PM aims to tackle crime in city cen­ter

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou and Athens Mayor Gior­gos Kami­nis yes­ter­day her­alded a se­ries of mea­sures aimed at curb­ing spi­ral­ing crime in the city cen­ter and the premier called on his min­is­ters to put their ut­most ef­forts into the pro­ject, warn­ing that “Athens will sink if it is gripped by vi­o­lence.”

The ini­tia­tive fore­sees the in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of polic­ing in the city cen­ter, a crack­down on un­de­clared la­bor and in­cen­tives for peo­ple to live in down­town Athens, an idea that Kami­nis had put for­ward sev­eral months ago.

Ef­forts will also be made to re­vamp many shabby parts of the cen­ter by sub­si­diz­ing the ren­o­va­tion of derelict build­ings, Pa­pan­dreou said, adding that the cre­ation of pedes­trian walk­ways and cy­cling paths are in the works. In ad­di­tion, three new cen­ters are to be built for the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of drug ad­dicts.

On the thorny is­sue of the bur­geon­ing pop­u­la­tion of un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants liv­ing in the cen­ter, Pa­pan­dreou said an ef­fort would be made to in­te­grate them into the la­bor mar­ket and to set up spe­cial mar­kets where they can le­git­i­mately sell goods. The gov­ern­ment is also plan­ning to pur­sue the re­vi­sion of the Dublin II Reg­u­la­tion, which dic­tates that mi­grants ap­ply for asy­lum in the first Euro­pean Union coun­try they en­ter – in­creas­ingly Greece.

Ear­lier in the day, as Kami­nis chaired a coun­cil meet­ing on ris­ing crime in the cen­ter, anti-racist demon­stra­tors clashed with far­right­ists out­side City Hall, lead­ing to the ar­rest of 20 sus­pected right-wing ex­trem­ists.

Kami­nis, who also at­tended yes­ter­day’s cabi­net meet­ing, said he had pressed Pa­pan­dreou to im­ple­ment tougher mea­sures to curb the in­flux of il­le­gal im­mi­grants into the cap­i­tal as ghet­tos are be­gin­ning to spring up in run-down ar­eas and ten­sions be­tween dif­fer­ent so­cial groups are grow­ing.

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