Historic cinema destroyed in Athens austerity riots

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Historic cinema destroyed in Athens austerity riots

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Around a hundred people in Athens gathered to mourn the loss of one of the Greek capital’s landmark buildings, destroyed in Sunday night’s rioting against austerity measures.

The Attikon cinema, which has hosted the Athens International Film Festival, had been housed in the 140-year-old building since the First World War.

It was one of dozens to be destroyed or badly damaged by fire in the disturbances.

“This is a site that has contributed an infinite amount of emotions and dreams and hopes to generations of Athenians. And suddenly in an evening of mindless, or perhaps not so mindless, violence it is gone. And how can one not mourn for that?” asked author Apostolos Doksiadis, an Athens resident.

“For me I would say that it’s a personal memory since the first date with my wife. We had it here,” said another local man, Lycourgos Liaropoulos. “You feel that it’s not just a burnt building, but a burnt memory as well, and part of an identity that is gone now.”

One filmmaker said culture had gone up in smoke.

Violence erupted while parliament debated new measures to prevent the country from going bankrupt.

Thousands had gathered to protest against the plans which will axe one in five civil service jobs and slash the minimum wage by more than a fifth.