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Society

Riot Fears, Anarchist Threats Put Clamp on Athens’ Downtown

December 6, 2019

ATHENS – With the Christmas shopping season kicking into high gear, much of the Greek capital’s downtown area – including prime stores – was close to a lockdown on Dec. 6 as thousands of police were deployed after an anarchist group threatened to strike.

Rouvikonas posted a warning on a website it would launch assaults to protest New Democracy government plans to evict squatters in abandoned buildings in the neighborhood of Exarchia the anarchists had dominated and to mark the 11th anniversary “We have prepared a defense and retaliation plan of pharaonic proportions,” anti-establishment group Rouvikonas said on its Facebook page, saying it would confront police if they try to empty the abandoned buildings, some holding unlawful migrants.

Other anarchist groups are also organizing rallies “against oppression,” without being more specific but police have taken the threats seriously enough to put 4,000 officers on the streets and deploy drones and helicopters, a tactic that prevented widespread violence on the Nov. 17 anniversary marking a 1973 student uprising that helped bring down a military dictatorship backed by the United States.

Police also closed parts of the downtown to traffic in areas where morning and afternoon rallies were set to be held and subways will go through there without stopping on platforms and as sentries will be posted on the hills of the Acropolis and Lycabettus.

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