One of the banners reads ’Resistance,’ while the other one calls for widespread demonstrations across European cities.
Protesters hung two giant banners off the Acropolis yesterday, with slogans calling for mass demonstrations across Europe and "resistance," after days of violent protests sparked by the fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens.
About a dozen protesters held the pink banners over the walls of the ancient citadel, Greece's most famous monument, one bearing the word "Resistance" written in large black letters in four languages: Greek, English, Italian and German. The other called for mass demonstrations across Europe to be held today.
The banners were taken down after two hours. Student demonstrations are already planned in Athens and Greece's second largest city of Thessaloniki for today to protest the Dec. 6 police killing of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos.
Worst riots ever
The riots that followed the teenager's death are the worst Greece has seen in decades, feeding off widespread dissatisfaction with the unpopular conservative government and anger over social inequality and economic hardship. Hundreds of shops and banks were smashed, torched or looted as gangs of masked and hooded youths rampaged through cities night after night, setting up burning barricades in the streets and clashing with riot police who fired large amounts of tear gas. Retailers said the damage will cost them 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) in lost income.
More than 300 people were detained or arrested in the rioting. Although the rioting has abated, small-scale attacks continue.
Youths threw petrol bombs yesterday at a riot police bus in central Athens, police said. The driver managed to escape unharmed but the vehicle was damaged.
About 100 high school students gathered outside the capital's main court complex, pelting riot police guarding the building with stones, eggs, rocks and yogurt to demand that those detained in the riots be freed. In Greece's second largest city of Thessaloniki, police said a bank and a local citizens advice office were firebombed before dawn yesterday in attacks that caused damage but no injuries.
After a week of violence, many protesters have begun using different tactics to make themselves heard. About 30 protesters took over the Athens office of a Greek labor union group, GSEE, unfurling a banner from one window yesterday calling for the release of those arrested and protesting industrial accidents and Grigoropoulos' death.
State TV stormed
On Tuesday, a group of youths stormed their way into Greece's state television and radio studios, forcing broadcasters to put out anti-government messages. Ten young protesters disrupted a state NET television news broadcast of the prime minister's speech, appearing live on national television carrying banners that read: "Stop watching, get out onto the streets" and "Free everyone who has been arrested."
In Thessaloniki, protesters broke into three local radio stations, agreeing to leave only when a protest message was read on the air.
Greece's opposition Socialists have accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' conservative government of mishandling the crisis and worsening the effects of the global economic downturn. The Socialists are calling for Karamanlis to resign and call new elections, a demand he has rebuffed.
Parliament started debate yesterday on Greece's 2009 budget, which includes at least 4 billion euros in new taxes.