ATHENS – Upset that the New Democracy government has been raiding the anarchist-dominated neighborhood of Exarchia in Greece’s capital, emptying abandoned buildings of squatters – many of them refugees and migrants – a group of over 100 people protested outside the home of Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis.
They threw fliers denouncing his order to send police into the neighborhood to remove the squatters with the government also going after drug dealers and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would take back the area.
“Anti-democratic actions such as the one at the minister’s home will not intimidate the government,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas said after the non-violent demonstration that saw people peacefully dispersed by police, with no one detained.
After raiding abandoned buildings the government on Nov. 20 gave a 15-day for others living in unlawfully occupied buildings to get out.
The Citizens Protection Ministry issued a written statement calling on all those who’ve occupied buildings, public or private, to leave them, adding that asylum seekers or third country nationals found in the buildings will be transported to shelters on the mainland, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.
In case of private property, squatters are instructed to contact the owners in order to agree on lease terms instead of living there unlawfully, it was advised, a policy that drew flak from critics for Chrysohoidis.
That was led by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that let squatters take over buildings and two Members of Parliament from the party demanded to know if police are unlawfully tracking private citizens with GSP devices, the paper said.
The SYRIZA deputies cited media reports claiming that at least three people discovered GPS devices on their vehicles or prevented unknown people from placing such devices.