ATHENS – Three men arrested by police confessed to trying to mug a 25-year-old student who fell off a rocky face on Philopappou Hill across from the Acropolis and died, authorities told the Greek state news agency ANMA, the incident one of many assaults in the popular tourist area before police beefed up patrols.
The victim was first reported to be a Portuguese tourist and there was no further clarification from officials while his mother blamed Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras for having police guarding party ministers instead of patrolling streets and tourist areas.
Two of the men, Pakistani nationals, were arrested at the Idomeni border crossing in northern Greece while trying to leave the country. The third man, an Iraqi, was arrested in central Athens.
“We threatened him with a knife and a broken bottle. He tried to avoid us and fell into a gap. We did not want to kill him,” they said, according to police sources. They were expected to appear before prosecutors on Aug. 24.
Greece is overwhelmed with more than 64,000 refugees and migrants and several areas in Athens have become danger spots with reports some of them were involved in muggings, assaults and other violent crimes, including one of the city’s biggest park renovated at a cost of some $10 million and now unusable at night and even during the day in some spots.
The victim’s mother wrote an open letter to related ministries and Athens municipal authorities, blaming them for failing to boost security around Philopappou Hill.
at the popular Athens park.
Labrini Moustaka said her son, who had been away from Greece for several years, “did not know about the dangerousness of that area, which you are to blame for creating and perpetuating.”
She said the government should provide more protection for citizens and tourists “rather than allocating half the police force to the protection of politicians and their families.”
After the incident, senior police staff went to the area, notorious for muggings and knife attacks on tourists and residents, despite its popularity and usually large numbers of people there and said there will be more foot patrols and motorcycle cops driving by, with many police having been diverted to protect politicians and high-profile businessmen from possible anarchist attacks.
A high-ranking police officer who was not identified told Kathimerini that increased patrols had been scheduled to come into effect on Aug. 17, too late to save the victim.
The woman accompanying the victim was said to be so shocked she couldn’t provide full details about the incident, the business newspaper Naftemporiki said, although she said one of the attackers tried to grab her purse during the assault before they ran.
In April this year, despite a rise in violence making politicians and business leaders potential targets of anarchists and anti-establishment groups, some 700 police who have been guarding buildings and senior officials were transferred to neighborhood patrols.
They will be joined by another 100 from other police bureaus and services, said Kathimerini, with major rival New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis asking for the number of those guarding his party’s headquarters, which has been assaulted before, to be reduced by 20 percent.
The VIP bodyguards have also been assigned to to judges and other top officials who anarchist and terrorist groups said are in their crosshairs. Former interim Premier Lucas Papademos was wounded in May of 2017 when a package bomb went off in his car, followed by warnings that other officials would be next.
The additional police being put on the streets came after rival parties accused SYRIZA, which is riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers, of being soft on crime and using a law it passed to let violent criminals out of jail.