Policing in the central Athenian district of Exarchia only lasts until the TV cameras are switched off. This is the sad conclusion to be drawn from Thursday’s spectacular police operation whose apparent objective was to mitigate the bad publicity in the wake of the attack on Hellenic Coast Guard officers during a drug raid in the same neighborhood earlier in the week.
Deteriorating conditions in this central Athens neighborhood are not, of course, just a matter of law and order. Even if a police plan were in place, and even if police presence was not limited to appearances, more would still be needed. What is required is a comprehensive blueprint hammered out collectively by the police, the municipal authorities as well as private and public entities headquartered in the area, with the aim of restoring normality in Exarchia.