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Dendias orders administrative inquiry after left MPs claim they were beaten up by police

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias has ordered an administrative inquiry into allegations that two leftist deputies were beaten up by riot police during an anti-austerity protest Thursday.

SYRIZA MPs Kostas Barkas and Vangelis Diamantopoulos claimed they were attacked by members of the MAT riot squad during a party demo outside the office of Finance Ministry general secretary Giorgos Mergos.

The deputies said they would file a lawsuit later on Thursday.

Police had not yet issued a statement over the incident.

Demonstrators, mostly SYRIZA deputies and members of the party's youth organization, were protesting comments made earlier this week by Mergos who suggested that the minimum wage in Greece is too high.

Mergos has since said that his comments were misinterpreted while Finance Minister Giorgos Stournaras on Wednesday pledged that the minimum wage will not be reduced.

SYRIZA issued a statement on Thursday defending what it said was “a symbolic protest” against the government's austerity drive and slamming alleged police violence.

“[The government] seems to think that by using force and state oppression against those who resist it will be able to ensure the continuation of the barbaric austerity policies of the memorandum,” the statement said.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said leftist protesters had caused damage to Mergos's office after storming the building and accused SYRIZA chief Alexis Tsipras of “duplicity.”

Invading an office, stealing and damaging property, Kedikoglou said, “is perfectly in line with the strategy of tension that Tsipras purports to condemn.”

In an interview with BBC's Paul Mason on Wednesday Tsipras accused the Greek government of operating a strategy of “blackmail, terrorism and tension.”

The Greek Communist Party (KKE) issued a statement expressing its support for SYRIZA's protest.

A total 35 unionists of KKE-affiliated PAME group were arrested last month after they stormed the labor minister's office and clashed with police.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday February 14, 2013 (16:02)  
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