NEWS

Mayor won’t use force to remove Indignants

The City of Athens wants the Indignant protesters camped in Syntagma Square to pack up their tents and go but will not remove them itself, Mayor Giorgos Kaminis said on Monday.

The protesters were due to gather for the 48th straight evening yesterday and Kaminis said that the municipality did not have the authority or the inclination to remove dozens of people who have camped in the square by force, apparently suggesting that the police should take on this task.

?The municipality has to prove it exists,? he said. ?It has to look after the square. We will ask the protesters to leave peacefully.?

There are growing concerns that Syntagma is becoming a magnet for petty criminals and vagrants but the Indignant are adamant that they will not be pushed out. Dora Bakoyannis, a former Athens mayor and current leader of the Democratic Alliance party, accused Kaminis of shirking his responsibility by not cleaning up the square.

?The mayor has to stop hiding, he has to assume his responsibilities, as should the government,? Bakoyannis told a group of hoteliers. ?Police, municipal police and street cleaners could transform the image of the square within an hour. Instead, what we have now is an image of lawlessness.?

City of Athens teams are still trying to repair some 800,000 euros? worth of damage to public property as a result of rioting during anti-austerity protests in central Athens last month. Kaminis said that the municipality would be cutting spending in its annual budget, to be submitted on Monday, by 30 percent.