ATHENS – Renovated in 2010 at a cost of 9.63 million euros ($11.25 million), the 56-acre Pedion tou Areos Park in Greece’s capital city, designed to rival any around the world, has fallen into complete abandonment by authorities, overrun with drug dealers, prostitutes, junkies and violent criminals.
The situation has gotten so bad that residents in the area, on the outskirts of the anarchist haven of Exarchia, have repeatedly complained to police, who has essentially no presence there and now prosecutor Ilias Zagoreos has launched an investigation into why almost nothing has been done to clean it up of criminal elements.
That comes as anarchists warned residents not to bother drug dealers and said locals were “petty bourgeois idiots” and were showing “veiled racism,” with complaints, as the park is a hangout for migrants as well.
Also threatened for speaking out against crime there were actress Mimi Denisi, who attended a residents protest, and Maroussi Mayor Giorgos Patoulis, who also backed them, said Kathimerini.
There have been dozens of initiatives by prominent figures, Internet groups and widespread media coverage, but each successive government has shown no interest in the park and let it go to seed.
It has decayed into filth and crime, fountains not working because no proper water system was installed, toilets not working, children’s playgrounds closed and become essentially an outlaw park for criminals and people brave enough to go there.