Tuesday, 15 November 2011

"Four-day horror" for Greek police

"Polytechnio" 38th anniversary celebretions kick off

What matters the most for the new Greek premier at the moment are the economy and its revival and the 38th “Polytechnio” anniversary - the 1973 sit-in at the Athens Polytechnic school which led to the fall of the military dictatorship in 1974 - next Thursday, November 17.

The new leadership is afraid of a “warm reception” believing that the black-hooded youths will wish to create a mess in downtown Athens and around the area where the National Technical University of Athens, also known as the Polytechnic School or Polytechnio, is situated. Perhaps this is why Papademos also met with the minister of Citizen Protection, Christos Papoutsis, apart from the minister of Finance, Evangelos Venizelos.

It is very probable that the “four days of horror” beginning on Monday dominated their talk. All police departments  -this year the anti-terrorist squad, too - will be on stand-by for all eventualities and ready to intervene when and if needed. There have been fears that the troublemakers will be using several universities as their bases and from there will storm out against police targets, as the guerilla warfare between the two sides is a Greek wound that becomes deeper and deeper as years go by and reaches its peak every year on the 17th of November. For the first time in the past decades, there is even a police plan for the security of the parliament building. This is because it is expected that the area around it will become the epicenter of the clashes, since the demonstrators will march past it, with their final destination being the American Embassy on V. Sofias avenue.

As the march is expected to be a massive one, around 7,000 policemen will be deployed in the Athens city centre, though according to sources they will be ordered not to make excessive use of chemicals or violence even if they are pushed to the limits by protestors, but simply to follow the doctrine of tolerance and calm, unless of course things turn completely wild.

Also, this year, the police are thinking of using the water throwing vehicle as in the recent past they have been pretty unsuccessful when they have tried to disperse the crowd by using chemicals. Many protestors and rioters have their own gas masks and were totally unaffected, whereas several people from the crowd had to be rushed to hospital with breathing problems. Thus, crowd control was not very effective and now police wish to avoid violent disorder as well as being accused of causing chaos or being far too violent themselves.

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