ELAS, coast guard heads play down presence at rallies

ELAS, coast guard heads play down presence at rallies

The leadership of the Greek Police (ELAS) on Tuesday sought to play down the presence of ELAS chief Aristeidis Andrikopoulos, the official in charge of the force’s operations in southern Greece, Christos Dragatakis, and the head of the Hellenic Coast Guard at SYRIZA’s final campaign rally, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in Syntagma Square last Friday.

In a statement, ELAS indicated that the officials were at the event in order to oversee policing, adding that the official in charge of ELAS operations in northern Greece, Andreas Apostolopoulos, had inspected the security measures put in place for a speech by conservative New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Thessaloniki on Friday.

The disciplinary codes of both ELAS and the coast guard do not permit the presence of senior officials at political rallies. Specifically, the code stipulates that attendance at any public events supporting or opposing political parties or individuals can led to suspension or dismissal.

Yet it appears that Andrikopoulos attended several other pre-election rallies organized by leftist SYRIZA. According to ELAS sources, he attended campaign speeches by Tsipras on May 20 in Agrinio, on April 20 in Patra and the presentation of SYRIZA’s European Parliament candidates at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Neo Faliro on May 22, as well as another SYRIZA event in Xanthi, northern Greece, on May 6.

The presence at the Syntagma rally of the head of the coast guard, Stamatis Raptis, was also condemned by sources within the maritime organization who claimed that he had asked other officials to attend too.

Responding to the criticism, Raptis said he was accompanying Shipping Minister Fotis Kouvelis and only stayed a short while.

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