Leading Greek opposition politicians attended the opening of the trial in Athens on Thursday (November, 8) of 17 demonstrators arrested last Sunday (November 4) after a memorial service for former Premier George Papandreou.
SV George Mavros & Defence Counsel entering court.
TV PAN Kanellopoulos up steps and into court with people clapping as he enters.
SV Police checking cars outside court and people entering Court. (2 shots).
GV ZOOM OUT showing police patrolling streets outside court.
SV Kanellopoulos leaving court with crowd of others.
SV Accused leaving Court and into police van.
GV Crowd around court as accused leave (3 shots).
Initials APSM/1547 APSM/1610
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Leading Greek opposition politicians attended the opening of the trial in Athens on Thursday (November, 8) of 17 demonstrators arrested last Sunday (November 4) after a memorial service for former Premier George Papandreou.
The trouble broke out when police tried to stop about 1,000 demonstrators from marching towards the city's Constitution Square after the service.
The 17 were charged with causing serious bodily harm, resisting arrest, insulting police, obstructing traffic and damaging property.
A police officer told the court during the prosecution case that one of his colleagues fired three warning shots in the air to disperse the demonstrators who, he said, stoned the police trying to block their path.
Mr. George Mavros, Leader of the Centre Union Party, founded by Mr. Papandreou, said after Sunday's incidents that the violence used by the police to disperse the crowd gave a clear picture of the kind of democracy being prepared by Premier Spyros Markezinis.
Mr. Panayotis Kanellopoulos, Leader of the National Radical Union Party, who attended the trial to give evidence for the defence, said the incidents and the arrests marked the beginning of a new period of persecution of the Greek people.
Before the trial began on Thursday, scuffles broke out when about 500 students shouting anti-Government slogans tried to reach the courthouse. Five students are among the 17 accused. There are also two women.
The case is expected to last for several days.
SYNOPSIS: In Athens on Thursday, George Mavros, leader of the opposition Centre Union Party, arrives to attend the trial of seventeen demonstrators, arrested after clashes with police last Sunday.
Also there, former Greek Premier Panayotis Kanellopoulos, who said Sunday's arrests marked the beginning of a new period of persecution of the Greek people. Mr. Kanellopoulos, an opposition party leader, came to testify for the defence.
Security outside the courthouse was strict. Earlier scuffles had broken out when five hundred students tried to march on the courthouse. Sunday's incidents came after a memorial service to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Prime Minister George Papandreou.
There were clashes when police tried to stop about one thousand demonstrators from marching to the city's Constitution Square.
The accused, including two women and five students, are charged with causing serious bodily harm, resisting arrest and insulting police. A prosecution witness told the Court a policeman fired three warning shots in the air to disperse the demonstrators. The trial is expected to last several days.