Koukaki arrests were conducted by the book, minister says

Koukaki arrests were conducted by the book, minister says

Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis on Wednesday responded to a letter from jurist and academic Nikos Alivizatos, who heads a committee established by the minister to monitor police behavior, regarding allegations of police brutality during a crackdown on anarchist squats in the downtown Athens district of Koukaki earlier in the day.

In his letter following Alivizatos’ demand that an inquiry be launched into a family’s claims that police officers forced their way into their house without warrant and used excessive force during the arrest of the family’s two sons and father, Chrysochoidis denied the allegations, saying that a judicial official was present at the raid and that there were “no incidents of police violence.”

The minister added that the family’s claims will in any case be sent to the Ombudsman for investigation and will also become the subject of an internal inquiry by the Hellenic Police (ELAS), as per protocol.

Earlier, ELAS spokesman Theodros Chronopoulos had said that the two young men who were arrested were members of a group squatting in the adjacent building at 45 Matrozou Street and had attacked the officers during the raid with stones and other projectiles as they carried out orders to evacuate the squat.

The officers, he said, entered the neighboring building in order to gain access to the squat via the rooftop, not knowing that it was the home of the two young men. Their father reportedly denied the officers entry after demanding that they show a warrant and used physical force against the officers when they entered the premises.

In his letter to Chysochoidis responding to these claims, Alivizatos had expressed “sadness” at an apparent “increase in incidents of unjustified police violence,” was also forwarded to the Ombudsman.

The Matrozou Street raid was part of a wider operation to clear three squats in Koukaki as part of a government crackdown on anarchist activities.

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