Greek police sweeps in Exarchia set to intensify

Greek police sweeps in Exarchia set to intensify

The Greek Police (ELAS) appears determined to continue conducting sweeps in Exarchia in a bid to combat drug trafficking and squatting in this run-down central district of Athens.

This month, anti-narcotics officials and members of the crime prevention and suppression team (OPKE) have carried out eight operations in Exarchia, also an anarchist stronghold. These included stopping and searching hundreds of suspects and led to 22 arrests on charges related to illegal drugs and failure to produce valid residence documents.

“The operations will continue with the same or greater intensity, until the drug mafias operating in the area have been dismantled,” an unnamed official from the Citizens’ Protection Ministry told Kathimerini.

As a next step, police aim to raid anarchist squats in the neighborhood. A total of 23 buildings are currently occupied by squatters. Twelve of these are being used to accommodate migrants.

Police activity has met with little resistance so far, as many of the self-styled anarchists are away for the summer. A protest rally has been called for September 14 outside the historic Athens University building on Panepistimiou Street, in a show of solidarity with the squatters.

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