Greek reporters accuse minister on police violence

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 12, 2011 10:44 AM
Greek reporters accuse minister on police violence

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek journalists will file a lawsuit against the police minister Wednesday over violence by riot police against reporters during anti-austerity protests last month, their union said Tuesday.

More than 100 people, including journalists, were injured in clashes with police outside parliament on June 29 and 30, as lawmakers voted on austerity measures needed to secure a bailout and keep Greece from bankruptcy.

"This is a message to many recipients: Journalists will show no more tolerance," the head of the Greek journalists' union, George Savvidis told Reuters. "We want the minister to be investigated, as well as the police."

The lawsuit will be filed on July 13, he said.

Officials were not immediately available for comment.

Police clashed with black-clad youths, who hurled stones and set fire to buildings, and fired several rounds of teargas at anti-austerity demonstrators in the protests. At least 40 police officers were hurt, the police union said.

Doctors working with the protesters said they had treated at least 25 people for minor injuries and hundreds with respiratory problems on the scene.

Health officials said a total of 99 people were treated in Athens hospitals. Among them were reporters, photographers and technicians covering the protests, Savvidis said.

"Enough is enough," he said. "We are warning the government and police that no one can play with our dignity."

Angry with the belt-tightening, Greeks have been staging daily rallies outside parliament, saying that only the poor bear the burden of austerity and chanting: "Thieves, Thieves."

Activists have organized a motorcade this weekend from the southern city of Tripoli to Athens' Syndagma Square, which has become the epicenter for demonstrations, to protest against "excessive" police violence during the protests in June.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Peter Millership)