Demonstrators Try To Disrupt Rock Festival
ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Police clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators trying to disrupt Greece’s first rock festival Friday night, and 12 officers were injured.
But the show starring Boy George and his Culture Club continued before more than 35,000 fans crammed into a marble stadium in the center of the capital.
A Public Order Ministry spokesman said the demonstrators - self-proclaimed anarchists - tried to set fire to a pine grove surrounding the stadium, burned several cars and motorcycles and smashed store windows. There was no report of arrests.
The concert was halted for 30 minutes as smoke from the smouldering pines drifted over the stadium, said the spokesman, who decined to be identified.
More than 1,500 police surrounded the stadium and 300 security men were stationed inside. Fans were forbidden to bring cans and bottles inside the stadium, which was built for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
Rock performers including Nina Hagen, the Stranglers, The Clash, Talk Talk, Cure Depeche Monde and the French band Telefon were to appear in two four-hour shows Friday night and Saturday as part of Athens’ six-month designation as Europe’s cultural capital.
Athens’ own rock band, Mousikes Taxiarchies, whose songs are banned from state-run radio and television beause of their obscene lyrics, also was to appear at the festival.
″There are 10,000 people coming from all over Europe to watch this festival and we hope to fill the stadium both days,″ Jean Claudon, one of the organizers, told The Associated Press.
Strict tax and currency regulations have blocked previous efforts to stage rock extravaganzas in Greece.