The police are supposed to patrol the neighborhoods of Athens, protecting its citizens from criminal elements. The events of Tuesday – when a group of hooligans attacked a police foot patrol, injuring and disarming an officer – just go to show that the Greek police are unable to protect themselves, much less the citizens of this country. Events such as these not only blacken the image of the police force, but are a disgrace to the state. We have reached a point where criminals disarm police officers rather than the opposite. It is clear that the people to whom we have entrusted our security do not have the training or skills to effectively resist a gang of hooligans. The police, though armed, turn tail and flee. They give the (hopefully mistaken) impression that they lack either the will or the ability to face those from whom they are supposed to be protecting the rest of us. This sad occurrence, right in the heart of the capital, is the latest in a long string of provocations to the rule of law by organized groups of vandals. It comes in the wake of attacks on stores and banks, among other property (attacks that have become a part of every march and protest), the savage beating of the president of the General Confederation of Greek Labor and a series of other events. The state seems to be surrendering the center of the capital to the criminals without a fight, and this fills the citizens with insecurity. The Ministry of Public Order has an obligation to train its officers and boost their morale. It must find ways to reinstate the rule of law in the center of Athens. Provocations such as that of Tuesday and others should not go answered. The state has the means and the backing of the law to react to them and it is high time it put these means to use.