A 31-year-old police officer remained in critical condition on Friday afternoon after he was struck in the thigh by a flare fired during hooligan violence the previous evening.

The latest instance of hooligan-related violence in Greece occurred outside the venue hosting a top-flight men’s volleyball match between Olympiacos Piraeus and Panathinaikos Athens at the former’s district indoor arena in the Renti district, southwest of central Athens.

According to reports, some 100 hooligans clashed with riot police outside the venue, throwing missiles and firebombs at the latter.

The officer was hit with a highly incendiary distress flare fired by a flare gun of the type stored aboard vessels. Reports have the perpetrator firing directly at the victim, rather than a random shot.

Authorities later detained 424 people inside the indoor arena fitting the description of the suspect, i.e. teen and young adult males. The purpose of the detention of such a large number of individuals – possibly the biggest such roundup in Greece in decades – was to acquire fingerprints, DNA samples, and most importantly, to test for gunpowder residue (GSR) on the hands and clothing of those detained. Testimony was also sought over the identity of the shooter.

The last major incident of hooligan violence in Greece came last August, when more than 150 “ultras” from the Dinamo Zagreb football club and local supporters arrived for a “rumble” outside the AEK Athens stadium in the Nea Philadelphia district of northwest Athens.

A local man, 29, was stabbed to death during the violence.

Some 104 suspects, mostly Croatian nationals, were detained and later charged with a variety of offenses. Most of the suspects are still jailed pending trial, although 20 were due to be conditionally released over the next few days.

Thirty-five of the 424 individuals detained on Thursday evening were freed on Friday.

The police officer remained intubated on Friday afternoon following another morning surgery on his severely injured leg, with the Nikaia state hospital saying the man has received more than 30 units of blood over the past 24 hours.

A double tourniquet applied on his leg by fellow officers is credited with saving his life.

The near-fatal incident will be the subject of yet another high-ranking government meeting to be convened on the scourge of hooligan violence during sports events. The meeting is set for Saturday morning and will be chaired by PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with the relevant public order and justice ministers attending, along with the alternate sports minister.