The government came under fire from the political opposition Wednesday after members of the Rouvikonas anti-establishment group breached security on the perimeter of Greece’s Parliament building and entered the courtyard, the second such incident in as many years.
A group of around 17 people managed to gain access to the building’s courtyard by sneaking in behind the car of Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis as he drove through the entrance. The protesters scattered fliers and shouted slogans condemning the government and declaring solidarity with “political prisoners” including a 29-year-old PhD student who was recently convicted of being a member of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire urban guerrilla group and is known in local media by her first name, Irianna.
The protesters were cornered by police and briefly detained while Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis communicated with Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas. The detainees were later released.
“Parliament, too, has become a free-for-all,” the leader of the main conservative opposition New Democracy party, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, declared after the incident. He accused the government of “legitimizing lawlessness and handing over the state and now Parliament to all sorts of troublemakers who it cultivated itself.”
He added that the coalition was “turning a blind eye to all these phenomena because, quite simply, it is protecting its own children.”
Centrist Potami issued a sarcastic statement in response to Toskas’s claims in a recent interview with Kathimerini to be systematically identifying all the active anarchists and vandals in Athens. “Rouvikonas has a heart after all. Its members came of their own accord to Parliament to facilitate the minister in his task.”
Rouvikonas was the driving force behind several protests in 2015, including one on the grounds of Parliament in April of that year. Since then it has conducted increasingly frequent raids on government buildings as well as business targets, often protesting the repercussions of austerity policies demanded by Greece’s creditors.