Anarchists face felony charges after central Athens clashes

Fifteen people that were arrested in Athens’s central Aghios Panteleimonas district late on Sunday during clashes between self-styled anarchists and supporters of Greece’s neofascist Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party on Monday faced felony charges.

Some of the defendants, believed to be self-styled anarchists, were also charged with disturbing the peace, causing bodily harm to a police officer, and causing grave bodily injuries to other persons.

According to police, a group of about 50 anarchists rode through the neighborhood on motorbikes late on Sunday in a protest against the presence of Golden Dawn in the area, which triggered the clashes. Fifteen people were injured in the clashes -- two of them were taken to the KAT trauma hospital in Maroussi.

Police said that local residents also clashed with the anarchists and that one of them brandished a gun during the scuffles but did not use it.

Police said the anarchists were intercepted by members of the motorcycle-riding Delta team, who have also testified as witnesses.

The suspects, aged between 18 and 30 years old, had their faces covered and were wearing helmets at the time of arrest, police said. One of the suspects has been jailed in the past for setting fire to a municipal police car.

Far-right extremists associated with Golden Dawn have carried out a number of raids against immigrants in the neighborhood, which has one of the biggest non-Greek populations in Athens. The party has 18 seats in Parliament after winning almost 7 percent of the vote in the June 17 elections.

Some 200 sympathizers on Monday gathered outside the capital’s Evelpidon court complex during proceedings to express their support for the anarchists. Scuffles occurred as a group of far-left protesters attacked the policemen who were escorting the 15 suspects to the magistrate’s office. Twenty were briefly detained.

Meanwhile, police said 2,135 unregistered migrants were sent back to their home countries between August and September. A total of 1,259 were deported by the Aliens Bureau, it said. Most of the deportees came from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Albania.


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