Council of State warns of perilous institutional void
Judges with the Council of State have decried Monday evening’s attack on its premises in downtown Athens by anti-establishment group Rouvikonas, saying that “whenever there are institutional gaps, they are filled with raw violence.”
In an announcement issued a day after some 70 vandals smashed windows and threw black paint on the facade of the building which houses the country’s highest administrative court in a daylight attack that was also captured on video, the CoS judges called for better policing of the building and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Justice officials said the attack, as well as similar ones against courts, are the result of concerted efforts to undermine the country’s judiciary.
They also said that they will not “engage in a discussion with people who violently push their way in to interrupt proceedings and influence our judgment.”
For his part, Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis condemned the “unacceptable” acts of violence, which “create a climate of fear among citizens.”
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of creating a negative atmosphere through his “divisive rhetoric.”
“Neither the country, justice nor citizens should be at the mercy of Rouvikonas and other groups, which the government, of course, knows too well,” he said and urged Tsipras to “surpass himself” and combat acts of lawlessness in the country.
In a post on an anti-establishment website, Rouvikonas – a group that has carried out dozens of acts of vandalism against state offices, financial agencies, embassies, media and other businesses – shared responsibility for the attack with the Anarchist Collective of Nea Philadelphia and the Free Initiative of Thessaloniki, saying it was a protest against the court’s decision to rubber-stamp the so-called Katrougalos law which allowed pension cuts.