The Greek state will withdraw its high court appeal of an appellate court's compensation to relatives of three victims who died when an Athens bank branch was firebombed during a particularly massive anti-austerity and anti-bailout protest as part of a general strike, exactly 10 years ago this week.
An appellate court had handed down damages of 2.24 million euros for relatives of the trio of Marfin Bank employees, one of whom was in her last trimester of pregnancy. The victims died of asphyxiation in broad daylight in the middle of downtown Athens.
The compensation stemmed from the state's failure to protect life and property, justices ruled. A number of ex-Marfin Bank executives have already been convicted on misdemeanor charges of failing to ensure that the bank branch, off central Stadiou Avenue, had adequate fire-detection and fire-prevention systems, as well as an emergency escape.
Nevertheless, 10 years-on the perpetrators, among the protestors, that threw the firebombs inside a building during business hours, as well as others that prevented fire trucks and firefighters from reaching the building, are still at large.
The relevant public order minister, Michalis Chrysohoidis, this past week ordered the case file be reopened in order to arrest those responsible for the triple murders.
In announcing that the state will not appeal the decision at the highest level, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis referred to only a "small token of moral obligation".
In response, however, main opposition SYRIZA party referred to "contemptibility and hypocrisy" on the part of the conservative Greek prime minister, charging that he is trying to politically exploit the Marfin tragedy. Radical SYRIZA, who itself rose to power in January 2015 on a wave of anti-austerity and anti-bailout sentiment in Greece at the time, also called on Mitsotakis to cancel a plaque-placement ceremony on Saturday at the building where the bank once operated and where the trio died.
Marfin's operations were purchased and merged with other banks in subsequent years.
In reply, a government spokesman on Friday evening was derisive of the main opposition, saying it was "terrifying and sad that those who never condemned, in writing, the murderers of wage-earners to invest again today in hate and divisiveness."