Greek police arrested the mayor and two deputy mayors of Oropos village north-west Athens, after protesters set a highway toll booth on fire in Malakasa junction on Sunday evening, to protest the tripling of toll fees. According to Greek media, the protesters pushed out the employee out of the booth, they ripped it and set it on fire, short before 8 o’clock.
video: burning toll boothembedded by Embedded Video
A group of 500 angry residents of Oropos, Kalamos and surrounding areas and members of the civic movement “I don’t pay” had gathered in Malakasa junction to protest the toll fees hikes that had almost tripled in some highway areas.
The prosecutor had launched an ex officio investigation on the issue and police has been evaluating material from security cameras to identify the arsonists. So far, it is not clear why the mayors have been detained.
After the detention of Oropos mayors, residents prepare a new protest action.
Transport & Infrastructure minister Michalis Chrysochoidis has implied that the commuters of these areas will pay the old fee (€2.10) and not the new one (€3.35), but the measure has not been implemented yet.
Last week, the highway construction companies announced the new hikes in toll fees, which in some areas have increased up to 60%.
Toll fees Athens-Thessaloniki-Athens cost now €56 from €44.30. If one adds the cost of gasoline, a round trip Athens-Thessaloniki cost €140 per car, while a two-way ticket per airplane is much cheaper.
The fees in Athens-Scarfeia went up to €11.20 from €7.10.
Transport Minister Mihalis Chrysochoidis said Friday “the toll increases were part of the contract signed with the motorway operators in 2007” and clearly sent his poisonous hint to Karamanlis government.
Whether Karamanlis or not, highway construction companies have received 1.3 billion euro for the period 2008-2013. In some areas, like Corinth-Patras motorists have been paying toll fees while the highway is not ready yet.
Furthermore, the construction companies have received half a billion euro in advance for the construction of the highways. Oh wait! Construction works have been frozen for the last three years… (enet.gr, newsit.gr, protothema, ekathimerini)
PS But that’s Greece, so do not ask questions. Just pay!