OPINION

Law and order for all

I often hear people complaining about rampant corruption in Greece and think that they’re overreacting. On the other hand, I also see outrageous things happen on the streets of Athens and wonder whether we are on a very bad road indeed. Last weekend, I was driving down a central avenue and noticed a large SUV with a motorcycle convoy hogging the road, cutting off other vehicles and overtaking aggressively. One driver in an old car honked his horn angrily and the motorcycle riders, displaying no sign that they were police, began threatening and abusing the driver. The man was duly terrorized and left, but I’m sure that he wondered what kind of state we live in and who could protect him from the violence of every yuppie bully who likes to play God on the streets of the city. I have also seen motorcycle convoys preceding the car of some businessman asking the traffic police to clear the road. Often, and especially at night, they just clear the road themselves. Another regular feature on the streets is private cars with a blue police beacon light on their roof or dashboard. This is loathsome behavior that undermines the law, public sentiment and the trust that people have in their state apparatus. I am sure that few other countries in Europe would tolerate such displays of power. In other countries, impersonating a police officer is a serious crime that carries strict punishment while security for people who are considered legitimate targets follows strict rules. It is certainly difficult to ask a simple policeman to do his job and arrest the businessmen who are so blatantly violating the law. Any police officer who does so faces an unfavorable transfer, physical violence or even a possible lawsuit filed by top lawyers. However, no one can insist on the need for law and order to become the rule once more in Greece without also asking for an end to the phenomenon of the country’s VIPs so openly disregarding the law right in front of everyone’s eyes.