Greek Anarchists Steal Exarchia Ballot Boxes, Burn Votes

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis, FILE)

Anarchists who dominate much of the Athens neighborhood of Exarchia reportedly were behind the theft of at least one ballot box, perhaps others, in the July 7 snap elections, attacking three stations and setting on fire votes in one box.

Riot police officers were sent to the area after the reports but there was no word whether the stations were being guarded by police who usually are on duty to insure security at the polling stations.

In one case the perpetrators used a sledgehammer to threaten electoral clerks before grabbing the ballot box and making off with it, said Kathimerini, menacing them with violence if they tried to interfere.

There were about 10 in the group, who were said to have barged into the polling station, also threatening voters to back off or get roughed up in the incident at a night school which was used as an election precinct.

The incident took place at a night school, which was used as an election precinct.

Exarchia is billed as an "anti-state" and "anarchist" hub in Athens, where there is frequent crime as well as urban decay, blemishing the district's reputation as an "alternative community,” said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.

Interior Minister Antonis Roupakiotis said that repeat elections will be held next weekend at the polling stations whose ballot papers were destroyed although New Democracy had already won a big victory over the incumbent Radical Left SYRIZA, making the re-vote meaningless.