Police brutality escalates in Greece

MeRA25 calls for common action from left-wing parties to protect citizens and defend Democracy.

On Sunday afternoon, a family with small children sitting in a square in the Athens suburb of Nea Smirni were fined by motorcycle police for breaking lockdown restrictions. Having followed the rules that require sending an SMS notification before going out for a walk, the parents protested that they just took a few minutes to rest in the square. When a bystander spoke in support of the family, the police brutally beat him up and called for backup. More motorcycle police showed up and started terrorizing citizens indiscriminately.

Mainstream media initially adopted the police’s version of events, according to which the incident was preceded by “officers conducting lockdown checks being violently attacked by 30 anarchists”. This false narrative collapsed when another video surfaced, showing the victim of police brutality being singled out and apprehended for no apparent reason.

Later on that night, police using tear gas and stun grenades broke up a spontaneous march through the Nea Smirni neighbourhood in the aftermath of that event.

MeRA25 has already warned of escalating state authoritarianism and “the Orbanisation of Greece” through the gradual transformation of Greek democracy into a dictatorship under a parliamentary cloak.

These cautionary statements followed the blatantly unconstitutional restriction on the free movement of MPs by police and the stripping of a MeRA25 MP’s immunity from prosecution for criticizing the police in a parliamentary speech.

While MeRA25 rejects the prospect of entering any coalition government that does not openly strive to rid Greece of debt slavery, it believes that wider democratic alliances are necessary to combat the slide towards authoritarianism. Last night, Yanis Varoufakis made an appeal to KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and Syriza (The Coalition of the Radical Left – Progressive Alliance) for common action to protect Democracy and citizens from the Mitsotakis – Chrysochoidis government:

“In light of the escalation of state repression that is now threatening Democracy and leaves citizens unprotected from the praetorians of Mitsotakis-Chrysochoidis, MeRA25 calls on KKE and Syriza to undertake common action to defend Democracy and the citizens. It is inconceivable if, at such a critical juncture, we are not able to coordinate our actions in favour of democratic legitimacy.”

Rising authoritarianism under the pretext of combatting the pandemic is occurring worldwide.

In Greece it is unashamedly employed in order to contain the popular discontent arising from the government’s complete failure to protect citizens from the health and economic fallout. The fact that police continue to be fast-track hired and enter service after less than a month’s training, while no doctors have been hired for the National Health System, speaks volumes about the government’s intentions.

Photo: March against police brutality in Greece. The banner reads “Cops out of our neighbourhoods – Open Assembly of Residents”.

Photo Source: The Press Project

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