Greek shop owners are counting their losses after nearly a week of riots in the capital Athens and the rest of the country.
The violence has turned the capital’s entire commercial centre into a mess of smashed glass, burnt plastic and vandalised stores. The damage is estimated at around 200 million euros. The managing director of the Sprider Stores chain said the cost was huge: “The store suffered great damage, between four and five million euros’ worth. It was completely burnt. Nothing has been left standing, even the roof collapsed. The merchandise and equipment were burnt. There is nothing left,” said Haralambos Xylouris. The riots were sparked by the fatal police shooting of a 15-year old boy last weekend. Two police officers charged over the killing say the shot was fired in self-defence at rock-throwing youths. “Since Monday, the shops have been empty in Athens,” said the vice-president of the Athens Trading Association, Andreas Triantafilidis. “If it goes on like this, I can’t imagine the damage to small-and medium-sized businesses. Combined with the economic crisis and the problems faced by the banks, the damage is unimaginable.” A survey published before the riots showed nearly 40 percent of businesses were planning personnel cuts due to the economic crisis. The government has said it will compensate the shop-owners affected and pay the salaries of employees forced out of work in the weeks ahead.