Gov’t vows to keep order

As the government emphasized over the weekend its determination to boost public order in the wake of an armed attack on a policeman, a new poll revealed that nine in 10 Greeks are worried about domestic terrorism and that 80 percent think a new hit is likely. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who discussed public order on Saturday with his new deputy, Christos Markoyiannakis, and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, said public security was a top priority. «In a democratic country, safeguarding human rights is paramount but the law must be enforced, as what is most important is social calm,» Pavlopoulos said. The reference to human rights, reiterated by his deputy, was seen as a reaction to allegations of heavy-handed police tactics after last Friday’s student rally in Athens. Lawyers detained after scuffles on Asclepiou Street are reportedly planning to sue the state over police tactics. An 18-year-old man arrested during Friday’s unrest and charged with weapons possession received a suspended three-year jail sentence. A second youth, also 18, is to defend himself before a magistrate tomorrow on similar charges. A poll carried out for Kathimerini by Public Issue indicated that four in 10 Greeks fear that the police force is unable to tackle urban violence. Six in 10 respondents said they believed new armed groups would start operating in the near future. A former senior police officer told Kathimerini that the force had been «very close» to breaking up the Revolutionary Struggle terrorist group, suspected of being behind last Monday’s shooting of a 21-year-old policeman in Exarchia. But he expressed skepticism about the handling of the investigation over the past two years. «We had come very close to the organization, but it is unclear how the case has been handled by our successors,» he said. In an interview published over the weekend, Pavlopoulos did not rule out the possibility of Revolutionary Struggle members cooperating with members of the disbanded November 17 who may still be at large. «Faced with such phenomena, we cannot afford to rule anything out,» he told Eleftheros Typos.

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