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Hooligan Hideouts in Greece Raided by Police After Thessaloniki Murder

Hooligans Thessaloniki
Hooligans used knives, crowbars, flares, smoke bombs, and other potentially lethal devices. Credit: Greek Police (ELAS)

The hideouts of football hooligans were raided by police in Thessaloniki, Greece, on Thursday following the murder of 19-year-old Alkis Kampanos earlier in the week.

Police said that they discovered knives, crowbars, flares, smoke bombs, switchblades, and other devices that could bring about serious bodily injuries.

The raids were carried out at 13 venues suspected of being used for organizing attacks, and police set up roadblocks in the surrounding areas. Two people were arrested during the searches.

Kampanos — an Aris Thessaloniki fan — died after being stabbed and severely beaten late Monday. Two others were also injured in the street attack by a group of young men, police said.

A 23-year-old man –a PAOK Thessaloniki hooligan– was later arrested and charged with murder as well as attempted murder.

Hooligans Thessaloniki
The 23-year-old suspect ls led to a Thessaloniki prosecutor on Thursday. Credit: AMNA

Hooligan suspect recognized by victims of the attack in Thessaloniki

One of the two people who were injured in the attack told police they recognized the 23-year-old, saying he had been holding a crowbar. In addition, one of the cars seen in the video of the attack belongs to the suspect.

The investigation is ongoing to find the other participants in the attack. It remained unclear whether it was the 23-year-old or one his accomplices who dealt the blow that killed Kampanos during the late-night attack.

The suspect was also sentenced on Thursday by a different court over misdemeanors related to possession of arms, among others. The man has been detained until his testimony on Monday.

The killing, in a city that has a heated rivalry between local teams PAOK and Aris, has shocked the country and drew strong condemnation from political leaders.

“How can we let our streets, parks, and squares become the stage for violence between rival gangs, endangering the safety of our citizens?” Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, a former high court judge, wrote in an online post.

“The damage inflicted on society by such acts will continue as long … as this barbarism and violence on and off the field are cultivated as a display of manhood.”

Hooligans mar football in Greece

Hooliganism is rife in Greece, with clashes between rival fans and the police a common occurrence. Greek football authorities have banned traveling supporters out of fear of riots.

Several officials have been accused of inciting violence with violent behavior.

One of the most notorious incidences of violence was in 2018. A big match between first-division teams PAOK Thessaloniki and AEK Athens descended into rioting after a controversial offside decision.

PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis charged onto the pitch with a holstered pistol on his belt and could only be prevented from causing further mayhem by his own security personnel. After that disturbing incident, the operation of the Greek Super League was suspended for 16 days.

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