ATHENS – As businesses in an upscale area of Greece’s capital attacked by vandals thought to be anarchists demanded compensation to cover the damage, a group of masked men assaulted offices of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA’s offices.
While Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been accused by political rivals of condoning a seemingly unstoppable spree of violence to reestablish credentials with Leftists after imposing harsh austerity measures it didn’t stop his party from being a target too.
The attackers threw firebombs at the SYRIZA office and battled with riot police after earlier violence was said to be in support of another furlough from jail for terrorist assassin Dimitris Koufodinas, who is on a hunger strike to project his vacation being denied.
Ironically, SYRIZA elements have been sympathetic to Koufodinas who is seen as a darling of the Left for killing 23 people, including five Americans attached to the US Embassy over the years although his disbanded group Nov. 17 also killed an innocent student accidentally.
Police fired tear gas to repel the assault on the SYRIZA office and three cars and a bike parked nearby were damaged by Molotov Cocktails, said Kathimerini in a report on yet another pitched battle between believed anarchists and riot police.
Earlier in the night of May 11, a riot police detachment was attacked in the anarchists stronghold of Exarchia, near the Ministry of Culture with attacks being stepped up and almost no one arrested or detained.
While supportive of anti-establishment protests while out of power, SYRIZA officials weren’t happy to be the target of them now. “SYRIZA is not cowed by criminal actions of marginal elements,” said the party, which critics said is aligned with them.
The smashing of windows and damage done to high-end businesses the night of May 9 caused some 70,000 euros ($78,649) in damage, said the Athens Chamber of Commerce & Industry (EBEA) who did an inspection, the paper added.
It said most of the stores targeted were clothing, shoe and accessory retailers, as well as two bank branches and a gallery without any explanation from the attackers why targeting the stores showed support to the convicted assassin.
In a joint letter to Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Citizens’ Protection Minister Olga Gerovassili, EBEA President Constantinos Michalos called on authorities to compensate the affected businesses outright.