Two-track method on public order

Public order will be achieved by maintaining a policy of zero tolerance toward both illegal activity and police misbehavior, government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis said on Saturday, as PASOK prepares to shake up the force’s leadership. Petalotis was speaking after incendiary devices went off outside the offices of two ministers and one Socialist deputy in Thessaloniki on Friday night. The bombs, made from gas canisters, went off outside the party offices of Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis, Deputy Citizens’ Protection Minister Spyros Vougias and Thessaloniki MP Chryssa Arapoglou. Nobody was injured by the devices, which caused some minor damage. The explosions came after further police operations in the Exarchia neighborhood of Athens, known for being a hotbed of anarchist activity. Petalotis said that the government was determined to ensure there were no «gray zones» or «areas under occupation» in Greece’s cities. «There is no way we are going to back down from the policy we have set in this area,» said the government spokesman, who added that all action would be driven by three rules: upholding the constitution, protecting human rights and not tolerating abuse of power by the police. Petalotis was speaking ahead of changes in the hierarchy of the police force. Last week, Vassilis Tsiatouras was sacked as police chief when it emerged that some members of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) who were attending a book launch had been arrested during Wednesday’s raid in Exarchia. The government is due to announce today or tomorrow who will be Tsiatouras’s replacement. It is expected that Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis would favor the appointment of Inspector for Southern Greece Lefteris Economou, with whom Chrysochoidis worked closely in his previous stint in the same department. Economou was police spokesman at the time the force arrested members of the November 17 terrorist group and it is thought that Chrysochoidis wants to pick up the strands of that investigation in the hope that they will lead to revelations about the urban guerrilla organizations that are currently active.