Policemen ask to be removed from Keratea

Police officers have asked to be removed from duty in Keratea, southeast of Athens, where they have been involved in clashes with residents protesting the construction of a landfill for the past five months.

Speaking to Skai TV on Tuesday, the head of the Federation of Greek Police Officers (POASY) Christos Fotopoulos said that members of his union have asked for the police presence in the area, which has reportedly cost more than 2.5 million euros so far, to be scaled down.

?The issue of the police?s presence in Keratea is clearly a political rather than a policing one and we are asking to be disengaged,? said Fotopoulos.

Police sources told Kathimerini last month that it had cost 2 million euros in overtime payments and some 500,000 in added costs to keep about 300 policemen at the site where the waste management center will be built if the project is cleared by the courts.

Fotopoulos added that POASY has filed a suit against police chiefs over what officers claim are ?unacceptable? working conditions in Keratea.

He said that some policemen are on duty up to 16 hours a day and that their personal safety is at risk.

The government?s appeal against a ruling by a justice of the peace in Lavrio suspending any construction work at the site in Keratea is due to be heard on May 24.

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