Rouvikonas raid on Defense Ministry fuels security concerns

Rouvikonas raid on Defense Ministry fuels security concerns

The latest raid by members of the increasingly active anarchist group Rouvikonas (Rubicon) on Friday targeted the premises of the Defense Ministry in northern Athens, fueling concerns about security at key government offices and provoking vehement criticism from the political opposition. 

A group of around 20 people believed to belong to Rouvikonas breached security at the gate of the Mesogeion Avenue compound in the early afternoon and ran toward the ministry building, scattering fliers bearing anti-government and anti-austerity slogans in their wake.  

Security guards stopped them before they reached the marble steps leading up to the ministry and ministry authorities informed the police. 

However, the protesters had fled by the time the Greek Police (ELAS) sent officers to the scene. In its defense, ELAS sources said that, as the incident occurred on the grounds of the Defense Ministry, defense officials should have detained the suspects in order to hand them over to police. 

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, speaking from Canada, where he was attending a summit with peers from United Nations countries, called for those responsible for the security breach to be promptly identified and punished. 

Meanwhile, the chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA), Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, ordered an internal investigation into the incident. 

Rouvikonas has claimed dozens of similar actions over the last few years, including more violent acts of vandalism and assaults against perceived targets, including state offices, financial agencies, media organizations and politicians. 

In recent weeks, the group has scaled up its action, prompting critics of the government to suggest that authorities are turning a blind eye to Rouvikonas as members of the group are rarely arrested. 

In a statement on Friday, the main conservative opposition New Democracy described the security breach as “the epitome of a government’s humiliation.” 

“There is no longer any point in making another appeal for the self-evident,” New Democracy said.

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