New Democracy Says SYRIZA Lets Anarchists Run Athens Neighborhood

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Sotiris Dimitropoulos, FILE)

ATHENS – The major rival New Democracy said the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA is looking the other way as anarchists are increasingly taking control of a central neighborhood in the capital where they regularly clash with riot police, with no reported major arrests or prosecutions.

SYRIZA is riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers who don’t want people jailed for acting against the state and as one of the party’s Members of Parliament recently said that the rampaging Rouvikonas gang, which has attacked dozens of targets, including embassies, the Parliament, Defense Ministry and notaries taking part in foreclosures really a political group too and that its violent acts were classic activism, not crime.

Anarchists are especially strong in the filthy, graffiti-covered decaying buildings of the Exarchia neighborhood which is trendy for its anti-establishment air and where riot police come under frequent Molotov Cocktail fire.

New Democracy Shadow Interior Minister Maximos Harakopoulos said that the Civil Protection Ministry, which promised crackdowns that never come, really doesn’t want to round up anarchists, that used to be a key part of SYRIZA’s base before Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reneged on anti-austerity promises and surrendered to the country’s international creditors and banks to get a third bailout, this one for 86 billion euros ($104.47 billion) in the summer of 2015 after saying he wouldn’t.

New Democracy, with big leads in polls as elections loom in 2019, said it would restore the rule of law and order, including in Exarchia after former Conservative administrations were unable to do so and some of the worst violence there occurred when New Democracy was in power.

Harakopoulos said SYRIZA is undermining the rule of law so that it does not upset “friendly forces” on the margins of society, adding that the “state” of Exarchia remains outside the state’s jurisdiction and is at the mercy of organized gangs of thugs.