Anarchy in Thessaloniki - June 21
by Anarchist 10:27pm, Saturday June 21 2003
(Modified 11:10pm, Saturday June 21 2003)

Biblical disaster is reported in the commercial center of the city in the area surrounded by the streets of Egnatia, Agias Sofias, Iasonidou and Platonos.

Thessaloniki, 21 June 2003 (19:14 UTC+2)

Extensive damages were caused in the center of Thessaloniki by anarchists who have opened many fronts of confrontation with the security forces in different parts of the city.

Biblical disaster is reported in the commercial center of the city in the area surrounded by the streets of Egnatia, Agias Sofias, Iasonidou and Platonos.

According to police sources, masked protesters have spread in different parts of the city and inside the peaceful demonstrations to avoid being arrested by the police.

Anti-Capitalists Protesters Torch Greek Shops
Jun 21, 2003
By Michele Kambas and Phillip Pangalos

THESSALONIKI, Greece (Reuters) - Police fired volleys of teargas in Greece's second largest city on Saturday to disperse 200 self-styled anarchists who smashed shops and set fire to buildings including a McDonald's.

The anarchists were among 25,000 mainly peaceful anti-capitalist protesters who marched in late afternoon through Thessaloniki's center, about 80 km (50 miles) west of where a European Union summit ended earlier in the day.

"They threw petrol bombs into the McDonald's and planted anarchist black flags on the footpath outside," Reuters correspondent Phillip Pangalos said. "Others attacked nearby shops with axes and sticks."

Demonstrators also torched a Vodafone store, witnesses said.

About 30 shops as well as three branches of Greek banks were badly damaged with windows smashed and petrol bombs thrown inside.

Riot police used baton charges and teargas to drive the attackers away from an area about half a kilometer from the U.S. consulate.

About a dozen shop and building entrances as well as five cars were on fire more than two hours after the violence broke out. Thick smoke and clouds of teargas billowed from the city center.

"This is like an urban war zone, everything is on fire," said resident Maria Hounda said.

In an effort to avoid the kind of street clashes that marred the 2001 Group of Eight summit in Genoa, Greece switched the EU meeting from the port of Thessaloniki to the seaside resort of Porto Carras, which was more easily sealed off.

With protest groups promising demonstrations against the EU, NATO and the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Greece had deployed 16,000 troops and police across the scenic coastal region and Thessaloniki in the country's biggest ever security operation.


Reuters correspondent Michele Kambas said the anarchists, most of them wearing ski and gas masks, were "very well equipped."

"They used crow bars to tear off aluminum sheeting that many shopkeepers and banks had erected days ago to cover their premises in expectation of trouble," Kambas said.

The demonstrators were overwhelmingly Greek although there was a sprinkling from Britain, Germany, Scandinavia and Italy.

"There have been around 60 arrests including some foreigners," a police official told Reuters.

"A number of bystanders, including several elderly people, were rushed to hospital with breathing problems," he said.

The police charges drove the attackers into sanctuary in the city's university, the country's largest. By law police are not allowed into university grounds.

The violence did not touch the U.S. consulate on the sixth floor of a shopping mall which had been boarded up earlier in the week.

On Friday, police fired teargas to disperse anarchists who threw stones and tried to evade roadblocks a few kilometers from the site of the EU summit that began on Thursday.

Even the crowds at the Thessaloniki protest were far smaller than the 100,000 forecast by organizers like the Stop the War coalition and the Genoa 2001 Initiative.

Greece hands over the rotating six-month EU presidency to Italy on July 1.

thessaloniki reports |