ATHENS – A common weapon for anarchists at protests – Molotov Cocktails – will mean tougher penalties in Greece for those convicted of using them under an amendment sent to Parliament by the New Democracy government.
That’s part of a revised penal code that is seeing the administration of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis intensify its law-and-order campaign after promising to clean out the anarchist strong Exarchia neighborhood in the country’s capital.
Street battles there often rage between police riot squads and anti-establishment groups who toss objects such as stones as well as Molotov Cocktails that at times have engulfed officers in flames.
The anarchists also jump into other anti-government protests to take advantage of the chaos, with sideline attacks that spread across streets or even whole city blocks, the government wanting to rein them in although none have been able.
The proposal, said Kathimerini, stipulates “anyone who manufactures, supplies or possesses explosives or incendiary materials, bombs or devices that could endanger a human being shall be punished by imprisonment of at least three years.”
But those could extend up to 10 years if Molotov Cocktails are used at a public gatherings or in the case of “possession of a large quantity of the above materials or objects.”
The explanatory memorandum states that “persons who carry these dangerous means of causing an explosion and arson, in order to use them, often participate in public gatherings.”
The move comes just ahead of the annual marking of the November 17 anniversary of the start of an anti-junta movement by university students in 1973 that regularly leads to clashes between police and anarchists.
There’s also concern about more trouble on Dec. 6, ,the date of the 2008 killing of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a police offcer which has led to violent demonstrations and the use of Molotov Cocktails.