A police officer was seriously injured Thursday evening in Athens during clashes with hooligans on the sidelines of the Olympiakos derby Piraeus-Panathinaikos, which had to be definitively stopped, in the quarter-final of the Volleyball League Cup, police said on Friday.
“Hooligans came out of the stadium and acted in a threatening manner against the police officers, throwing objects, stones and smoke bombs, seriously injuring a police officer,” who had to be hospitalized, the police said in a statement.
The incidents took place outside the Melina Merkouri stadium, in Rentis, a suburb of Athens. According to the same source, more than 400 people were arrested by the police, who opened an investigation to identify the author of the attack on the hospitalized police officer.
Tear gas fired by the police spread inside the sports arena, forcing the players to return to the locker room. Permanently interrupted, the meeting between the two historic rivals of Athens was postponed to a later date.
The Minister of Citizen Protection, Giannis Oikonomou, condemned a “criminal attack”. “The Greek police have been paying a heavy price for fan violence for a very long time,” he lamented.
Violence in stadiums is a recurring problem in Greece.
Last Sunday, a football championship match between Olympiakos and Volos was interrupted due to violence caused by hooligans.
The referees of the Greek football championship announced on Tuesday their intention to carry out a strike “from the 14th day”, which begins on Saturday, “until conditions become normal for (their) physical integrity”.
The leader of the main Greek left-wing opposition party Syriza, Stefanos Kasselakis, denounced the “uncontrollable proportion” of hooligan violence.
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