ATHENS – Questions about security have arisen in Greece after anarchists apparently hiding among tourists watching the Evzones outside the Greek Parliament stormed past guards and splashed paint on the building’s entrance.
That came a few days after vandals somehow got past guards and sprayed graffiti all over new subway cars that had been inaugurated by a bevy of top officials including from the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who critics said is condoning violence in bid to reestablish Leftist credentials after imposing austerity measures.
The Greek Parliament attack – a few days after paint was splashed on the walls of US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt’s home – were another embarrassment for the government and police who have been unable to round up anarchists running amok for months.
This attack, said the notorious group Rouvikonas, was in support of a furlough from jail for November 17 terror group assassin Dimitris Koufodinas, who’s been hospitalized after starting a hunger strike May 2 to protest the rejection of his seventh vacation from jail.
The Rouvikonas vandals caught the police on duty at the Parliament off guard again, said Kathimerini, and paint bombed the Parliament red, after warning they would turn the streets red with blood if Koufodinas doesn’t get what he wants.
Some 15 5 members of the anarchist group ran up the steps to Parliament, past the popular tourist spot of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and hurled bottles of red paint at its facade and then two smoke bombs to hide their getaway although one was arrested.
In a statement posted on the internet, Rouvikonas said the attack was in solidarity with Koufodinas the latest in a string of attacks targeting banks, political offices and Athens’ main shopping center.
It was the third time the group had gained access to the Parliament grounds, including two years ago when they stormed into the yard – past guards – but those who were apprehended were let go on the direction of Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis from SYRIZA, whose son was among those who had greeted Koufodinas on one of the killer’s releases from prison.
ANYBODY ON DUTY HERE?
Even more troubling, the attack came after the Greek Police (ELAS) said they would step up security and put a defensive ring around the anarchist neighborhood stronghold of Exarchia that abuts the capital’s center and wealthy enclave of Kolonaki.
ELAS officials have ordered yet another investigation of security lapses that keep going on and even SYRIZA’s Citizens’ Protection Minister Olga Gerovasili was said to be upset about raised risks of attacks on Parliament, one of the country’s best-guarded buildings.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose party is riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers backing Koufodinas, denounced what his office called “the undemocratic act of vandalism,” although the party didn’t condemn violence while out of office.
SYRIZA, the Premier’s office said, opposes violence now and said acts were “unanimously opposed by the Left and democratic forces,” except for anarchists and terrorists.
The major opposition New Democracy, with elections for European Parliament and Greek municipalities coming May 26 and surveys showing the Conservatives leading after vowing to end growing lawlessness, said the attack on Parliament by Rouvikonas was “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“It is the absolute disgrace of a state, which in four days faces elections, and cannot even protect the building that represents Greek democracy,” New Democracy spokeswoman Sofia Zacharaki said. Such lawlessness will “end very soon,” she promised, if her party comes to power in general elections later this year.
Center-left coalition Movement for Change (KINAL) leader Fofi Gennimata said that, “The government’s tolerance of violence and of the supposedly leftist agents (of violence) is developing into complicity and a daily threat for society,.”
Greece’s high court is expected to rule by May 24 whether to overturn a prosecutor’s barring of another furlough for Koufodinas, with Rouvikonas warning it will step up the spate of violent attacks unless he gets out again.