Greek politicians, labor unions and businessmen react strongly to violence

08:19, May 06, 2010      

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Greek riot police stand guard in front of the fire set by anarchists in downtown Athens, capital of Greece, May 5, 2010. (Xinhua/Phasma)
Three dead bank employees and 40 injured people, among them 11 civilians and 29 policemen, is the latest police estimate on the violent clashes that broke out in the center of Athens on Wednesday during a massive protest against austerity measures.

A 32-year-old pregnant woman, Aggeliki Papathanasopoulou and her colleagues, 35-year-old Paraskevi Zoulia and 36-year-old Epaminondas Tsakalis were identified as the Marfin bank employees who died when the bank was set on fire by anarchists.

The government, opposition parties, labor union representatives and heads of trade chambers condemned the violence, as members of parliament held one minute of silence for the innocent victims.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou expressed condolences for the loss of lives, stressing that protests is one thing, but murder is another.

"Our country lives difficult times. We all must assume responsibility and protect national interest and democracy," Papandreou said, calling for a meeting of the council of the political leaders to discuss austerity measures and violence.

Greek Citizen's Protection Minister Michalis Chrisohoidis strongly condemned the violence, pledging the arrest of those responsible. "This is a black day for Democracy. Powers that seek blind violence against democracy and society took advantage of a peaceful demonstration of employees, caused the death of three people and endangered more lives. I reassure that those responsible will be brought before justice", Chrisohoidis said.

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