Stricter prison sentences are being introduced against people arrested for the use of Molotov cocktails during rallies according to an amendment submitted on Wednesday in Parliament in the context of the Justice Ministry’s new penal code.
Molotov cocktails are used frequently, usually by self-styled anarchists against riot police units during clashes, mostly on the sidelines on demos and rallies, and usually in central Athens.
The move is seen as part of the government’s effort to restore law and order and rein in troublemakers.
The relevant amendment stipulates that “anyone who manufactures, supplies or possesses explosives or incendiary materials, bombs or devices that could endanger a human being shall be punished by imprisonment of at least three years.”
However, such sentences could reach up to 10 years if Molotov cocktails are used at a public gatherings or in the case of “possession of a large quantity of the above materials or objects.”
The explanatory memorandum states that “persons who carry these dangerous means of causing an explosion and arson, in order to use them, often participate in public gatherings.”
The amendment to the bill of the Justice Ministry for the penal code was drafted after consultation with the Citizens’ Protection Ministry.
The promoted changes come amid law enforcement concerns a few days before events for the anniversaries of November 17, commemorating the student uprising against the military junta in 1973, and December 6, which marks the killing of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a police officer in 2008.
Both occasions have led to frequent clashes between self-styled anarchists and riot units in the streets of central Athens.