Angry Greeks protest over fires

More than 10,000 people have taken to the streets of central Athens to protest about wildfires that killed 64 people in six days and destroyed vast swathes of the Greek countryside. Some demonstrators wore black and carried banners reading 'No to the dest

Some criticised property developers, who are blamed for allegedly starting the fires deliberately to clear forested areas for construction.

Meanwhile, the number of fires has dropped from 80 to about 20, according to firefighters. A huge fire near the historic site of Marathon has been put out with the support of Russian, French and Turkish planes. Firefighters are working around the clock to keep the blazes under control.

The Greek Prime Minister, Costas Karamanlis, has thanked international air crews who helped fight the fires.

Burned trees after wildfire,   
             near Athens Greece
Burned trees after wildfire, near Athens Greece


Forest fires have killed at least 64 people in a week, while hundreds have been evacuated and thousands of hectares of land destroyed. 

The situation remains critical across the country. Greece's Prime Minister said he was deploying every possible means necessary to fight the fires.

The Government in Athens has vowed to hunt down the arsonists it blames for turning much of the Peloponnesus peninsula into an inferno.  It says Greece is facing an asymmetrical attack, which is code for terrorism.

“I don't think people are trying to find a scapegoat. It is the state itself being incompetent to deal with this problem. They called it a terrorist act or whatever. What I have to say is that it was not an accident. I mean of course there was arson for different reasons and we have this because of insufficient legislation when it comes to the use of land. So these nice people do it every year but I do not suppose that there is any data whatsoever or evidence to prove that this was a terrorist act,” Georgios Sinanidis, a Greek businessman.

The Greek authorities say the number of simultaneous fires throughout the country is neither accidental nor coincidental.  They've offered a reward of up to 1 MLN euros for information on arsonists.

Around 30 people have been detained on suspicion of starting fires deliberately, but it's believed police don’t have enough evidence to prosecute them.