Accused of Gun Use, Ex-SYRIZA Minister Lashes Out at Party

September 27, 2018

ATHENS – Former Radical Left SYRIZA minister Panayiotis Lafazanis, once tight with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras before quitting, said his former party is acting like repressive Colonels of the military junta they despised because he was arrested for possession of a gun during protests against foreclosures.

Tsipras, breaking another vow, authorized banks to take the homes of people who can’t pay because of harsh austerity measures he campaigned against but then approved to satisfy European creditors who put up 86 billion euros ($100.63 billion) in a third bailout he sought and accepted after saying he would do neither.

He had said, “Not one home in the hands of banks,” but broke his word to let the banks – who had already received 50 billion euros ($58.51 billion) in recapitalization from three international rescue packages of 326 billion euros ($381.47 billion) – seize homes.

While the government said most of those were of strategic defaulters who could afford to pay but wouldn’t, Lafazanis, who formed the farther-left Popular Unity party after leaving SYRIZA, and other critics conducted sometimes violent protests at courthouses where the auctions were held.
The government responded by letting confiscate homes online, using the Internet, to get around the protests and protect notaries who were being attacked.

Lafazanis said he refused to answer questions after being summoned to Attica Police Headquarters over his alleged illegal possession and use of a gun during protests against foreclosures, said Kathimerini.

Hee told people who had gathered to protest in his favor that he did not acknowledge the legitimacy of what he called a “civil war” type police department.

“I do not recognize schemes and governmental reactionary approaches against movements and democratic freedoms,” he said. He also took a swipe at his former party, which had issued a statement of support, accusing it of “hypocrisy.”

Veteran Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis took another shot at Tsipras, with whom he long ago broke off relations after accusing the Premier of being a sell-out to the country’s Capitalist lenders and breaking any alleged principles the SYRIZA leader claimed to have.

Theodorakis, who was jailed for resistance to the junta that ruled from 1967-74, gaining international respect but scorn from SYRIZA after he broke away, said Lafazanis’s prosecution recalled the persecution of “leftists and democrats in the dark years of post-civil war Greece,” while likening Tsipras to an infamous oppressor of Greek Communists.


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