x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Greek policeman shot outside ministry

Forty suspects have been arrested after a policeman was shot in Athens in a neighbourhood where major riots took place last month.

A Greek policeman was seriously wounded early today when unknown people opened fire on him and a colleague with an assault rifle, police said. The policeman, hit in the chest and foot, was hospitalised and was to be operated on. The two policemen were on guard in front of a culture ministry building when the incident occurred at about 4am. Those responsible escaped, the police said. On the scene they found 20 cartridge cases, probably from a Kalashnikov.

The police launched a vast operation in the capital to find the culprits, carrying out about 40 arrests in the Exarchia neighbourhood where major riots were sparked last month with the police shooting of a teenager. The boy's death on Dec 6 unleashed a wave of anger that degenerated into the worst rampage Greece has seen in decades with hundreds of stores in several cities vandalised and dozens looted in the days following his death.

On Dec 23 shots were fired at an anti-riot van in Athens, bursting a tyre. A group calling itself "Popular Action" claimed responsibility for the strike. An inquiry found that the shots came from two Kalashnikov assault rifles. *AFP