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Greece

Crackdown Can’t Stop Sports Violence, Another Thessaloniki Attack

THESSALONIKI – With no word on how the prosecution of a dozen suspects in the beating and stabbing death of a rival soccer fan is going, another attack in Thessaloniki over the game led to a victim being hospitalized.

No names were given but Kathimerini said three suspects aged 26, 35 and 41 assaulted a man in Greece’s second-largest city in the suburb of Evosmos after asking him what soccer team he supported.

That was the same as what happened in the murder of 19-year-old student Alkis Kambanos on Feb. 1 in the city when he and friends were swarmed by a gang of attackers, said to fans of PAOK, while the victim backed Aris.

In the latest attack, the victim told police that a group of about seven to eight men beat him and stole a bag before fleeing in three cars, police saying the drivers were identified and arrested but their names kept secret.

The New Democracy government initiated a series of police raids on fan clubs after the death of Kambanos where authorities found stashes of weapons and indications they were hideouts used to plan attacks.

But despite yet another vow to end sports violence and control hooligans, the government opened stadiums to 100 percent capacity during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, the facilities often scenes of battles between fans and police.

There has been no end to attacks on fans by rivals despite the promise to end hooliganism, the teams and supporters important voting bases for political parties who regularly say they will stop trouble but don’t.

While city officials said Gazi Street in the center of the port city would be renamed for Kambanos, the prosecution of the attackers and alleged killers has stalled, common in Greece, where cases can take years to resolve.

“This is the least we can do as the Thessaloniki municipality to keep Alkis’ memory alive and for this specific street to serve as a reminder that such an incident must not be allowed to happen ever again,” earlier said the head of the naming committee, Petros Lekakis.

 

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