Greek police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of angry residents of Keratea when they took the local police station under siege. Later the clashes were carried on the streets with residents and hooded youth hurling molotov cocktails, flares and stones against the police turning the area into a battle field.
Six residents and two policemen were injured, a police van and at least five cars were set on fire.
The incidents started early evening when policemen and a prosecutor searched several homes investigating a fire bomb attack against a police cantine on Tuesday morning. In one of the homes the ‘suspect’ was absent, but the police arrested his brother who apparently had nothing to do with the issue. Soon a crowd of some 1,000 people gathered outside the police station to show solidarity with the arrested.
According to the police, some residents hurled molotov cocktails and stones against the police station. The order makers answered with the massive firing of tear gas that triggered outrage among the already angry residents. Police sources told Greek media that “material normally used to attack police has been found in the searched houses”.
A former mayor of Keratea described the police actions as “Junta”. All the left parties of the Greek parliament condemned the police.
The residents of Keratea, a town 50 km south-east from Athens, oppose a planned landfill dump on their area. Since last summer they have been occasionally clashing with the police. Last December an Athens court ruled, the project should be temporarily suspended. However the residents say that police is still guarding the area and the tension is high in the area.
The clashes are continuing up to this hour. Residents say they would not leave the streets until police forces withdraw.