ATHENS – Anarchist groups on nearly unstoppable rampages attacked the offices of the Hellenic American Union (HAU) in Greece’s Capital and second-largest city Thessaloniki, drawing condemnation from the US Embassy.
Founded in 1975, the HAU is now led by a former American politician from New Hampshire, Chris Spirou, who had heen head of the Democratic party in that state and a gubernatorial candidate.
The HAU is one of the most prominent institutions on the Athens cultural scene and a forum for new trends in art, science and technology from Europe and the United States, featuring exhibitions, performances, concerts, lectures and seminars as well as providing English proficiency and Greek language courses and is a bridge to the US.
It was hit by the notorious group Rouvikonas as part of a series of assaults against targets to demand the release from jail of Dimitris Koufodinas, a former leader of the disbanded terrorist group November 17 which killed 23 people, including five Americans attached to the Embassy in previous years.
He has had two 48-hour furloughs with the support of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that is riddled with terrorist and anarchist sympathizers but has gone on a hunger strike demanding regular vacations from jail and for a prosecutor to be barred from preventing his regular temporary releases.
“We strongly condemn the recent attacks on American educational institutions in Thessaloniki and Athens,” the US Embassy said, adding that the institution must be secure from attacks.
“We urge our Greek law enforcement partners to protect these institutions and bring the perpetrators to justice,” the statement added although the US’ unhappiness over Koufodinas’ earlier furloughs was ignored by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The statement was issued after around 10 people smashed the glass entrance of the HAU in the upscale Kolonaki neighborhood in Athens, which borders on the anarchist stronghold of Exarchia, a base from which they launch attacks and clash with a riot police barracks.
That came a day after the anarchists hit the HAU office in Thessaloniki on June 11, throwing fliers and spraying slogans in favor of the assassin Koufodinas before running away in their usual modus operandi.
He is serving 11 life sentences for his role with November 17 but said he wants time off from jail to visit his family and restart a beekeeping business he had at the same time he was directing a series of murders and other attacks.
Rouvikonas has been storming around with near-impunity but 20 of its members were caught by armed guards when they tried to get into the Citizens Protection Ministry and are facing trial on June 27.
A judge charged them with disrupting a public service, inciting violence and refusing to be fingerprinted. The suspects allegedly attempted to barge into the ministry and scattered fliers expressing support for Koufodinas.