Greek police arrest 26 anarchists who interrupted a Mass

AP News
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Posted: Jul 31, 2016 2:31 PM

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Greek police arrested 26 anarchists who burst into the Greek Orthodox cathedral in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Sunday and interrupted a Mass, chanting slogans and dropping flyers.

Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki, the city's archbishop who was officiating at another church, said about 30 people burst into the cathedral of St. Gregory Palamas and, aside from interrupting the Mass, "destroyed what they could." He did not elaborate.

The cathedral is named after a 14th-century archbishop of Thessaloniki who is revered in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Police say those arrested included 19 women and seven men. Seventeen are Greek.

The anarchists on Sunday were protesting a police operation Wednesday in the city that evicted anarchists and refugees from three illegally occupied buildings. One of the buildings, formerly an orphanage, is the property of the Greek Orthodox Church and is being demolished to build a hospice for the terminally ill, Anthimos said.

Police arrested 74 anarchists in that operation, 64 of them foreigners. The 33 refugees were released.

Before dawn Sunday, an improvised device exploded outside the offices of the construction company demolishing the church's property but did little damage.

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This story has been corrected to show that 19 women and seven men were arrested, not vice versa.

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Demetris Nellas in Athens, Greece, contributed to this report.

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