ATHENS – Construction work on a new metro station in the anarchist neighborood of Exarchia that was delayed because of staunch resistance and fierce protest is set to resume now although it see further attacks.
The New Democracy government that’s anathema to far-left groups, anarchists and terrorists plans for work crews to set up two sites in the area that’s seen street combat with riot cops, with many residents fearing having a metro station will change the character of the neighborhood and raise rents.
The station will be located directly under Exarchia Square that’s a hangout for rebellious types but also a tourist law for people looking for less-homogenized areas that is grittier, even if covered in graffiti.
One of the work sites will be on the nearby Strefi Hill that’s a hangout for drug dealers although it has parks and playgrounds for children and a basketball court but is largely unkempt and unmaintained.
That’s designed to accelerate work for a new Line 4 and redevelop the hill to make it more attractive and family-friendly although critics are upset the work wil be done by a private company.
The construction was planned for August when many people leave the capital for their villages or islands and will see work directly below the popular square, the line running almost parallel to Themistokleous Street, said Kathimerini.
It is one of the four stations on Line 4 in the center of Athens (along with Kolonaki, Evangelismos and Akadimia) and one of those designated as being of “archaeological interest,” because of previous finds in the area.
The work is already several months behind schedule because of opposition that saw construction crews blocked by protesters although a police precinct is nearby and staffed with riot squads.
Infrastructure Minister Kostas A. Karamanlis said the work will go on despite protests for an area that’s away from other metro stations and difficult to reach on foot for many.
“Citizens need it, even if active minorities react,” he told the paper earlier, noting that similar protests by residents in Agia Paraskevi and the Agricultural University that prevented stations from being built has been regretted by those living there. “They wish they could turn back time,” he said.
He also noted that the tender for the project, and thus the location of each station, was completed by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that has a hard-core element opposed to private companies and investors.
Once finished, Line 4 will run from Alsos Veikou to Goudi, cutting through a densely built section of the Greek capital plagued by traffic and give residents, visitors and tourists a stop in the heart of the neighborhood.