Citizens Protection Minister slams gov’t for tolerating sitins

Alternate Citizens Protection Minister Yiannis Panousis has called for a crackdown on sitins at university and government offices across the country, warning that allowing such occupations to continue in the name of democratic rights is a “boomerang” and that failing to impose any rules could lead to the “decay of the values of the Left.”

The minister’s first intervention came in a letter issued from his office on Thursday in which he described “sitins which are not symbolic in character, therefore short-lived and without a clear demand” as a “sickness in Greece since the restoration of democracy,” referring to the period after the fall of the country’s military dictatorship.

He added that most such sitins are based on “lawless demands of the type ‘everything is allowed,’ ‘everything is within our rights’,” adding that most occupations “have no connection with social movements and constitutionally-enshrined rights but with the violent imposition of any old group not just on the government but on democracy itself.”

In another letter published on Friday in Ta Nea, under the title “Can there be a Left representing nothing?” Panousis lashes out at those within leftist SYRIZA who have turned a blind eye to violence. “Those who believe that, in the modern international and European reality, a leftist government means an unprotected country, that the lessons of history are redundant because all peoples are united, and that our education permits all kinds of illegal activities, not only do they have nothing to do with the Left but they have nothing to do with Democracy.”

Panousis also asked how “pure-blood Leftists” imagine the police under a leftist government. “Should they be burned by hooded youths?” he said, referring to rioters.

The minister’s interventions came a few days after reports that his ministry may be put under the auspices of the Justice Ministry in, what government sources suggested, would be a move to boost both civil rights and public order. The likely shift came after members of anti-establishment groups ratcheted up their protests against Type C prisons and their demands for the release of detained members of terrorist groups on Wednesday by invading the courtyard of Parliament as other activists staged sit-ins in central and local government offices.

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