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13 Feb, 2014 12:32

Greece on high alert after extremists declare war on ‘German capitalist machine’

Greek authorities have stepped up security after a leftist extremist group declared war on the “German capitalist machine.” The group has claimed responsibility for attacks on a Mercedes-Benz branch and on the German ambassador’s residence in Athens.

An anarchist group calling itself the Popular Fighters has come forward, claiming to be behind a botched rocket attack on the offices of German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz in the Greek capital.

The attack itself was carried out on January 12. Investigators found evidence this week that showed the rocket was fired from the near vicinity of the factory, but veered off course and landed in a field.

On Tuesday the group sent a 20-page manifesto to Greek satirical magazine To Pontiki, explaining the attack was carried out in solidarity with the Greek people against the “German capitalist machine.”

The group also said it riddled the residence of the German ambassador with bullets before dawn on December 30 last year.

They claimed it was a revenge attack in memory of 77-year-old Dimitris Christoulas, who committed suicide in front of parliament in the center of Athens in 2012.

Christoulas’ death became a symbol of the deepening despair over the worsening financial situation in Greece.

"As we sprayed gunfire at the hyper-luxury home of the German ambassador we imagined beside us the thousands of people who line up at soup kitchens … the unemployed, those working for 400 euro [a month]," the group said. The Popular Fighters also called on their followers to step up attacks during Greece’s rotation of the presidency of the European Union which started at the beginning of this year.

As the situation continues to deteriorate in Greece, the country has seen an increase in the popularity of both the far left and the far fight. One of the country’s most infamous, far-right parties the Golden Dawn is currently under investigation to ascertain whether or not the party is a criminal organization. Despite the controversy, the Golden Dawn has pledged to run in the European elections in May.

Recent polls show that if the Golden Dawn were to run in the elections now it would get between 8.9 and 10.3 percent of the vote.

Currently six of the 18 lawmakers, including the Golden Dawn’s leader, are in pre-trial detention pending an investigation into a wave of attacks on immigrants and political opposition figures.

RT correspondent Maria Finoshina said that many Greeks blame Germany for forcing the country to introduce harsh austerity measures that have pushed up unemployment rates in the country.

The Hellenic Statistical Authority published figures on Thursday that Greek unemployment reached a record high in November of last year of 28 percent. The figure is still higher among young people with over 60 percent of them out of work.

“People are tired, they don’t even have the energy to take to the streets and protest. They no longer believe that they can change the current situation,” said Finoshina, reporting from Athens.

Robert Harneis, journalist and author, said that there was a lot of “ill-feeling” among the Greeks for the German people.

“They know that a lot of the money that is given to the Greek government to “help the Greeks” – 80 percent of that money goes straight back to the German and French banks that unwisely lent money to the Greek government,” Harneis told RT.