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A.N.A. Bulletin, 18/11/95

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 744), November 18, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece marks Polytechnic uprising with wreaths, clashes

  • [2] 19 injured in clashes

  • [3] Anarchists' occupation leaves five million drachmas in damages

  • [4] Uneasy calm at Korydallos prison as police begin transferring inmates

  • [5] Opposition reactions

  • [6] Supreme Court hears extradition request

  • [7] Arsenis ushers in new era for border village

  • [8] Evert speaks to municipal leaders

  • [9] Van den Broek orders correction of EU document

  • [10] Santer welcomes Avramopoulos initiative on better city-EU coordination

  • [11] Greece opposed to Ellemann-Jensen as NATO chief

  • [12] News in Brief

  • [13] EIB approves financing for Greek SME investments

  • [14] Greece elected to fifth place on IMO's list of major maritime powers


  • [1] Greece marks Polytechnic uprising with wreaths, clashes

    Athens, 18/11/1995 (ANA):

    The traditional protest march to the US Embassy in Athens marking this year's anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising went ahead without incident yesterday afternoon but more than 200 self-styled anarchists took over the Polytechnic building later in the evening, clashing with riot police.

    Early this morning, after prolonged consultations between police and university officials, Public Order Minister Sifis Valyrakis said that riot police had no right to enter the premises and remove the remaining occupiers.

    Parliament honored the anniversary of the students' uprising with a moment of silence yesterday.

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and political parties' representatives had previously referred to the anniversary's significance.

    Mr. Kaklamanis said that era's messages are still relevant today, adding that November 1973's events heralded the beginning of the end for the dictatorship and the re-institution of parliamentary rule and democracy.

    Meanwhile, Press and Media Minister Telemahos Hytiris yesterday commended the contribution of Greek reporters, foreign correspondents and photojournalists, whom he said kept the Greek people and international public opinion informed during the military dictatorship.

    He said their efforts helped lead to the junta's downfall.

    Statements on the Polytechnic anniversary were also issued by political parties.

    Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras condemned what he said was the "political exploitation" that distorts the event's historical truth and ignores the true "meaning of the Polytechnic."

    A Coalition of the Left and Progress statement called the Polytechnic uprising the premier event in the nation's anti-dictatorship struggle. The Coalition said it is also against actions which insult and undermine its meaning.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) stated that the Polytechnic's significance remained alive and returned every November 17 and in every struggle for justice.

    The Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) said the value of the Polytechnic's uprising is its timeliness and relevance.

    Citizens, politicians, academic and organizations continued to flock to the Polytechnic yesterday to lay wreaths and flowers as well as to honor the anniversary of the uprising.

    A representative of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos laid a wreath as did representatives from political parties, ministries, labor unions, public and private organizations as well as political figures.

    The Polytechnic's rector, Nikos Markatos, also laid a wreath.

    [2] 19 injured in clashes

    Athens, 18/11/1995 (ANA):

    At 4:30pm yesterday, after the main ceremony had ended at the Polytechnic, a group of hooded youths attempted to enter the school's premises on Tositsa street.

    Police said more than 200 "anarchists" had occupied the building shortly after 6pm and barricaded themselves in the architecture faculty. Some of them later emerged and started hurling firebombs in Patission and Stournari streets.

    Hit-and-run clashes between riot police and anarchists were continuing until late last night.

    Police fired tear-gas canisters into the building to flush out the youths, who fought back with stones, pieces of wood and anything they could lay their hands on.

    Rector Nikos Markatos announced at 7pm he had given the youths an hour to evacuate the building. When the deadline expired he extended it an extra hour but warned that after the new deadline went unheeded he would allow police to enter the premises.

    Police requested written permission from Mr. Markatos that they could move in but no such document had reached their hands by 8:30pm.

    The Polytechnic's senate issued the following resolution late last night:

    "The Senate of the National Metsovion Polytechnic considers that university asylum has been violated. It calls on all people assembled on the Polytechnic premises to leave in an hour. It states in every direction that it is determined to use every measure to safeguard the premises of the Polytechnic."

    However, after hours of uncertainty as to whether the riot police would enter the premises, Public Order Minister Sifis Valyrakis said that he had been advised the application for police intervention from the university was not in order.

    He added that university officials had withdrawn the application and that the Senate had requested the police to hold off on intervention.

    According to reports, at least 30 people have been arrested - 10 outside the Polytechnic's main gate and about 20 in surrounding roads.

    The heads of police forces patrolling around the Polytechnic were instructed by their superiors to arrest any youth leaving the Polytechnic premises without a student's identity card.

    Approximately 150 students trapped in the Polytechnic left the building at 11:20 last night, protected by student groups. The remaining students lit fires in the Polytechnic yard, which were put out by three fire engines.

    Evangelismos Hospital announced that it treated 19 people from the disturbances, 16 suffering from respiratory problems and three with minor injuries. Five people were admitted, including a minor who was arrested and who will remain in hospital for 24 hours for observation.

    Rector Markatos was also admitted to hospital suffering from respiratory problems from the riot police's use of tear-gas. He was said to be in no danger.

    [3] Anarchists' occupation leaves five million drachmas in damages

    Athens, 18/11/1995 (ANA):

    A three-day occupation of the Theology School at Thessaloniki's Aristotelian University by self-styled anarchists has caused damage estimated at five million drachmas.

    Rector Antonis Mantis said computers and doors were the main targets of the occupiers. The anarchists left the school's premises late Thursday evening under the watchful eye of police. No incidents, however, were reported.

    Mr. Mantis said he also met with the organizers of a march commemorating the 1973 Polytechnic students' uprising and was briefed on measures to prevent incident.

    [4] Uneasy calm at Korydallos prison as police begin transferring inmates

    Athens, 18/11/1995 (ANA):

    An uneasy calm prevailed at Korydallos jail yesterday, punctuated by two attempts by inmates to rush the gates, after three platoons of riot police using tear-gas quelled a mass escape attempt late on Thursday night by prisoners holding the prison for the fourth consecutive day. Rioting prisoners hanged and burned a fellow inmate in Athens' maximum security jail at dawn yesterday, bringing the death toll to four, with 36 hospitalized, either because of drug overdoses after raiding the prison's medical supply store (which held an estimated 27,000 sedatives and 2,500 syringes) or fights with other prisoners.

    Police began transferring prisoners to other jails yesterday, moving 30 juvenile offenders and 40 adults to another Athens jail pending their transfer to a prison in Volos, central Greece.

    Inmates took over the prison on Tuesday, seizing eight hostages whom they released Thursday after assurances from the justice ministry that it would meet their demands for improved food and medical care and a reduction in the number of inmates housed at the overcrowded jail, designed for 500 but now holding an estimated 1,500, of whom more than 400 are foreigners.

    Justice Ministry Secretary-General George Pavleas, who led negotiations with the prisoners to defuse the crisis, denied that the situation has got out of hand because the government had reneged on its promises to the inmates.

    "All demands will be met before the end of the year," he said.

    The latest attempt at a mass breakout came at 9:20pm last night when 250 inmates were pushed back from the jail's visiting area by riot police using tear gas.

    About 500 prisoners attempted to rush the jail's central gates at noon as Justice Minister Ioannis Pottakis held talks with prison guards.

    "We are in control of the situation and are trying to decongest the prison by transferring inmates. Last night 39 inmates were transferred and today more will be taken from Korydallos," Mr. Pottakis told reporters after the talks.

    Mr. Pottakis said that efforts were being made to transfer all foreign prisoners to other jails, while the number of juvenile offenders to be transferred today was 60.

    In statements carried by television stations, Mr. Pottakis warned the prisoners that any attempt to escape would be futile.

    "The forces guarding the prison, in co-operation with the riot police, have taken up such positions and have been given such orders that any attempt to escape will be futile," he said.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris later expressed support for Mr. Pottakis, saying that there was no question of his resigning.

    "From the very first moment, Mr. Pottakis briefed the prime minister and directed all operations from his office," Mr. Hytiris said, adding that the riot police would "under no circumstances" enter the prison wings because it would only exacerbate the situation.

    The spokesman also called on prison guards to reconsider their stance to not return to the complex before certain conditions were met.

    The prison guards set out a number of conditions Thursday for resuming their duties, including the immediate transfer of Albanian prisoners, and reducing the number of prisoners held in the prison.

    Mr. Hytiris defended the government's policy on correctional institutions, saying that "many steps have already been taken and more will follow."

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou committed himself to a relocation of the jail as soon as possible, during a meeting at his home in Ekali with ruling PASOK party deputies from the constituency in which Korydallos is located.

    Well-informed sources said the new prison would be located in Ritsona, near Halkis, and that the study for its construction, budgeted at 3.5 billion drachmas, would be auctioned on December 17.

    [5] Opposition reactions

    Athens, 18/11/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert convened a meeting yesterday morning with prominent party members to discuss developments in the jail.

    "Events at Korydallos mark the disintegration of the state, ridicule the country and show just how dangerous the government is," Mr. Evert told reporters after the meeting.

    He said he had warned that there would be unrest unless immediate measures were taken, when he visited Korydallos in 1993.

    Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras spoke of the "unbelievable incompetence of the state organs," and asked whether the state existed or not.

    In a statement, Mr. Samaras held the government responsible for the "ridiculing" of state authority and the "criminal acts" being committed in Korydallos prison. He added he wondered what interests prevented the implementation of the unanimous recommendations of the parliamentary committee on the reform of the penitentiary system and the removal of the jail from Korydallos.

    Communist Party (KKE) deputy Gerasimos Aravanis blamed both major parties for not implementing the committee recommendations, and accused the justice minister of an unacceptable delay in tackling the jail revolt.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos accused the government of a lack of policy, and said Greek society demanded, at last, the assumption of political responsibilities.

    Meanwhile, in a unanimous resolution, the Korydallos district municipal council accused all governments of a lack of seriousness on the issue of removing the jail from the area, demanded the immediate decongestion of the facility, and expressed its solidarity with the demands of inmates in all prisons for better living conditions.

    Inmates at Ioannina prison in northern Greece yesterday refused to take their meals and enter their cells as an expression of solidarity with prisoners at Korydallos. They were finally persuaded to return to their cells after handing a list of similar demands with those put forward by the rioting prisoners at Korydallos to a public prosecutor.

    Increased security measures were also adopted at Corfu prison, as about 30 prisoners refused to enter their cells in solidarity with the Korydallos inmates.

    [6] Supreme Court hears extradition request

    Athens, 18/11/1995 (ANA):

    The extradition case against Bosnian Serb businessman Darko Asanin was heard yesterday by the Supreme Court's criminal bench.

    Belgian authorities have requested Asanin's extradition in connection with the murder of Albanian Emver Handri, whose body was found in Brussels in 1990.

    Asanin was arrested in Rhodes after a manhunt involving Interpol.

    Asanin denies the charge and claims he is being sought for political reasons. He also claimed that during his detention in Korydallos prison, he was attacked and injured by Albanian inmates during the first day of the prison uprising.

    Serb officials, including Serbian MP Borovich Borivolie, testified during today's trial. They stressed that Asanin's extradition to Belgium would constitute an "extradition to death," as the Albanian lobby is the strongest in Belgian prisons.

    Prosecutor Panagiotis Zavoleas, arguing for the extradition, said that homicide did not constitute a political crime. The court will issue its ruling on December 8.

    [7] Arsenis ushers in new era for border village

    Athens, 18/11/1995 (ANA):

    National Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis continued his tour of Thrace yesterday, visiting the border village of Ehinos in the Xanthi area.

    At Ehinos, he officially put an end to the exclusion zone situated there, set up 58 years ago to avert possible danger from the north.

    "The bar that used to separate and isolate the village of Ehinos from the surrounding villages and from the rest of Xanthi, is history," he said.

    "Until today, a special permit was required to cross the bar. Whoever has these white papers can keep them as souvenirs of an age that has passed. We live in a new age and the security of our country is based on social cohesion and economic development.

    Communication is free."

    Mr. Arsenis called on all local residents, regardless of religion, to work together for the development of their area.

    [8] Evert speaks to municipal leaders

    Athens, 18/11/1995 (ANA):

    Leader of the main opposition New Democracy party Miltiades Evert yesterday asked mayors and leaders of municipal councils to give priority to serving their community and not their political party, during an event organized by the Local Administration Central Committee.

    "This does not mean local governors have no political or party identity and it would be utopian if we said the parties should not concern themselves with local administration. Mayors and municipal leaders form the core of society and must stand beside and co-operate with party organizations without other pressures," Mr. Evert said.

    However, he continued, the role of municipal leaders is not to take orders from the leader of the party with whose support they were elected, but to convey the local administration's messages and problems to the party.

    Mr. Evert stressed that there must be controls on the economic situations of municipalities and districts and added that "this shall become the rule.

    [9] Van den Broek orders correction of EU document

    Brussels, 18/11/1995 (ANA/G. Daratos):

    After strong representations by the permanent Greek representation to the European Union, External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek yesterday ordered the correction of a phrase in a dossier distributed to the plenum of the European Parliament in Strasbourg concerning Turkey's customs union with the EU, which claimed that the union "will undoubtedly contribute to the peaceful negotiation of Greek-Turkish differences in the Aegean".

    A Commission spokesman later said the dossier, drawn up by the Community's mediator on the Cyprus issue Serge Abou, without prior consultation with any member of the European Commission or the Greek government, was a "provisional draft", and the controversial phrase would be corrected to mean that the customs union could not but exercise a positive influence on the improvement of relations between Greece and Turkey.

    Greek Commissioner Christos Papoutsis, who had also not been informed of the dossier, canceled a planned visit to Madrid yesterday, and addressed a protest letter to Mr. van den Broek for the handling of a matter of such vital interest to Greece.

    Despite the protest, Mr. van den Broek refused to cross out another objectionable phrase in the same dossier, saying that "a possible rejection of the customs union by the plenum of the European Parliament in December would damage the very pro-western and pro-European orientation of Turkey and would make more difficult Cyprus' accession to the Community".

    [10] Santer welcomes Avramopoulos initiative on better city-EU coordination

    Brussels, 18/11/1995 (ANA/M. Savva):

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos proposed establishing a permanent representative status for his municipality and the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE) in Brussels, during discussions yesterday with European Commission President Jacques Santer.

    Mr. Avramopoulos, who met with Mr. Santer in Brussels, said that, under his proposal, Athens municipality and KEDKE representatives would be included in Greece's permanent delegation at the EU's Brussels headquarters.

    According to reports, the proposal was favorably received by the Commission's president within the framework of a general discussion on major cities' coordination with EU departments prior to next year's Intergovernmental Conference in Madrid.

    It was Mr. Santer's first meeting with an EU member-state mayor within this framework, with the next meeting tentatively planned for next year during the Commission president's brief visit to Athens, prior to his scheduled address of a European mayors' conference in Thessaloniki.

    The Athens mayor extended the invitation to Mr. Santer yesterday.

    [11] Greece opposed to Ellemann-Jensen as NATO chief

    Athens, 18/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece is expecting the nomination of a mutually acceptable candidate to fill the vacant post of NATO Secretary-General, Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos said yesterday.

    "Greece will use all its rights in case the candidate is not mutually acceptable," Mr. Romeos said.

    Mr. Romeos was responding to queries by PASOK deputy Yiannis Capsis regarding the possibility that former Danish foreign minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen was in the running for the post.

    Mr. Capsis criticized the government for following "a policy of silence" over the issue of Ellemann-Jensen's candidacy, saying that he would like to see the Dane not elected to the post through Greece's opposition and not, as is the case now, because of France's opposition. Mr. Romeos said that Greece had expressed its full and unequivocal opposition.

    [12] News in Brief

    Athens, 18/11/1995 (ANA):

    - President Kostis Stephanopoulos begins a three-day official visit to Bulgaria on Monday. He will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias.

    - Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou received Foreign Under-secretary for Overseas Greek Affairs Grigoris Niotis at his residence in Ekali yesterday.

    The premier expressed his wholehearted interest and support for the World Council of Overseas Hellenism.

    The assembly will be held in Thessaloniki between November 29 and December 8 with the participation of 260 elected representatives from 3,000 expatriate organizations.

    [13] EIB approves financing for Greek SME investments

    Brussels, 18/11/1995 (ANA/F. Stangos):

    The European Investment Bank has approved loans amounting to 249 million ECU (76.4 billion drachmas) to support small and medium-size investments in Greece.

    The lion's share of the amount (210 million ECU or 64.45 billion drachmas) will be given directly to the national economy ministry as a framework loan and will be used to fund limited-scale investments for developing infrastructure.

    According to the bank, particular emphasis will be placed on the sectors of transport, energy, water supply and drainage and environmental programmes promoted by national and local authorities.

    The remaining 39.2 million ECU (12 billion drachmas) will be used to finance small or medium-size investments in the private sector. They will be given in the form of a "grand loan" to the National Investment Bank for Industrial Development (ETEBA) and will give priority to funding small and medium-size enterprises in the sectors of tourism, industry and services.

    Since 1975, the European Investment Bank has funded about 220 private investment programmes, through ETEBA, totaling 181 million ECU facilitating the creation of 3,800 new jobs.

    [14] Greece elected to fifth place on IMO's list of major maritime powers

    London, 18/11/1995 (ANA/L. Tsirigotakis):

    Greece was the fifth country elected in the first category of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) council, during IMO's 19th general assembly here yesterday.

    Greece received 97 votes for the fifth-place position - it was elected in sixth place in 1993.

    IMO's council represents the world's major maritime powers.

    Another seven nations were elected to the council, including China (107 votes), Japan (103), Italy (99), Britain (99), Norway (96), the United States (91) and Russia (81).

    Before the vote, Greece's ambassador to the Court of St. James, Elias Gounaris, spoke on the reasons necessitating a Greek presence on the council of the world most important merchant shipping countries.

    He cited Greece's long maritime tradition, a large commercial fleet and Athens' emphasis on maritime safety and protection of the environment.

    End of English language section.

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