To police or not to police…

Society needs to decide what kind of police force it wants. When people’s property is being burned and the state thrown into disarray, everyone wonders where the police are. When the police do their jobs by using tear gas, batons or physical force, a large portion of the public disapproves. We need to face the fact that the police have a role to play in society, to be a part of it, to fight crime and, ultimately, to protect public interests. The police are not a nongovernmental organization nor a charity. If we want an unarmed, symbolic force let us also accept the risk that goes with it. What happened last Saturday in Exarchia cannot become an excuse for abolishing the state entirely. Populist blackmail that allows no other point of view to be heard is becoming increasingly dangerous as it teaches 10-year-olds that they can wreck a police station or throw stones at an officer. All of us, journalists, professors, teachers and so on, have a duty to stop this downward spiral. It is a shame that this government was not able to rise to the occasion and defend the fundamental principles of democracy. But it is also a shame that the opposition has not done so either, for fear of the political cost.

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