Protesters burst into Thessaloniki Cathedral and interrupt mass

The Guardian — Greek police have arrested 26 protestors who burst into the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Sunday and interrupted mass.

The cathedral is named after a 14th-century archbishop of Thessaloniki, who is revered in the Orthodox church.

Police said 19 men and seven women were arrested. Seventeen were Greek and the others were from Germany, England, Austria, Switzerland and Morocco.

They were protesting against a police operation in the city on Wednesday in which squatters and refugees were evicted from three illegally occupied buildings.

One of the buildings, formerly an orphanage, is the property of the Greek Orthodox church and is being demolished to build a hospice for the terminally ill, the archbishop said.

Police arrested 74 people during that operation, 64 of them foreigners. Thirty-three refugees were released.

An improvised device also exploded outside the offices of the construction company demolishing the church’s property before dawn on Sunday but did little damage.