ATHENS – Stepping up raids on anarchists occupying abandoned buildings in the notorious neighborhood of Exarchia, Greek police held 70 people for questioning after an operation to clear out unlawfully-held squats.
Police were coming under growing criticism for letting anarchists essentially take over buildings and trying to take control of the area, where earlier eight Coast Guard officers in a drug bust were ambushed by a gang of more than 50 heavily-armed attackers, injuring two.
The Attica Security Division brought in reinforcements from other divisions and went into two buildings that have been under occupation by suspected anarchist groups for several years.
Sources that weren’t identified told Kathimerini one of the structures is owned by the Ministry of Culture. Police raided several private properties that are believe to be used by drug-dealing gangs active in the area.
According to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, a 50-year-old man was taken into custody after police found large quantities of narcotics in his apartment.
Police stormed into two buildings April 11 in of Exarchia to push out squatters and detained more than 90 people.
The squat raid on Tzavella street followed a similar operation in a house on Solomou street where three people were detained for possession of cannabis in raids organized by the Attica Security Directorate, with police officers from several divisions, the paper said.
The Coast Guard raid caught the Greek Police (ELAS) unawares and embarrassed by Citizens’ Protection Minister Olga Gerovasili who told radio station News247 that, “ELAS didn’t go there, it was not informed,” of the operation.
“We all know there are problems in Exarchia. The problems of crime and delinquency can not be solved by pressing a magic button,” she said.