Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Suspected members of armed anarchist group on trial in Greece

By Nicholas Paphitis Canadian Press Jan. 17, 2011

ATHENS, Greece — Nine suspected members of a Greek armed anarchist group
went on trial Monday over a series of bomb attacks, in a heavily policed
Athens court set up inside a maximum security prison.

The group, mostly in their early 20s, are suspected members of the group
Revolutionary Nuclei of Fire. Four other wanted suspects will be tried in

The suspects are on trial over bombings that targeted a government
building and the office and home of two politicians — in each case causing
no injuries and limited damage. They each face a maximum of 25 years in

Dozens of riot police and special police wearing black ski masks stood
guard outside Athens' Korydallos prison, amid fears of violent protests by
supporters of the armed group. About 30 protesters chanted anti-government
slogans near the court, and tried to approach a van transporting the
suspects from another wing of the prison.

The anarchist group claimed responsibility for a spate of parcel bombings
in November and the bombing of a court building last month — reflecting a
surge in recent years in violence by anarchist and far-left militant

Monday's hearing in front of a panel of three senior judges — and no
jurors — was interrupted several times. The defendants demanded that
supporters not be obliged to show police identity cards when they attended
the court hearings, but the request was turned down.

Revolutionary Nuclei of Fire is accused of carrying out numerous arson
attacks and bombings since it first appeared in early 2008.

Greece has been plagued by armed radical groups for decades, but the
violence was typically limited to organizations with a small number of

"This is a decade that has seen change in organization. In some ways it is
more dangerous because the suspects are very young," criminologist Angelos
Tsigris told private Skai television.

"It is a much more generalized phenomenon now, and no longer involves a
very small number of people," he said.

"Of course their actions are condemned by society ... but there are
lasting and underlying factors that encourage violence: State corruption,
the lack of opportunities for young people, and the feeling among these
people that they have no prospects."


Associated Press writer Derek Gatopoulos and photographer Thanassis
Stavrakis contributed.

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