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Greek Court Rules Against Tsipras’ 2011 Claims of Police Anti-Austerity Brutality

July 20, 2018

ATHENS – Eighteen police officers accused by now Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of using excessive force during an anti-austerity protest in 2011, four years before he was elected, were cleared by a court.

As head of the now-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, he sued against the riot police who tangled with demonstrators outside Parliament as lawmakers were voting for more austerity measures he opposed and vowed to reject but then imposed more after he was elected to get a third bailout, this one for 86 billion euros ($100.33 billion) that came with more brutal conditions.

Ironically, the was file at the Supreme Court on July 1, 2011, by then-SYRIZA favorite and lawyer Zoe Constantopoulou, claimed that the police’s use of tear gas and stun grenades was excessive and put the public’s health at risk.

“Such extensive criminal behavior by police officers cannot slip the attention of their superiors in rank but, rather, certainly manifests on their command and with their tolerance,” the lawsuit said.

She was later named Parliament Speaker after Tsipras came to power but broke with him after he accused more austerity measures and as she complained he had betrayed the party. She has started a new party, Sailing for Freedom, that doesn’t register in polls.

The hearing against the 18 officers started in October 2017 but, typical of the Greek justice system, had been repeatedly delayed and took more than seven years to end. The police union thanked the judges for “giving Caesar what is Caesar’s.”

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