Taking the law into one’s own hands

The incidents that took place at Hellenikon beach yesterday, when a private firm tried to take down a banner erected by the municipality protesting restrictions on public access to the coast, show that the unwritten code of those who rule the city’s nightlife is now being implemented in the daytime too. In a law-abiding society, courts decide who has jurisdiction over any particular site. Those who believe they have been deprived of their rights can have recourse to justice. They do not send in employees with axes and screwdrivers, nor do they take down banners or lay claim to the site in any other way. That only happens in societies where the law of the jungle prevails. The incidents at Hellenikon are a cause for concern, not only because of their seriousness but also because they encourage a mentality according to which taking the law into one’s own hands is part and parcel of daily life. It is that mentality which the state should do everything in its power to fight.