Dump protest leads to clashes, fire and arrests
Fire engines and water-dropping helicopters were called in to extinguish a blaze that broke out in Grammatiko, northeastern Attica, last week during clashes between riot police and local residents who had sought to block the launch of works to build a landfill in their area.
The clash also saw criminal and misdemeanour charges laid against the head of the Grammatikos community in Attica, his driver and five local residents arrested for incidents during the protest.
The Community leader and his driver face charges of assault, moral instigation of assault and resisting arrest while the five Grammatiko residents have been charged with arson and harbouring a criminal.
The trouble started when dozens of residents set up blockades along the roads leading to the site slated for the construction of a landfill, one of two that the government has planned to relieve the saturation at Attica’s single garbage-disposal unit.
The protesters also used bulldozers to dig up dirt tracks in a bid to obstruct the vehicles belonging to the contractor entrusted with building the landfill.
When riot police arrived, some protesters threw stones, prompting officers to fire tear gas.
A police announcement said that four policemen were injured in scuffles with rioters.
Several residents reportedly suffered minor injuries in the ensuing clashes and Grammatiko Mayor Giorgos Papageorgiou is said to have fainted.
Deputy Interior Minister Thanassis Nakos said that efforts to start building the landfill at Grammatiko were merely “an attempt to implement a regional plan approved by local authorities.”
But the prefect for eastern Attica, Leonidas Kouris, accused “those responsible for the sinful management of Attica’s garbage of playing with taxpayers, using the pretext of the need to absorb European Union subsidies.”
He called on the government to launch a dialogue with local authorities to find a “real solution.”
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