A riot started on Mesogeion Avenue last night when Halandri’s Roma population set dumpsters on fire in an attempt to block Greek police from entering their camp. The riots follow recent calls for the demolition of the Roma settlement, located just outside the Ethniko Nomismatokopeio, the Greek National Mint.
The protesting Roma blocked off Mesogeion Avenue, one of Athens’s major traffic arteries, causing massive delays in the area between Halandri and Athens. Riot police are expected to move in on the area.
After negotiations with representatives of Halandri’s Roma settlement, General Secretary of Decentralised Administration Manolis Angelakas gave the Roma a half-hour time frame in which to peacefully consent to the demolition of 12 vacant buildings.
Tension in the area began last night, when negotiations between Greek authorities and the Roma broke down. The authorities insisted on a total demolition of the camp, stressing that a camp in the “Pefko Politi” area of Megara is prepared to accept the Roma’s relocation.