Greek Cops Pick Up Presence in Athens Anarchist Neighborhood

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Tatiana Bollari, FILE)

ATHENS – Greek police will keep sweeping through the anarchist-dominated neighborhood of Exarchia Greece’s capital – Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would stop lawlessness there -and plan to build a bigger presence there permanently.

“Our aim is to make our presence felt without creating the impression of a neighborhood dominated by police,” a Citizens’ Protection Ministry official who wasn’t named told Kathimerini about the plan to squeeze out anarchists, squatters, drug dealers and criminals.

Six operations have already been conducted in and around the neighborhood in the past week, aimed at also picking up unlawful migrants hiding out there and with reports anarchists have alternately been working with drug dealers or battling them.

The initial raids led to the arrest of 17 people, the paper said, including on drugs charges, migration violations and other offenses and came after residents had pleaded in vain with the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA for help in dealing with outlaw elements.

The leftists, riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers, were accused by Mitsotakis of condoning and implicitly encouraging violence by anti-establishment groups to re-establish rebel credentials after former Premier Alexis Tsipras collaborated with the country’s European creditors to get a third bailout in 2015 of 86 billion euros ($96.25 billion) that came with more austerity measures he imposed after vowing to reject them.

Authorities said they also plan to transfer migrants occupying buildings in Exarchia to organized centers with reports that 23 buildings in Exarchia are occupied by squatters – 12 of them by migrants and that anarchists were guarding others in anticipation of pitched battles with riot police with whom they tangled frequently under SYRIZA rule.