Who are the bad guys? Police brutality shapes Greek election

Athens – the biggest crime in Greece? Status of the police force.

That’s according to opposition politicians, who are putting security and law enforcement at the center ahead of this month’s national election.

Syriza, the left-wing main opposition party, accuses the conservative New Democracy, which is hoping for another term in office after the May 21 vote, of allowing the police to be manned by organized crime gangs. conservative government maintains a leadership in electionsHowever a second round would be required and has been scheduled for 2 July.

Syrian leader Alexis Tsipras said, “The Greek police are collaborating in crime instead of fighting crime.” Saidsaying that “the Greek mafia is in the police.”

Sure, the Greek police have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late, thanks to the police officers’ alleged involvement in mafia gangs profiting from illegal brothels and casinos; the killing of a 16-year-old Roma boy during a police chase; an alleged rape in the Central Athens Police Department; and complaints of police brutality.

The Greek police force has a long history of corruption and excessive use of force, but since New Democracy was elected in 2019 – at least on a law-and-order platform – complaints are grown.

recently Protest After a deadly train crash, police were accused of using undue violence during several peaceful rallies Video to expose cruelty. police officer in a case flew off toward a group of peaceful protesters on a motorcycle and threw firecrackers at their feet. Prosecutors have ordered an investigation after a police tow truck straw Speeding into dumpers being thrown in the middle of the road by protesters.

The police chief, Konstantinos Skumas, was replaced in March. In an open letter, Schoumas defended his record and blamed politicians for ousting him, saying he would not be “anyone’s scapegoat”, and arguing that his actions would “distort those in power”. Intense resentment arose in some centres, which, in turn, led to the violent termination of my term of office.

The opposition blames both the police and the interior ministry that oversees it. “freedom from punishment, cultivation of one silence The mentality, the lack of accountability, unfortunately characterizes the way the Greek police operate, with tolerance, if not complicity, of the ministry,” Said Giorgos Kaminis of the Socialist Pasok Party.

Civil Defense Minister Takis Theodorikakos hit back, calling Syriza’s allegations are “reprehensible” and “nationally harmful”, as they could potentially scare away tourists.

“Practically our daily concern is the safety of citizens, which is why we eliminate lawlessness and crime,” he said during a recent visit to a police station. This Is Why Greek Police Arrested 7,000 Illegal Migrants in Attica in 2022 [region that includes Athens]And now we are putting 600 new special guards in Attica police stations,” Theodorikakos said, adding that Greece is a safe country.

Government spokesman Akis Skourtsos said on Monday that all medium and low crime rates had decreased during the government’s tenure. There has been a 15 per cent reduction in theft and 35 per cent reduction in dacoity as compared to January to August of 2019 as compared to the same period in 2022.

complaints are on the rise

in 2022, preliminary data from the Greek ombudsman showed 50 percent Rise Citizen complaints against the police, and the incidence of racially motivated police actions, have increased by 14 percent compared to the previous pandemic year 2019.

Greek ombudsman Andreas Pottakis told Politico, “The tone set by the political as well as the natural, operational leadership of the security forces undoubtedly plays an important role”. Pottakis said the government’s attitude towards the police was “overly supportive” and could be “misinterpreted” by officers, making them feel they had “carte blanche” to do whatever they wanted.

National Parliament election polls of Greece

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One of the government’s first acts after taking office four years ago was to revive the police motorcycle unit, which had been disbanded under the previous Syriza government because of human rights violations. Many of the 1,500 recruits were drawn from the ranks of military special forces, bypassing the police academy.

New Democracy’s attempts to establish the first university police force in Europe also failed. The special unit with 1,000 officers was set up in September but is yet to set foot on campuses. The idea is so unpopular that on rare occasions officers from the unit have ventured near universities, accompanied by riot police. Around 600 officers earmarked for uni police have already been transferred to other departments, police Confirmed,

Last month, an official removed His gun went off in the air outside the Athens University of Economics and Business in the center of the capital during clashes with masked youths.

Interior Minister Theodorikakos said that such incidents happened because, in the pre-election period, some people want to “blow up the political atmosphere”. He added that some people “even want him dead,” A Comment Which was strongly criticized by the opposition.

“Let’s stop playing games at the expense of the seriousness of the issues, as [Prime Minister Kyriakos] Mitsotakis did with the university police,” said PSOK leader Nikos Androlakis. “He created a body that was paid for by Greek taxpayers, nothing concrete, and instead of apologizing, he is doing the same.”

abuse of power

the police have also been accused resorting to violence and intimidation to obstruct journalists covering demonstrations and the refugee crisis on the country’s islands.

Ombudsman Pottakis said, “We have had cases of police officers being arrested and even lawyers and journalists being stripped or humiliated by their clothes, even if their professional identities were revealed.” “Young people are mainly targeted. The age factor acts as an incentive.

Last December a 16-year-old Roma boy dead After being shot in the head by police chasing him after allegedly fleeing a petrol station without paying €20 for fuel.

A 19-year-old girl reported that she was raped in a police station last year by two policemen in the main Central Police Department. The officers involved said the sex was consensual. He has been suspended pending investigation.

“We are moving from one failure to another,” Syrian MP Christos Spertzis said, “Where has the internal inquiry been done? There is no information, no one has been punished.”

Although such investigation has been started. In January, Supreme Court prosecutor Isidoros Doggiakos and Interior Minister Theodorikakos ordered an investigation into links between senior police officers and members of the mafia following the leak. Conversations The gang leaders were shown negotiating with the authorities about continuing their activities unhindered.

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Poster of the Communist Party in Thessaloniki | Sakis Mitrolodis/AFP via Getty Images

it was not the first reports linking police to organized crime

Active and Retired Police Officers stand accusedWith Mafia members accused of running a protection racket involving 900 businesses – from clubs to brothels and casinos – with a turnover of at least €1 million a month, with the criminal organization accused of widespread corruption.

Investigative website Reporters United revealed that an officer implicated in the racket had been promoted to director of the Attica Security Department, one of the most important positions in the fight against organized crime. Police later said they were not aware of the allegations against the officer.

“Citizens’ trust in the police is eroded when oath-breakers are not punished,” the ombudsman said.