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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-02-09

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Parties denounce police, Polydoras announcements

  • [01] Parties denounce police, Polydoras announcements

    Greece's Parliamentary opposition parties on Friday united in their denunciation of an announcement issued by Attica Police headquarters regarding Thursday's protest rally in Athens, which they described by turns as "provocative", an "anti-democratic deviation" and "politically unacceptable".

    Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras responded by issuing another announcement that itself came under fire, in which he named several of the critics, including Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alekos Alavanos and main opposition PASOK spokesman Petros Efthymiou, while accusing them of "scare-mongering" with claims about the so-called establishment of a 'Police State'.

    "The slanderers and distorters should not overestimate their powers and capabilities. The people can see and know the truth. And they judge us all," Polydoras warned.

    The government gave full backing to the police force in response to questions on Friday, with alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros saying that it "acted within the framework of legality".

    Antonaros stressed that Greece was a well-governed democracy in which institutions and authorities operated almost perfectly. He also pointed out that the police had briefed prosecuting authorities both verbally and in writing and that it was the responsibility of the police to prevent the disruption of law and order.

    In a reply to Polydoras, main opposition PASOK spokesman Petros Efthymiou accused him of deliberately adopting a strategy of tension in order to "fish" for far-right votes and of collaborating with provocateurs in order to cultivate tension.

    He also stressed that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis bore full responsibility for the "choices and repeated divisive deviations of Mr. Polydoras," and urged him to take action.

    Asked if PASOK was seeking Polydoras' resignation, Efthymiou said that PASOK leader George Papandreou had made heavy charges against the public order minister during the debate on PASOK's no-confidence motion in Parliament last weekend, which should have "sent the minister home".

    PASOK sector head for law and order issues, Alekos Papadopoulos, charged that the state of the police force was now "dangerous", with an explosive mixture of systematic partisanship, lack of meritocracy and proven operational inadequacy.

    "This message has rendered the police paralysed," he added.

    Following on the heels of PASOK, which on Thursday night slammed the police announcement as an "anti-democratic deviation" and a "direct violation of fundamental Constitutional principles", the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Friday said that it "indicated the escalating operation to terrorise the popular movement, for which the government is responsible".

    This had been further exposed over the past days by revelations that student associations were being slandered and under surveillance and by a photograph published in the Greek newspaper 'Rizospastis' that showed the familiar masked troublemakers that habitually wreaked havoc in Greek demonstrations engaged in transactions with uniformed police at the Macedonia-Thrace ministry, a party announcement said.

    In the wake of the statements by Polydoras, meanwhile, SYN's Alavanos said the government had exceeded "political limits":

    "A government is neither democratic nor responsible when its public order minister, with the toleration of the prime minister, accuses the president of a Parliamentary party firstly of being unlawful, then of operating outside a Parliamentary framework and now returns with open threats and abuse," Alavanos said on the sidelines of an event on university reforms and article 16 of the Constitution.

    His statement was echoed by the president of the Pan-Hellenic Federation of University Teachers' Associations (POSDEP) Lazaros Apekis - which the controversial police announcement named as "responsible" for bringing 13 coaches of protestors from around the country to join Thursday's rally in Athens - who asked what the government's next "hostile move" would be and announced that a long-term strike by university teachers will continue.

    National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) teacher Nikos Belavilas called for the public order minister's resignation and said that Polydoras' announcement on Friday was a new slip that had "added fuel to the flames", adding that the academic community considered him unfit for his position.

    "Polydoras should resign," Panteion University teacher Alkis Rigos seconded.

    In comments on the police announcement on Thursday, meanwhile, SYN strongly objected to the singling out of Apekis and called it a "monumentally improper and politically unacceptable announcement by a state service that should be the first to recognise the extent of the repercussions and dangers that this unacceptable targetisation can bring."

    In its announcement before the start of the rally on Thursday, Attica Police headquarters said that POSDEP and Apekis were responsible for arranging the transport of coach loads of protestors to Athens to take part in a rally against a revision of article 16 of the Constitution and planned university reforms.

    It said that police services had been mobilised and were on full alert to "prevent uncontrolled delinquent behaviour by the protestors on board, among whom are individuals of EAAK [a radical left-wing group] and of the anti-authority/anarchist scene," and that prosecuting authorities had been informed about the "behaviour of participants in the above rally, with the responsibility of the POSDEP organising committee and its president."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo depicting Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras.


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