ATHENS – Setting the stage for what could be an all-out conflict, Greek police are planning a sweep through the anarchist-dominated neighborhood of Exarchia in the capital city, where the notorious group Rouvikonas is staked and said ready for battle.
Critics say that the group had essentially free run during the 4 ½-year reign of the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA which was riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers and with then-Premier Alexis Tsipras accused by critics of looking the other way and ignoring Rouvikonas attacks on embassies, political parties and other targets.
But new Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who deposed Tsipras in July 7 snap elections, came to power with a law-and-order pledge and said authorities will confront the anarchists in their lair, where they are said to be already guarding abandoned buildings they have taken over as squatters.
Authorities are planning to smash burglary and robbery rackets operating in Attica and beyond as well, said Kathimerini in a report on the coming crackdown that will pit riot police against some 1000 anarchists used to having their way under Tsipras.
Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis has ordered the transfer of 500 police officers from desk jobs to the motorcycle-riding DIAS unit, the paper said, with police beefing up for an expected fight against a foe that uses Molotov Cocktails and stones and other objects against them.
As part of the new assault on lawlessness, the government is also reportedly planning to revise a penal code so that members of Rouvikonas would be indicted to trial after acts of vandalism directly and charging the whole group for crimes.
Leaders from the group earlier warned they would resist if Mitsotakis went ahead with his promise to try to root them out and stop their sometimes violent attacks, especially in the neighborhood where they nearly rule.