with the fourth quarter of 2009 to 13.5 billion euros. (ANA-MPA)

    [04] IMF statement on Greece

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA) -- International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Wednesday made the following statement here, in relation to the activation of a eurozone-IMF support package for Greece.

    "We very much welcome the European Central Bank's announcement, in the context of Greece‚s strong adjustment program, that it has decided to suspend the application of the minimum credit rating threshold in the collateral eligibility requirements for the purposes of the Euro system‚s credit operations in the case of marketable debt instruments issued or guaranteed by the Greek government. This decision by the ECB will provide important support to the program by helping to maintain financial stability," the statement read.

    [05] Country shocked by death of 3 bank employees

    (ANA-MPA) -- Three dead bank employees were the result of a firebomb attack against a bank in downtown Athens early Wednesday afternoon during the height of massive trade union protests against recently enacted austerity measures.

    Initial reports state that the victims, two women and a man, died from asphyxiation after the bank's storefront windows were smashed and firebombs tossed inside. According to a fire brigade bulletin, a group of mostly youthful rioters, which had infiltrated the large protest march passing by bank, threw the firebombs at the building.

    Self-styled anti-state youth often take advantage of protests and demonstrations in the country to engage in vandalism and clash with riot police.

    Fire-fighters located the bodies of the three bank employees on the third floor. A total of eight people had been trapped in the flames and smoke.

    The bank was identified as a Marfin Egnatia branch, located on 23 Stadiou boulevard.

    The leadership of Greek Police (EL.AS) ordered all relevant services to review traffic camera footage and all related evidence in order to find the perpetrators.

    At the same time, demonstrators attempted to storm the Parliament building, where a debate ahead of a crucial vote -- on Thursday -- over the austerity measures was scheduled to take place. The groups of stone-throwing protesters were deflected by riot police.

    In other incidents, a fire truck was torched near the Temple of the Olympian Zeus, roughly a kilometre south of Parliament, while a one-time tax bureau office was also attacked a few dozen metres away. Finally, a kiosk near the national gardens was set ablaze, with the resulting fire initially spreading to the adjacent greenery.

    The strike was called by the civil servants' union (ADEDY) and the major trade umbrella union GSEE.


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