Greece's Popular Unity Chief Charged With Gun Possession

The National Herald

Panagiotis Lafazanis. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Stelios Misinas)

ATHENS - The leader of the far-left Popular Unity party Panagiotis Lafazanis, who broke away from the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reneged on anti-austerity pledges, is facing charges of unlawful use and possession of a gun.

The summons is part of an investigation ordered by an Athens prosecutor into protests against foreclosures on the properties of overindebted Greeks with Tsipras also breaking his word to protect people from losing their homes and allowing banks to seize properties. He had promised “Not one home in the hands of banks,” but broke his word on that too.

In a statement, Lafazanis said that after receiving the summons he felt “disgusted” and “persecuted” as he once was during the 1967-74 military dictatorship that he and Tsipras and many of those now in SYRIZA had opposed when they were young.

“It is tragic – not for me, but for the country – that I am the first head of a democratic political party in the post-dictatorship era who is summoned on political charges,” he said. He also accused the state of resorting to tactics used by the authorities in Turkey.