Amid a spike of protests and vandalism by self-styled anarchists, Alternate Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas has told Kathimerini that authorities have an overview of their activities and identities, and “will gradually immobilize them.”
Commenting on a vandalism spree on the capital’s Ermou Street last Monday night, which left dozens of storefronts shattered, Toskas denied reports that the police had been present but failed to intervene, claiming that the riot began suddenly, following a protest in solidarity with a jailed terrorism convict. “There is no hesitation in dealing with the hoodies,” he said, using the colloquial expression for self-styled anarchists who cause trouble at protests. “It’s just that sometimes, things happen that you don’t have time to address,” he said. Violent protests are not unusual in European cities, he added, referring to recent upheaval in Paris and Hamburg.
Toskas said he has “pressed” the police to provide him with “specific information, a complete overview of the troublemakers.” “In total we are talking about around 40 people who are causing damage,” he said adding that “we will try to immobilize them in due course.”
In the interview with Kathimerini, Toskas also referred to a war of words between the government and the judiciary, noting that rulings are not set in stone. “Questioning the decisions of courts is a basic element of ancient Greek democracy,” he said.
As regards Islamic fundamentalism and fears of jihadists returning to the region, Toskas revealed that he and his Bulgarian and Serbian peers have recently been in contact regarding the return of Islamic State fighters to Kosovo. There is no indication of Jihadist cells in Greece, he said.