Chief of police resigns over book presentation raid in Athens

The Chief of Police of Greece, Mr Tsiatouras, has resigned after the demand of the Minister of Public Order over the book presentation police raid in Athens, while thousands march against the police-state imposed in the last 15 days in Exarcheia.

On Thursday 22/10 morning the Minister of Public Order Mr Chrisochoidis has demanded and got the resignation of the Chief of Police of Greece, Mr Tsiatouras, over the police raid of a book presentation the previous night that led to scores of detentions of unsuspecting citizens, amongst which Mitsos Papachristou, a leading figure of the resistance against the Colonels' Junta and the 1973 Uprising. Mr Chrisochoidis has apologised once more about the incident but his attitude has been received with mixed feelings as many see it as just a chance for him to get rid of a high ranking officer of the last government, and not a sincere move against police arbitrariness which if anything has skyrocketed since the new, Socialist, government was placed in charge of the country 15 days ago.

Mr Chrisochoidis is widely considered to be in a personal battle with the revolutionary and social antagonistic movement that has swept the country since the December Uprising in 2008. Having gone public in the last week claiming, on the one hand, that he is friends with anarchists and shares many of their ideas, and on the other hand that anarchists are simply "economic criminals hiding behind a quasi-ideological veil", his reliability is in serious doubt. His latest delusional statement is that "the police will remain in Exarcheia till the last hooligan is routed", the word hooligan referring to anarchists, leftists and other radical groups which have made the particular city quarter a most vibrant center of cultural, political and social creativity and critique in the last half century.

At the same time that the government is parading in TV channels trying to keep its propaganda machine oiled, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Athens against the police-state. The dynamic march which started from Exarcheia square made the circle of the historical centre of the capital past the Parliament and ended at Propylaea in front of the occupied University's Rector Headquarters. During the march police presence was particularly discreet.

Lawyers of the Legal Support Association have strongly condemned the government of installing a police-state in Exarcheia, bringing back not just memories but concrete practices of collective punishment of the 1960s dictatorship. The Association has publicly called for the resignation of the Minister who, it claimed, was out-of-the-law. Mr Mavridis, lawyer and anti-dictatorship veteran, has gone public saying that "if this situation continues, the government will be facing not just the youth but an older generation, ready for war and with a good knowledge of it".