Greek activists warn of surge in police brutality, rights …
Human rights groups, commentators and the country’s leftist opposition have deplored what is increasingly being viewed as the deployment of excessive force by the authorities, the Guardian reported.
Despite a widespread ban in Europe, the use of plastic bullets has also raised alarm.
Amnesty International’s Greek branch described the increase in alleged abuses as “extremely worrying.”
Eirini Gaitanou, the group’s campaign coordinator, said, “There has been a sharp rise in such incidents in recent months and it is clear they are not isolated but reflect systemic problems in the Greek Police with regards to violence and endemic impunity.”
The group has urged authorities to investigate the reports “in a thorough, independent and impartial manner.”
Incidents of police brutality, captured on video and uploaded on social media, have increased markedly since the center-right New Democracy Party led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis ousted Alexis Tsipras’s leftist Syriza in July.
Elected on a tough law-and-order platform with promises to take on radical leftwing and refugee-occupied squats in anarchist enclaves such as Exarchia in central Athens, Mitsotakis’s government appears to have given free rein to security forces.
Clashes between students and riot police have increased since August when the governing conservative party launched the crackdown by repealing a law that had banned police from entering university grounds, and that had been regarded as sacrosanct in a country that has experienced military-led dictatorship.
For generations of leftwing students campus asylum had been a hard-won right instituted after the collapse in 1974 of years of brutal dictatorship that was precipitated by the Athens Polytechnic uprising that ended in bloodshed.
But Mitsotakis has accused Syriza of cultivating a climate of lawlessness and has argued that immunity to police had been abused with campuses invariably turned into drug dens and bomb-making factories. Extensive damage to banks and private properties was, he claimed, often the price of such a liberal environment.
But the Greek prime minister’s uncompromising stance has also resulted in a series of human rights violations, say critics.
This month, without prior notice or a warrant, special forces stormed into a private home in Koukaki —a n Athens neighborhood within walking distance of the Acropolis — on the premise it was adjacent to a squat they intended to evict.
Dimitris Indares, a renowned Greek film director and the property’s owner, was arrested, tied up and injured. The incident triggered outrage with a public prosecutor ordering an investigation. The ruling New Democracy Party hit back — alleging police had acted with a warrant.
But later that same day a woman was reportedly wounded by a plastic bullet when police raided another squat. She was hospitalized with serious chest injuries, according to doctors.
As anarchists burned down a Christmas tree in Exarchia in protest, opposition media carried reports of riot police being caught on camera cradling MR-35 punch guns. The impact from the weapon, which fires 35mm rubber balls, is said to be “nonlethal” but tantamount to a punch by former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
Published at Mon, 30 Dec 2019 16:00:00 +0000