New Democracy has slammed the government in the aftermath of violent clashes on Thursday between self-styled anarchists and riot police in the central Athens district of Exarchia. The unrest came after the government on Wednesday banned a scheduled gathering by members of the POASY police officers’ union in Exarchia.
Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas said it would be provocative for police to gather in the neighborhood – a stronghold of anti-establishment groups. However, New Democracy, which has long accused the government of turning a blind eye to the activities of anti-establishment groups in Exarchia, said the ban was tantamount to an admission that the district is a no-go area for police.
“Not even 24 hours have gone by since Toskas admitted that Exarchia is a no-go area,” ND said, adding that instead of allowing a peaceful demonstration by police, the government chose to “deliver the city center of Athens to lawlessness and anarchy.”
Toskas shot back Friday saying that far-right factions within ND were behind POASY’s plans for a gathering in Exarchia, and that the clashes on Thursday night vindicated the decision to call off the event.