Greek Police Units Will Circle Athens’ Anarchist Hotbed

FILE - A molotov cocktail explodes next to Greek riot police during clashes after a rally in Athens, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

ATHENS – Changing tactics, the Greek Police (ELAS) plan to set up a ring around the capital city’s neighborhood of Exarchia where out-of-control anarchist groups have stormed riot squads and gone on rampages with impunity so far.

The attacks have been stepped up in support of jailed terrorist killer Dimitris Koufodinas, whose request for a seventh furlough so he can have some days of walking around time were denied.

He is a darling of anarchists and terrorist sympathizers, including some in the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who was accused by rivals of condoning and implicitly encouraging violence in a bid to reestablish Leftist credentials after surrendering to more austerity demands made by the country’s creditors.

ELAS said it would shift from confrontations with the Molotov Cocktail-tossing anarchists to setting up a defensive ring around the neighborhood which abuts the rich enclave of Kolonaki where a violent assault against high-end luxury stores caused some 70,000 euros ($78,682) in damages and led to calls by a business association for the government to compensate for the losses.

Even SYRIZA offices have been hit with the protesting groups furious that Tsipras, going against his party’s alleged principles, made deals to hit workers, pensioners and the poor with more brutal conditions while letting the rich, tax cheats and politicians escape.

Koufodinas went on a hunger strike on May 2 and is in a hospital being cared for after being taken from a low-security work farm to which he had been transferred from a high-security prison in Athens, and said he doesn’t like his hospital room because it’s next to the morgue.

“There are hundreds of targets. What we are trying to achieve is to cut off suspects from returning to Exarchia Square in the case of a new attack,” an ELAS source told the newspaper about the new strategy.

The violence has been denounced by major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose party is leading in polls for the May 26 European Parliament and Greek municipal elections as well as general elections coming later this year, by October.

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