Greece – The 3,000 members of the Jewish community of Athens have so far remained untouched by the violence that has swept through the streets. Tens of thousands of people gathered today outside the Greek parliament building during nationwide strikes to protest newly enacted austerity measures designed to save the country from bankruptcy. Enraged rioters attempted to storm Parliament, threw Molotov cocktails and paving stones at the police, and set fire to several buildings. Three people are reported dead after being trapped inside a burning bank.
Rabbi Mendel Hendel, Director of Chabad Lubavitch of Athens Greece, located just blocks away from the turmoil, told VIN News, “So far the violence has had no special effects on the community. The riots today were quite violent, but it quieted down in the afternoon and we hope it will stay like that. ”
Greece has been virtually shut down in protest of imminent tax increases and spending cuts, with all flights in and out of the country suspended, trains and ferries shut down, government offices closed and hospitals working with only emergency medical staff. Journalists also walked off their jobs, suspending all television and radio news broadcasts.
While the unrest closed public schools in Greece today, the Jewish community school remained open according to the Rabbi.
Greece riots: 100,000 fight against harsh cuts in Athens financial crisis protests