Extended clashes broke out in Athens on Friday 22/5, during the second protest march in two days against police racism, after a cop tore the Koran and brutalised Muslims during anti-immigrant sweeping operations.
During the clashes many protesters were injured arrested and hospitalised. A second protest march against police racism took to the streets of Athens on Friday 22/5/08 in response to the incident of anti-muslim brutality two nights before during a police sweeping-operation against immigrants in the center of Athens. During what appears to be a typically offensive search of muslim immigrants at a local cafe, a policeman tore a Koran in pieces and stepped on threatening the immigrants in compromising racist language. The incident led to a protest march on Thursday with limited clashes between police and demonstrators.
During the Friday protest march immigrants and solidarity protesters of the left gathered in Omonoia square and clashed with the police outside the Greek parliament. The protesters piled the riot police with marbles, shoes and other projectiles, receiving tear gas and blast flash grenades in response.The march then proceeded towards the coveted Athens area of Agios Panteleimonas where the anti-muslim incident had occurred.
On the way, protesters smashed banks, expensive shops and government vehicles, before being massively attacked by strong riot police forces. During the battle that ensued scores of protesters were seriously injured, many being hospitalised, while 40 were arrested and remain in custody. One Syrian protester is said to be arrested during the protest march for allegedly throwing a molotov cocktail against the local police department.
The riots that have once again reduced much of the capital?s center into a battle zone come at a time of increasing tension across the country, accentuated by both the political impasse after the surprise dissolution of the Parliament earlier this month, and the continuing pressure of urban guerrilla groups which once again demonstrated their resolve this week by bombing the offices of the Siemens affiliated corporation that has provided the greek police with its new phone tapping and electronic surveillance system meant to frame the social antagonistic movement after the December uprising. The attack which injured none due to a previous warning call was claimed by the left-wing urban guerrilla group "Popular Will", who also claimed responsibility for the bombing of the State Land Management headquarters last March. The greek branch of Siemens is involved in one of the biggest economic scandals of the collapsing government, with its head on the run, and its deputy-head held in custody.