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Senseless Violence in Athens Condemned by Greek Politicians

Violence in the streets of Athens
Greek police surrounding the injured officer. Credit: Screenshot from live-streamed image

Political parties in Greece condemned the senseless violence that broke out in Athens on Tuesday night which resulted in a serious injury to a police officer.

Masked protesters in the suburb of Nea Smyrni brutally attacked a police officer on his motorcycle, seriously injuring him.

Some of his colleagues formed a circle around him to protect him until an ambulance arrived to transfer him to the hospital.

He remains hospitalized, but doctors say that there is no danger to his life.

The officer, who is being treated at the 401 Military Hospital, reportedly said that his helmet kept him from suffering a more serious head injury.

The masked protesters, who also hurled Molotov cocktails, rocks and other objects at police, broke away from a peaceful march of thousands of people against police violence.

The demonstration was prompted by a video that showed a man being beaten on Sunday by officers in the area.

PM appeals for end of violence in Athens

In a televised address late on Tuesday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called for an end to the violence.

“The sad images everyone saw tonight in Athens must be the last such ones,” he said.

“I particularly address myself to our young people, who are meant to create, not to destroy. Blind fury leads nowhere,” Mitsotakis declared.

He said that some political forces, which he did not name, are trying to sow hate and division “to cover up their own dead end, as they have done in the past.”

“I will allow no one to divide us. We will not let anyone turn us back,” he underscored.

Earlier on Tuesday, the PM had directly accused main opposition SYRIZA of undermining the measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus by calling for protests, amid heightened tensions since Sunday’s incident.

“SYRIZA’s official call for participation in citizen protest rallies in the midst of the pandemic is an act of great irresponsibility,” Mitsotakis said.

SYRIZA: Violence cannot be met with violence

Opposition parties responded to the violence by condemning the injury to the policeman and emphasizing the peaceful nature of the demonstration.

SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance condemned the incidents that left blazing fires on streets and broken windshields of parked cars.

“We unequivocally condemn those who chose to spoil a peaceful protest of thousands of residents, students, workers and employers of Nea Smirni.

“We unequivocally condemn the attack on a man of the Greek police. Violence cannot be met with violence. Violence only exonerates violence.”

But the main opposition party also commented that the PM was in a state of “panic due to the incompetence of his government.”

It added that the only thing that is bringing people out into the streets is his government’s policies.

The Movement for Change (KINAL) also condemned the injury of the policeman and called on all political powers to isolate fans of violence, anywhere they come from.

It also castigated the government and the main opposition for “resorting to divisive politics harming public health, the economy, society and democratic normalcy.”

Greece and its society “need a national plan to put an end to the pandemic and work consistently and unity for the future,” it added.

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