Connect to share and comment

Bombings: a new result of Greek crisis?

Civil unrest in Greece may have empowered guerrilla groups.

Today’s bomb closed off a central part of Thessaloniki. It was placed in a toilet in the judiciary complex after presumably being smuggled in past the 30-strong police force guarding the building. There are no scanners in place, AFP quoted a local judiciary source as saying.

“These actions are an effort by Revolutionary Struggle to show that its central members were not arrested in the recent police sweeps,” said Michaletos. “The remainder are engaging in a show of force to prove that all that the police grabbed was a peripheral cell.”

Revolutionary Struggle emerged in 2003, during the run-up to the Athens Olympics. Greek and British authorities had just rolled up 17 November, a Marxist guerrilla group that killed several Greek politicians and businessmen and foreign diplomats during its 30-year reign of terror. In its most audacious attack yet, Revolutionary Struggle fired a WASP 58 rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy in 2007 but claimed no casualties.

“[These attacks are] nothing more than a symbolic strike telling the authorities that we are capable of hitting even the jails in which you hold our comrades,” Retoulas said, referring to the two members of Revolutionary Struggle currently being held inside Korydallos.

This week’s bombings made a mockery of the Greek government’s efforts to quash the two-year long bombing campaign by introducing new measures that include banning the wearing of hooded shirts in public, expanding the network of CCTV cameras and registering citizens’ IDs when they purchase SIM cards for mobile phones.

Police officials believe that smaller radical groups such as the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei and Revolutionary share their operational headquarters with Revolutionary Struggle and jointly benefit from organized crime to fund their activities, through sponsoring bank robberies and selling weapons on the black market.

“17 November was a classic closed group of the 1970s while these guys have open and vertical leadership chains with a high turnover of members, a franchise structure and the tendency to act in independent cells through a small number of influential coordinators,” said Michaletos.

Analysts believe that there are crossovers with Greece’s thriving anarchist movement, mostly focusing on logistical support such as the use of houses to stay or cars to use for operations.

The blasts came during a landmark visit to Athens by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during which he signed a slew of bilateral agreements. Police ruled out the possibility that the blasts were linked to the visit, despite sections of the media criticizing the government for what is being called a “capitulation” to Ankara. Greece’s resurgent nationalist wing is concerned that, in its current enfeebled state, the country is in no position to enter agreements with Turkey.