Flower pots and the law

There has always been a problem with flower pots in this country, particularly in Thessaloniki: They tend to take on a life of their own and do not obey rules set by those who place them on sidewalks or balconies. The most recent instance occurred in that city on the anniversary of the 1973 student uprising. A flower pot refused to play its predetermined role and, obviously influenced by recent media coverage about student disturbances, decided to tackle Cypriot student Avgoustinos Dimitriou, causing him serious injury. Let it be said that a hostile motorcycle parked nearby came to the flower pot’s aid in tripping up the hapless student. The scene took place under the watchful eyes of dozens of police officers, some of them in uniform, others in civilian garb (if hoods and caps can be so described). None of them seemed surprised; after all, they know how easy it is for bullets to break free of guns and instead of shooting over students’ or immigrants’ heads, sometimes hit them. Let us not forget another Cypriot student, Iakovos Koumis, who was beaten to death by policemen 26 years ago. The flower pot explanation was issued by Thessaloniki’s security police chief, who said that police rushed to Dimitriou’s help and did him no harm. Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, however, spoke of «excesses outside the philosophy and logic of police (work).» The latter self-criticism, however, came 48 hours later – only after video footage of police officers beating and kicking the already handcuffed student was shown on the news bulletins. And this after Polydoras had praised the police’s «professional, methodical and calm» behavior in the course of duty. Just as well he didn’t say «bravery» – after all, how brave is five against one?

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