MPs re­act to pro­test­ers’ wrath

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece’s politi­cians crit­i­cized overzeal­ous demon­stra­tors and warned their col­leagues that they are out of touch with av­er­age cit­i­zens in re­ac­tion to un­prece­dented scenes late on Tues­day night when pro­test­ers pre­vented MPs from leav­ing Par­lia­ment un­til a po­lice es­cort ar­rived.

“Such in­ci­dents are dan­ger­ous for our democ­racy,” said Par­lia­ment Speaker Filip­pos Pet­sal­nikos. “His­tory has shown that a cli­mate of across­the-board re­jec­tion of par­lia­men­tary democ­racy has had tragic con­se­quences wher­ever it has been ex­pressed.”

Dozens of demon­stra­tors who broke off from the main body of In­dig­nant pro­test­ers in front of Par­lia­ment late on Tues­day blocked the side en­trance to the House from where MPs and their staff were due to leave. They were even­tu­ally forced back by riot po­lice. Some demon­stra­tors spat or threw ob­jects at the politi­cians. PASOK deputy Chris­tos Pro­topap­pas said that one pro­tester bared his gen­i­tals.

It was the first time that any real ten­sion sur­faced since the so-called In­dig­nant pro­test­ers be­gan their daily ral­lies in front of Par­lia­ment last Tues­day. The protests have been peace­ful and riot po­lice have not had to in­ter­vene be­fore.

“I ac­cept the ex­is­tence of the In­dig­nant move­ment and I un­der­stand that it is not a threat to democ­racy, but vi­o­lence and ha­rass­ment is a threat and I con­demn it,” Deputy Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Evi Christofilopoulou told Skai TV. “Many of the MPs are new to Par­lia­ment and it does not help to tar them all with the same brush.”

New Democ­racy’s par­lia­men­tary spokesman, Costas Markopou­los, sug­gested the in­ci­dent was an in­dict­ment of the gov­ern­ment rather than the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. “The PASOK gov­ern­ment will be brought to its knees by peo­ple’s re­ac­tions.”

Coali­tion of the Rad­i­cal Left (SYRIZA) deputy Panayi­o­tis Lafaza­nis said that MPs should take heed of pub­lic sen­ti­ment. “At times like these, Par­lia­ment can­not live in its own world and not re­al­ize what is hap­pen­ing around it,” he said. “Some peo­ple in this House can­not go on be­hav­ing like they are on the Ti­tanic shortly be­fore it hits the ice­berg.”

Pro­test­ers re­turned to Syn­tagma Square for an eighth con­sec­u­tive day yes­ter­day.

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