State Minister wants tougher charges for Koukaki squatters

State Minister wants tougher charges for Koukaki squatters

In the wake of the controversy that followed a police operation to empty two squats in Koukaki over the weekend, State Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis said on Monday that evicted squatters who hurled blocks of concrete and other projectiles at officers should face felony rather than misdemeanor charges.

“What happened was felonies and not misdemeanors as they carried a potential risk to human life,” Gerapetritis told the Thema 104.6 FM radio station, noting that the penal code stipulates the upgrading of offenses from misdemeanors to felonies in such cases.

His comments came after the union of Attica police special guards said it would take legal action to change the charges brought against 20 people arrested in the evictions from attempted bodily harm to attempted homicide.

Six police officers were injured during Saturday’s operation at the two buildings which were initially cleared by police in December but then reoccupied last week. A video of the operation posted on the internet showed squatters lobbing concrete blocks, fire extinguishers and other makeshift projectiles out of the window at police officers sheltering under their shields while trying to break open the door and access the squat.

A search for fingerprints at the two squats cleared on Saturday and a third building that was also cleared in December identified eight people who appear to have been present at all three of the squats. Of those, two were arrested on Saturday.

One is a well-known anarchist believed to play a leading role in coordinating the Koukaki squats and the second is the daughter of a well-known television actor, Kathimerini understands.

The eight people identified do not include the two sons of the director Dimitris Indares, who were detained in a December eviction during which police were accused of having exerted undue force.

In a statement, Attica police headquarters suggested that efforts had been made to remove fingerprints. “In the total area of the buildings, which cover hundreds of square meters, only 10 fingerprints were found,” it said.

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