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On Acropolis, protesters continue fight
Giant banners send message to Europe


LEFTERIS PITARAKIS/AP

Protesters are dwarfed behind two huge banners draped over the walls of the Acropolis yesterday. The initiative, aimed at rallying support among Europeans who expressed sympathy with Greek protesters after the police killing of a boy, was condemned by the government, which said it ‘tarnished’ the country’s image abroad.

Protests triggered by the police killing of a 15-year-old boy nearly two weeks ago took a less violent and more imaginative turn yesterday, as demonstrators hung two giant pink banners off the Acropolis citadel, appealing for mass demonstrations across Europe.

One banner bore the word “Resistance” written in Greek, English, Italian and German and the second called for “Demonstrations in all Europe” today. The protesters appeared to be trying to tap into the sympathy that riots in Athens last week sparked in other European cities. The protest was the second visual appeal to citizens to join demonstrations after a group of youths overran a state television studio on Tuesday.

Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros condemned as “inexcusable” yesterday’s protest on the Acropolis, which had only just reopened to tourists after a 10-day strike by Culture Ministry workers. “There can be no justification for this action... This hurts the image of our country abroad,” he said.

Although widespread rioting had largely abated, there was some violence in Athens yesterday. In Kaisariani, near the riot police headquarters targeted by youths on Tuesday, a group of self-styled anarchists torched a police bus. The driver managed to escape unhurt.

There was also some trouble outside the capital’s main courthouses, where youths pelted police with flour, eggs and fruit.

In another protest yesterday, about 40 people – including workers, immigrants and unemployed citizens – occupied the offices of the country’s main labor union GSEE. The union’s president said the protest was mistargeted. “The GSEE does not govern this country,” said GSEE leader Yiannis Panagopoulos.

There was one protest march in central Athens yesterday, drawing around 5,000 people. Several more are planned today, including a student protest starting outside the gates of Athens University at noon and a workers’ rally at Omonia Square at 6 p.m. Two rallies are planned to begin outside Parliament, a workers’ protest and an anti-racist rally.

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