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Far-right extremists used underrepresented number of projectiles against police

Stones, pieces of marbles and wood, iron bars and crow bars, sledgehammers, nails, flares, and makeshift projectiles were used by extreme right wing “patriotic’ protesters against riot police forces during the Macedonia rally last Sunday. For three hours, from 14:25 to 17:20, the protesters were attacking the riot forces as they were struggling to raid the parliament.

It was “sheer luck” that no one was seriously injured or worse, a report by the head of the Parliament guard said on Tuesday.

So far, the items have filled 86 large garbage bags, the collection work continues. Athens news agency amna reports.

25 riot policemen were injured when a group of people tried to raid the Parliament. Majority of police officers were injured in the hands and the legs.

According to the Parliament guard report, “the Sunday’s events, including the persistent and often simultaneous assaults on parliament from different vantage points, with the participants involved returning each time with new “ammunition”, all pointed to a plan organised in advance.”

Police were also struck by the use of more dangerous items to attack the parliament, including nails, flares, new types of petrol bombs, construction tools, such as crow bars and sledgehammers, combined with red and white paint.

Fierce attacks using these items led to a large number of police being injured and extensive damage, the report added. The violence intensified about half an hour into the incidents, at about 14:50 when continuous attacks led to a breach of the fencing along Vassilisis Sofias Avenue and on the Vassilisis Amalias Avenue side, continuing for another 2.5 hours, the report added.

The police are also in no doubt about the identity of those involved, noting that they displayed far-right slogans and pointing to the presence of Golden Dawn MP Ioannis Lagos among them.

So far, the public prosecutor pressed charges for two criminal offenses and six misdemeanors against six men and a woman arrested for the clashes outside the Parliament.

All seven were taken to a public prosecutor’s office on Monday, where they denied the accusations against them. They face charges for making and using explosives, as well as misdemeanour-level charges of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm on police officers during the performance of their duties, damage to items used for the common good, resisting arrest, illegal use of weapons and violation of the law on flares.

All seven are to appear before an examining magistrate. They reportedly deny any involvement in the clashes and claim they were arrested a long time after the events, at a different location to where they occurred, as they were trying to get away from the rally due to the heavy use of tear gas.

The suspects are aged 27-46, with three of them to have criminal records.

A 27-year-old man has been accused in the past of being a member of an extremist far-right organization and arson. He was arrested in January 2018 for reportedly participating in the far-right organization Apella and the arson attack against the anti-fascist Favela squat in the port of Piraeus in late February.  citing police sources, kathimerini notes, that the man is believed to have been a core member of the Piraeus chapter of neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, until he left.

The two other suspects, a man aged 37 and a woman aged 28, are reportedly from Thessaloniki and traveled to Athens for the rally. The man was accused in 2011 of verbal abuse and bodily harm, while the woman was arrested in the past for theft and drug use.

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