Apparently it was another swell weekend in Athens. Once again there was an anti-austerity “rally,” and once again it was accompanied by arson and looting.
According to an eKathimerini report, an investigation has been ordered by Athens prosecutor Eleni Raikou, and will focus on the role played by a “sit-in” at the Athens Law School. Specifically, the probe will seek to determine whether protestors used the law school premises to “re-load” with “homemade firebombs and chunks of rock” in between destructive forays launched from the campus. It is unclear whether the activities at the school were organized by “students” or by “anti-establishment protestors, or both.”
In the past Greece had a law that prohibited police from entering onto school grounds to quell violence and arrest those engaged in lawless activity. That ill-considered ban was lifted last summer, no doubt for compelling reasons, but nonetheless the police — consistent with their approach throughout the disgraceful trashing of Athens — refrained from taking any action against the protestors.
A spokesman for the conservative New Democracy party “blasted” the “Citizens’ Protection Minister” for having failed “to break up the sit-in.” Calls were made for judicial officials “to determine why the new law permitting police access to university grounds was not enforced.” This is an especially pertinent question since the rector of the university said that he had advised the Minister of the “sit-ins.”
Police, helpful as ever, claimed to have “guarded the faculty” but took no further action because they did not receive “a prosecutor’s order to enter the university premises.”
Prosecutor Raikou has launched this and other investigations. One will explore “claims by business owners that they were asked to pay a fee to protect their premises from vandalism.” Another inquiry will focus on “the buildings that were vandalized.”
One can surmise that police not only did nothing to prevent the arson, looting, and wanton property destruction, but also in effect demanded “protection money” from merchants whose commercial premises were threatened.
This is shameful.