ATHENS – With a probe reopening into who did it, Greece's New Democracy government marked the 11th anniversary of the Marfin firebomb attack that killed three bank workers during anti-austerity protests.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias tweeted an image depicting a plaque commemorating the victims installed in 2020 at the location of the former bank branch in remembrance of the victims of what he described as a “criminal act.”
Epameinondas Tsakalis, 36, Paraskevi Zoulia, 32, Angeliki Papathanasopoulou, 32, and her unborn baby died of smoke inhalation on May 5, 2010, after becoming trapped in the Stadiou Street branch of Marfin Bank.
Witnesses said they saw hooded attackers, the favored uniform of anarchists who were involved in the protests then, tossing the firebombs and trying to hinder firefighters from reaching the scene.
The victims were trapped on a second-floor balcony and could be seen succumbing to the massive smoke pouring out before they could be rescued, dying on that spot.
The Athens Prosecutor’s Office recently ordered a new investigation into the firebombing following the emergence of new evidence but didn't say what it was or if there were any leads into the perpetrators.
On the 10th anniversary in 2020, the government said it would pick up the case 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trying to overturn a lower court ruling awarding the families of the victims 2.24 million euros ($2.46 million) was withdrawn.
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 had aequate fire-detection and fire-prevention systems, as well as an emergency escape for the workers.
The major opposition Radical Left SYRIZA which didn't 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 Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, saying he was trying to exploit the deaths but a government statement dismissed the criticism.
New Democracy said SYRIZA's comments were “terrifying and sad that those who never condemned, in writing, the murderers of wage-earners to invest again today in hate and divisiveness."