ATHENS – Greece’s New Democracy government, on the 10th anniversary of the firebombing deaths of three bank workers during an anti-austerity rally, said the case will be picked up again to try to find the perpetrators and those who aided them.
At the same time, a Supreme Court appeal trying to overturn a lower court ruling awarding the families of the victims 2.24 million euros ($2.46 million) will be withdrawn in what Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis referred to only a "small token of moral obligation.”
Ironically, the case is being reopened Public Order Minister, Michalis Chrysohoidis, who hold that position in an earlier New Democracy government when the murders occurred.
The compensation stemmed from the state's failure to protect life and property, justices ruled as ex-Marfin Bank executives had been convicted on misdemeanor charges of failing to ensure that the bank branch in downtown Athens have adequate fire-detection and fire-prevention systems, as well as an emergency escape.
The victims, Paraskevi Zoulia, Epaminondas Tsakalis and Angeliki Papathanasopoulou, who was four months pregnant and spotted on a second-floor balcony during the fire before she and the others were asphyxiated by smoke.
Witnesses said they saw people with hoods, toss the firebombs into the bank and reports protesters who joined in kept fire trucks and firefighters from reaching the building, watching the victims perish before them.
The major opposition Radical Left SYRIZA did nothing to try to find the killers, mocked New Democracy for also failing to find them and refused to take part in a ceremony with a plaque outside the former bank site remembering the victims.
SYRIZA, in a statement, referred to "contemptibility and hypocrisy" by Mitsotakis, saying he was trying to exploit the deaths without the Leftists mentioning there was no attempt to find the perpetrators while the party was in power for 4 ½ years.
A government statement dismissed the attack, saying it was "terrifying and sad that those who never condemned, in writing, the murderers of wage-earners to invest again today in hate and divisiveness."