At­tacks put heat on gov’t

Fire­bomb hits by an­ar­chists, dis­sent in party spike af­ter crack­down on ac­tivists

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to forcibly evac­u­ate pro-refugee ac­tivists from three build­ings in Thes­sa­loniki on Wed­nes­day prompted a back­lash of at­tacks early yes­ter­day by anti-es­tab­lish­ment groups, who hurled fire­bombs at the house of Min­is­ter of State Alekos Flam­bouraris in Exarchia and smashed of­fice win­dows at rul­ing SYRIZA of­fices in Pe­tralona, also in cen­tral Athens, as well as in Kala­maria, in Thes­sa­loniki.

Ac­tivists also broke in and oc­cu­pied the Aris­to­tle Univer­sity’s School of Fine Arts late Thurs­day night.

In a state­ment posted on the anti-es­tab­lish­ment Indy­media web­site, the as­sailants said the at­tacks on SYRIZA’s of­fices were car­ried out in re­sponse to the evac­u­a­tion of the build­ings in Thes­sa­loniki.

No was in­jured in the at­tacks but they oc­curred against the back­drop of a grow­ing rift be­tween SYRIZA and the gov­ern­ment over the lat­ter’s al­leged strong-arm tac­tics.

Party mem­bers con­demned the at­tacks against SYRIZA of­fices as “acts of provo­ca­tion stok­ing con­ser­va­tive re­flexes within so­ci­ety.”

Ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts, how­ever, SYRIZA’s ef­fort to re­main the party at the fore­front of grass­roots ac­tivism has been se­ri­ously com­pro­mised by the gov­ern­ment’s po­lices, and anti­estab­lish­ment groups are now turn­ing against both the party and the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Caught be­tween a rock and a hard place, the gov­ern­ment has opted to keep a low pro­file as is strug­gles to strike a del­i­cate bal­ance be­tween cater­ing to SYRIZA’s tra­di­tional sen­si­tiv­i­ties re- gard­ing so­cial ac­tivism, the right-wing ide­ol­ogy of its coali­tion part­ner In­de­pen­dent Greeks and avoid­ing con­flict with groups that sup­ported it in the past.

The evac­u­a­tion on Wed­nes­day had led to the ar­rest of 74 peo­ple of the No Bor­der Camp group. Cit­i­zens’ Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter Nikos Toskas jus­ti­fied the op­er­a­tion say­ing that “no one can do what he wants.” But he came un­der a hail of fire by SYRIZA, which ac­cused him of “crim­i­nal­iz­ing” acts of sol­i­dar­ity, in ref­er­ence to ac­tivists who claim their sitins are done in al­le­giance with the refugees stranded in Greece. SYRIZA’s hard­line Group of 53 fac­tion de­nounced the gov­ern­ment and pledged to op­pose its “law and or­der” tac­tics, urg­ing it not to take le­gal ac­tion against those ar­rested.

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