Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Terrorist Acts Heighten Political Tension

A war of words is mounting between the Greek government and opposition over a series of terrorist acts that have targeted politicians and journalists over the past week.

Radical left opposition party Syriza yesterday issued a belated statement condemning the symbolic shooting of nine rounds from a Kalashnikov rifle into the offices of conservative New Democracy in the small hours. But it added that the attack "exudes an fragrance of parastate terrorism." It also accused New Democracy of trying to cash in on the publicity. Later in parliament, socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos accused Syriza of "a violence-friendly anxiety, a flirtation with variations of violence". The socialist party is the conservative-led coalition's main ally, with 24 MPs.

No one was injured the the attack on New Democracy, which police say took place at 3am on Monday. Police found nine Kalashnikov shells on the median between Syngrou avenue and a parallel access road, three doors down from New Democracy's offices. They say they also found one Kalashnikov slug in the party office of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, New Democracy's leader.

The latest round of intimidation began in the small hours of Friday, with unknown assailants placing rudimentary explosive devices using camping gas canisters outside the front doors of about half a dozen journalists. Those attacks culminated on Sunday with an explosive device outside the door of the government spokesman's brother.

The year has begun with an already tense parliament, after the government tabled a controversial tax bill that is to raise 2.3 billion euro more in direct taxation on companies and individuals than was raised last year. At the same time, the government is cutting more than nine billion euros' worth of public spending this year. 

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