Democracy and security ‘a tough equation,’ says new interior minister

Democracy and security ‘a tough equation,’ says new interior minister

Strengthening democratic practices in the country’s security forces and enhancing citizens’ sense of safety while cracking down on crime and violence is a “tough equation,” newly appointed Interior Minister Panos Skourletis said on Tuesday.

Speaking on Sto Kokkino radio, Skourletis, who has jurisdiction over the police, said that any “action from security forces needs to be combined with the effort to uphold citizens’ rights.”

Skourletis’s comments came in response to criticism against the leftist-led government after police used tear gas to disperse a group of pensioners protesting social security reforms outside the prime minister’s office last month and the use of other heavy-handed tactics during similar rallies.

Asked to comment on recent opinion polls giving opposition New Democracy a significant lead over governing SYRIZA, Skourletis – who formerly held the energy portfolio – questioned their reliability, but conceded they “send a message that a part of the people who supported SYRIZA has now strayed away.”

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