NEWS

Over 1,800 police guard VIPs

Despite government pledges to slash the number of police bodyguards assigned to politicians, businesspeople, celebrity journalists and other people officially held to merit such protection, over 1,800 officers still have such duties, according to a confidential list obtained by Kathimerini. With 238 policemen guarding him, President Costis Stephanopoulos tops the list, followed by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at 90. Three hundred and seventy-two officers are exclusively assigned to guarding Greece’s 300 MPs, while Parliament is guarded by a force of 316. Cabinet members have a total of 304 officers protecting them, while political party officials have 130, and party leaders have 82. A further 293 officers have been detailed to guard an assortment of individuals, which include Dimitra Papandreou, widow of former Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou (three) and the former PM’s daughter from another marriage, Sophia Katsaneva (one). Celebrity journalists were also well represented on the list, with police officers guarding Elli Stai, Giorgos Trangas, Panayiotis Koliopanos, Themos Anastasiadis, Stamatis Malelis, Nikos Hadzinikolaou, Nikos Kakaounakis, Georgios Liangas, Nikos Evangelatos, Terence Quick, Anna Panayiotarea, Fotini Pipili and Ioannis Pretenderis. After Karamanlis, the best-guarded cabinet member is Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis (44), and his deputy Christos Markoyiannakis (30). Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos ranks third with 12 guards, and Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras has 10. At the same time, former PM Costas Simitis still has 18 police guards, opposition leader George Papandreou – son of Andreas – has 31 and Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga has 21.