ATHENS – Residents of the anarchist stronghold of Exarchia in Greece’s capital are reportedly growing more concerned about a spike in violence that police are unable to control despite having a major precinct and riot police there.
Reports of incidents of vandalism and physical assaults are growing in the wake of well-publicized clashes between police squads and hooded anarchists and the ambush of eight Coast Guard officers conducting a drug raid and beset upon by some 50 attackers.
On April 25, unidentified assailants smashed several shop windows in the area and police told Kathimerini they had recorded two cases of vandalism in recent days while witness reports suggested that there have been at least six in the past week ending on Holy Friday.
The motive behind the attacks remained unclear though some appeared to be the work of far-left activists, the paper said, the group so radical it’s even gone after offices of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that is riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers but with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras having surrendered to international creditors.
In the run-up to Easter, five people assaulted a writer who uses the pseudonym Mr. L and whose work is published in far-right magazines at a cafe on Botasi Street, the paper said.
That came after a group calling itself Easter Hammers, anarchist vegans claimed responsibility for vandalizing a butcher’s shop in the area in protest of people eating lamb and meat and warned of more attacks on meat stores.
‘The existence of one shop alone that sells slaughtered corpses is enough for us to attack,” the group said in claiming responsibility. They added that, ‘For all of you who are wondering seated on your coaches why he attacked this specific meat store in Exarcheia and not some big meat store, we suggest you hold on and have patience. We’ll be coming to your neighborhood, soon.”
In comments to state television during a discussion about public safety, SYRIZA’s candidate for Athens mayor, Nasos Iliopoulos, conceded that, “There are issues in Exarchia,” although his party has ignored them in what critics said was an attempt by Tsipras to regain favor after bowing to the creditors and imposing more harsh austerity measures on people.