Athens invaded by protesting anarchists

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The Independent Online

Central Athens was besieged by around 150 anarchists yesterday protesting against the massive police measures planned to keep the Olympic Games safe, as well as the fact that the Games are taking place at all.

Anarchist groups and anti-globalisation activists have staged a series of protests in recent months against the Athens Games. The protesters unfurled giant black banners near the entrance of the Athens University. One read "The Olympics are about bribes, doping and concrete. These are the Olympic ideals", while another said "No participation in the Olympic plague".

More than 50,000 police and soldiers will patrol the city during the Games and the government will impose restrictions on public demonstrations.

The Greek government has signed a contract with the Hellenic Swimming Federation to construct a much-needed roof for the Olympic aquatic centre.

The roof is required to shelter athletes from Athens' blazing summer heat during the August Games as well as improving the quality of the television coverage.

The Italian Olympic Committee is stepping up its anti-doping fight by introducing blood and urine tests for all its athletes going to the Games.

The surprise tests will be mandatory and "whoever does not take the tests will not go to Athens", the Italian Olympic Committee [CONI] president, Gianni Petrucci, said yesterday.

CONI officials are hoping to send as many athletes to Athens as went to Sydney for the 2000 Games, 361.