NEWS

Police evacuate squats, prompting SYRIZA ire

Police in Thessaloniki on Wednesday moved dozens of self-styled anti-establishment protesters, chiefly foreigners who participated in the city’s pro-refugee No Border Camp, out of three occupied buildings in the northern city.

The police crackdown, which resulted in 74 arrests, followed criticism of the government’s failure to intervene in the No Border Camp, which occupied two faculties of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University for 10 days and led to widespread vandalism.

All three buildings were evacuated by police and one, a derelict former orphanage, was demolished.

Of the 74 people detained by the police, only 10 were Greeks, according to police sources who said the others were from 10 European Union countries, New Zealand, Russia and Guinea.

A few families of migrants being hosted at the squats were moved to state reception facilities in the region. Participants in the No Border Camp at the Aristotle University had brought hundreds of migrants to the campus on buses from reception centers in the broader region.

The first group of detainees faced a prosecutor in Thessaloniki Wednesday on charges of disturbing the peace and the rest are to do so Thursday.

Thursday’s police raids were condemned by leftist SYRIZA, the party which leads the ruling coalition. “The criminalization of solidarity movements is a practice which has no bearing on the principles and values of the Left,” the party said in a statement.

Responding, the conservative opposition New Democracy called on Alternate Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas, who oversees the police force, to explain whether he agrees with the position of his party on the crackdown. “Who is responsible for public order? The Citizens’ Protection Ministry or SYRIZA?” ND said in a statement.

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