ATHENS – After anarchist groups splashed paint on the walls of his home near the American Embassy, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said he was confident police would investigate thoroughly but said ongoing rampages and violence could cue into what’s expected to be another record tourism season for the country.
He didn’t mention it came after protests by groups demanding a furlough for jailed terrorist assassin Dimitris Koufodinas whose disbanded group Nov. 17 killed 23 people, including five Americans attached to the embassy over the years.
A US-Greece strategic dialogue earlier this year led to stronger relations after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras backed away from anti-American and anti-NATO stances and didn’t go ahead with a vow to remove any US military presence.
Ironically, the links have grown closer although Tsipras’ ruling Radical Left SYRIZA is riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers backing Koufodinas and his constant vacations from jail – he had six before a seventh was blocked by a prosecutor.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 7th annual Hellenic Air Force Academy (HAFA) Air Power Conference on May 15, Pyatt thanked Greece’s foreign and defense ministers for expressing their support over the incident. However, he cautioned that such “acts of hooliganism” undermine Athens’ image as a tourism and investment destination.
Pyatt had earlier tweeted that the paint attack, carried out by members of Rouvikonas (Greek for Rubicon) which adores Koufodinas, was “childing vandalism” and that he would work with Greek authorities “to punish the culprits according to law.”
“Destruction of property is not peaceful protest,” he said. The major opposition New Democracy, which has vowed to end lawlessness and anarchist attacks if it comes to power in elections later this year, condemned the attack as did the tiny To Potami group.
Tsipras is seeking more foreign investors to help bring recovery from a more than nine-year-long economic and austerity crisis but elements in his party are trying to stop them, not wanting anyforeign interests at all.