Greek opposition attacks government on wildfires tragedy

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The fires as of 25 August, 2007

Greece's socialist opposition party leader, George Papandreou, has stepped up its attack on the government's response to the most devastating wildfires in the country's history, with 64 dead and thousands homeless.

Papandreou pointed that the government had been "totally incompetent" in fighting the blazes that continued to rage across southern Greece after five days. The PASOK president said that "This government was proven to be totally incompetent, unable to handle the fire crisis, like all the other crises it encountered in its four-year administration," while he met with Greek President Karolos Papoulias at the presidential mansion in Athens earlier today.

Protesters have marched through Athens chanting "down with the government" after Greek television showed householders trying to fight the flames with hoses and buckets, fueling claims that the governmental response had been poorly coordinated. Another protest is going to take place tomorrow in Thessaloniki and other cities throughout Greece.

The prime minister, Kostas Karamanlis, said on Saturday it could not be coincidence that so many fires broke out simultaneously in so many areas of the country. Papandreou attacking the government, denounced the claims as baseless conspiracy theories, although across the political spectrum there was agreement that arson may have been involved.