Scuffles ‘shame’ Greece

Televised scuffles between immigrants at the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Athens’s Syntagma Square were characterized yesterday by the New Democracy party as «images of shame.» ND deputy Christos Markoyiannakis, the shadow minister of public order, was commenting on fighting that broke out between a few groups who were jostling among the estimated 3,000 immigrants, mostly Albanians and Kurds, gathered in front of a giant stage set up for the New Year’s Eve concert. Television audiences watched families with young children trying to get away from the fights, while police officers just stood by. No arrests were made. «These unfortunate incidents are just another indication of the lack of any kind of sanctions against criminals or troublemakers. This is due to the general impression that the State is not capable of imposing order or respect for laws,» said Markoyiannakis. «It is unacceptable that these incidents took place under the noses of police officers who simply looked on. Responsibility rests solely with the minister for public order and the Greek police leadership,» he added. The scuffles took place before midnight and the appearance of Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, the fireworks display and a concert by singers Vassilis Papaconstantinou, Pyx Lax and Lavrentis Mahairitsas.

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