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Shots fired at Greek ruling party headquarters

One bullet smashed through the window of the office of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
Image: Virginia Mayo/AP/Press Association Images

SHOTS WERE FIRED early Monday at the headquarters of main Greek ruling party New Democracy in Athens, police said, with one of the bullets penetrating the office of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Two men fired a gun at the building located on a busy Athens highway at around 2:30 am (0030 GMT), police said. No one was injured.

A window was pierced on the side of the building, an AFP photographer said, and a bullet was found in Samaras’ office, according to government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou.

“A symbolic bullet for the prime minister, this is unheard of,” Kedikoglou told state television NET.

“We will not let them terrorise us,” he said. “The government will do what is required to protect democracy.”

Police forensic teams collected nine Kalashnikov assault rifle casings from the scene and were investigating a stolen car believed to have been used in the attack that was later found burnt in a neighbouring district.

Early on Saturday, two district offices belonging to the conservative New Democracy party were hit by an arson attack, while an office of the socialist party Pasok, a partner in the ruling coalition, had its front windows smashed.

This came after similar arson attacks against the homes of five Greek journalists early Friday that caused material damage but no casualties.

On Sunday, the home of the brother of the government spokesman was also targetted in an arson attack.

The burst of violence is believed to be linked to recent police operations against squatters in public buildings that has sparked tension with the main opposition radical leftist party Syriza.

A large protest over the issue was held in Athens over the weekend.

The coalition government has introduced additional austerity measures in the recession-weary nation to secure continued access to EU-IMF bailout loans.

Last week it bolstered taxation legislation, and additional reforms are due to be voted in parliament late Monday.

Kedikoglou said the violence “undermines our economy at a critical juncture.”

Friday’s arson attacks were claimed by two previously unknown groups – Fighting Minority and Circles of Offenders/Nuclei of Lawlessness Lovers – who described the media as “the official representation of the system.”

- © AFP, 2012

Read: Greece to receive full EU-IMF bailout funds by Wednesday after long delay

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