Gov’t seeks to downplay Rouvikonas protest, attacks opposition

Gov’t seeks to downplay Rouvikonas protest, attacks opposition

The government on Thursday tried to downplay a protest by the Rouvikonas (Greek for Rubicon) anti-establishment group in the courtyard of the Greek Parliament building the previous day, while accusing the conservative New Democracy opposition of trying to put an alarmist spin on the incident.

“The police did what they had to do and I do not think there is a point in dealing with that particular issue any further,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told Sto Kokkino radio station, while labelling the incident as an “activist” protest.

On Wednesday, a group of around 17 people managed to gain access to the building’s courtyard by sneaking in behind the car of Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis as he drove through the entrance. The protesters scattered fliers and shouted slogans condemning the government and declaring solidarity with “political prisoners.”

The protesters were cornered by police and briefly detained while Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis communicated with Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas. The detainees were later released.

“Parliament, too, has become a free-for-all,” New Democracy chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared after the incident. He accused the government of “legitimizing lawlessness and handing over the state and now Parliament to all sorts of troublemakers who it cultivated itself.”

In Thursday’s interview, Tzanakopoulos accused the opposition of trying to construct a narrative that portrays law and order in Greece to be falling apart.

“The aim is to create the impression that there is widespread instability, that [the government] is interfering with justice, that the citizens’ sense of security is gone,” Tzanakopoulos said.

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