Anarchists from across the Balkans clash with Greek police

A molotov cocktail is thrown at Greek riot police during clashes with anarchists outside the University of Thessaloniki. Some 2,000 anarchists from across the Balkans marched in the northern Greek city protesting against rising nationalism in the region. (AP Photo)
Updated 10 March 2018
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Anarchists from across the Balkans clash with Greek police

THESSALONIKI, Greece: Anarchists have clashed with riot police in Greece after some 2,000 protesters from across the Balkans marched in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki against nationalism in the region.
Police used tear gas and threw stun grenades Saturday at the anarchists, who were barricaded inside the University of Thessaloniki campus. Police are prohibited by law to enter the campus to make arrests.
The gathering of Balkan anarchists was organized after far-right activists burned down an anarchist collective’s premises in Thessaloniki in January.
Nationalist tensions remain pervasive in the Balkans, and Greece and neighboring Macedonia have seen recent protests over a decades-long name dispute. Greece argues that Macedonia’s name in its current form implies a territorial claim against its own region with the same name.


Afghan leaders ‘optimistic’ over Taliban peace talks

Updated 49 min 57 sec ago
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Afghan leaders ‘optimistic’ over Taliban peace talks

  • The Taliban last week rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to extend the truce, but a government spokesman said on Saturday that the government was optimistic the militants were willing to engage in peace talks.
  • After ending the truce, the Taliban said its attacks against foreign troops and Afghans supporting them would continue.

KABUL: The Afghan government is confident of holding peace talks with Taliban militants despite a recent surge of attacks by insurgents, a palace spokesman said.

Shah Hussain Murtazawi said the announcement last week of a brief truce by the Taliban over Eid, the increasing movement of extremists and some field commanders to government-held areas, and a call for peace by the Imam of Makkah and the Saudi monarch were the basis of the government’s optimism.

The Taliban last week rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to extend the truce, but Murtazawi said on Saturday that the government was optimistic the militants were willing to engage in peace talks.

“A new chapter has been opened and the broad support for a cease-fire and an end to the war are the causes for our optimism,” he told Arab News.

“The fact that Taliban announced a truce and their commanders came into towns and celebrated Eid with government officials are positive signs that the extremists will be ready for talks with the government.”

However, no contact has been established with leaders of the group since the militants called off their truce, Murtazawi said.

After ending the truce, the Taliban said its attacks against foreign troops and Afghans supporting them would continue. Scores of Afghan troops have been killed in a spate of attacks, including assaults on military bases where the insurgents joined government forces to celebrate Eid.

Some tribal chiefs and local officials are calling for “safe zones” where extremists can hold initial talks with the government, according to a local official who refused to be named.