A barrage of attacks by members of anti-establishment groups in Athens and Thessaloniki in recent days have put the government on the back foot, with main opposition conservatives bemoaning what they describe as a state of lawlessness enveloping the country.
With a prosecutor on Monday ordering an investigation into a firebomb attack on a riot police van that had been guarding the Turkish Consulate in Thessaloniki on Saturday, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the attack was the “last straw” and that an ND government would protect and support the police and let them do their job.
“Each day that goes by shows that [Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras is not just the prime minister of taxes and lies, but of violence and lawlessness,” he said, accusing the government of turning a blind eye to anarchist groups. “He has surrendered entire neighborhoods to gangs,” he added.
In comments about the Saturday attack, the head of the local union of police officers, Theodoros Tsairidis claimed that the more than 30 firebombs lobbed at the police van put the lives of the 20 officers on board at risk. “They wanted to burn officers alive,” he said.
But there was no letup in the attacks on Monday as members of the Rouvikonas anti-establishment group forced their way into the offices of the General Secretariat for Trade in Kaningos Square, central Athens, demanding the release of the convicted hitman of the November 17 terror group Dimitris Koufodinas, who started a hunger strike last Wednesday.
It is unclear why the group chose the trade secretariat as a spot for their protest.
Koufodinas, who is serving 11 life sentences, is demanding regular furloughs and the abolition of the Supreme Court prosecutor’s veto power over his requests for prison leave.
Later in the day, Rouvikonas members made their way to the Athens office of Dimitris Kaliambakos, a professor at the National Technical University of Athens, to express their opposition to oil exploration in the region of Epirus in northwestern Greece – a subject about which Kaliambakos has spoken extensively. In a statement posted on an anarchist website, the group accused the government of promoting policies that would lead to an “immeasurable ecological disaster.”
Citing a recent oil spill off the Saronic Gulf and a controversial gold mine in Skouries, northern Greece, the group said it would not “remain silent opposite such a crime.”