The Greek Police’s (ELAS) security division has launched an investigation into last week’s fiasco involving an assault by a crowd of masked individuals on Coast Guard officers in the anarchist stronghold of Exarchia, amid indications that ELAS had not been adequately briefed about the officers’ drug-related raid in the area.
The 50 or so individuals that attacked the eight officers in Exarchia had been armed with clubs, knives, pistols or Kalashnikov assault rifles, leading police to believe that they are affiliated to drug dealing gangs operating in the area.
It appears that they had gotten wind of the Coast Guard officers’ raid and sought to sabotage it. They managed to free one of two suspects detained in the raid – a Greek-Australian woman – while injuring two of the officers in the process.
The probe will aim to determine the identity and activities of the attackers, as well as exactly what transpired on Thursday night, over which there are differing reports.
Citizens’ Protection Minister Olga Gerovasili on Friday claimed that ELAS had not known about the raid, while a Coast Guard statement said the police had been informed in advance.
An ELAS source said later said the Exarchia police department was informed by the Coast Guard but only after the raid had begun.
The incident once again brought to the fore the problem of increasing lawlessness and the transformation of Exarchia into a no-gone zone of sorts for police.
Conservative New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis described the assault as “unprecedented,” pledging to improve policing under an ND government and restore the public’s sense of safety.