Citizens clashed with police forces Sunday in the Athens suburb of Nea Smyrni. But there are conflicting reports as to what happened.
According to the Greek police: “at 1450 hrs today a DIAS (motorcycle patrol) team went to Nea Smyrni square, in order to perform checks on the application of measures to prevent and limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“It should be noted that for the above-mentioned square, there is a multitude of complaints about violations of the measures against the coronavirus.
“During the checks, the police team came under attack, without provocation, from a group of about 30 people and, as a result, two police officers were injured.
“Subsequently, police forces that arrived at the place, detained 11 persons from the group that attacked the police [patrol].
“A relevant case is being prepared by the Attica Security Directorate.”
Videos uploaded to social media show a different picture: peaceful citizens who were talking to police, suddenly being attacked by policemen with batons.
A rally protesting police violence took place later Sunday at the main Nea Smyrni Square, with over 500 reported as taking part. Police forces that showed up at around 7 p.m. used chemicals to disperse the crowd.
Following the clash, the police published the above statement and said the following in the last paragraph: “concerning videos uploaded in various web pages showing policemen clashing with citizens, an Administrative Investigation has been ordered.”
The socialist Movement for Change denounced the “shocking” scenes of police violence.
“It didn’t just happen, it is a choice by the government and, personally, by [Prime Minister Kyriakos] Mitsotakis. The more the people turn their backs on them, the more they will resort to repression,” said party spokesman Pavlos Christidis.
According to the latest published opinion polls, the ruling center-right New Democracy is ahead by 13-17 percentage points over the left-wing main opposition SYRIZA Party, with the Movement for Change well back in third place.
Also, the “Open Assembly of Nea Smyrni residents” denounced an “orgy of repression” in an upload on far-left website Athens Indymedia.