A group of anti-establishment protesters managed to enter the premises of the Greek Parliament for several minutes earlier today protesting for the abolition of maximum security prisons (the so-called «Type-C» prisons).
The group was asking for the release of former «November 17» group member and convicted terrorist Savvas Xeros as well as for the release of relatives of Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei members that have been recently arrested. The police forces guarding the historic building in downtown Athens were caught unprepared to encounter such an invasion, although later 20 of them were detained and released after a few hours.
The unprecedented move caused the fierce reaction of the opposition parties while the leftist SYRIZA-led government suggested coolness and characterized the anarchists move as provocative.
“Today’s move by a group of anti-establishment protesters, to invade the Parliament’s courtyard is provocative and incomprehensible,” said Greek government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis.
“A series of such actions give arguments to those who do not want a humane prison system. This invasion operates against the government’s decision to remove the barriers of shame from the Parliament’s forecourt. This is a decision which will persevere.”
“The government has already promised the abolition of prisons Type-C prisons and the establishment of a humane prison system with a bill set up for voting soon. So who is benefited from such an action?” the Greek government spokesperson” Gavriil Sakellaridis wondered, urging all parties to remain calm as there is also a number of hunger strikes going on in Greek prisons.
Main opposition New Democracy party attacked the government over the incident, adding that its failures were creating a sense of “widespread insecurity.”
In a statement issued by Kostas Karagounis it is highlighted that “anarchists, with and without hoods, entered the Parliament’s courtyard. Insecurity tends to become generalized,” while accusing the government, for “attempting to get in a dialogue with those in hoods and now it can not even safeguard the Parliament itself.”
“The crucial question arising after a serios of sit-ins in universities, municipalities and political offices as well as the attack against the Parliament from members of the anti-establisment movement is: Whether there is a government or not and whether there is a Ministry of Civil Protection or not,” PASOK asked in its statement.
Finally, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) emphasized that today’s events in the Parliament have nothing to do with the genuine protest and the popular movement. Furthermore, it argued that such actions give a reasonable excuse to suppression practices.
On Monday 20 to 30 members of the anti-establishment movement occupied Athens University‘s main building in downtown Athens. Academic members called on the government to take action in order to remove the protestors from the building. The anarchists have declared they do not intend to leave and have called for solidarity.
Today’s protest in the Parliament’s courtyard is the latest in a series of similar protests by anarchists that have occurred over the last few weeks. They are demanding to stop building maximum security prisons, as well as the release of former November 17 terrorist group member Savvas Xeros and the relatives of Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei members.
PM Tsipras chairs meeting on justice issues
“The government is preparing to bring the portfolio of the civil protection ministry under the jurisdiction of the justice ministry to promote the protection of human rights, freedoms and public order,” government sources said on Wednesday.
The decision comes after a meeting of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos, Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis, State Minister Alekos Flambouraris and Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Yiannis Panousis.
The ministers also discussed forming a permanent parliamentary committee to review policing, sources said. The government will soon submit the Justice ministry’s draft bill on prisons which aims at reforming the penal code.
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