Update From Greece

  • Posted on: 30 October 2009
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>Three suspects spotted by police in a mechanical crane on a side road off the Egnatia Highway in northern Greece yesterday jumped out of the vehicle at a police signal, jumped into a car parked nearby and fled, police said. At one point during the chase that ensued, the suspects stopped the car and reversed into the police patrol vehicle, immobilizing it, before fleeing, police said. A subsequent search of the abandoned crane turned up several tools usually favored by burglars. Police said the suspects might have been planning to steal a bank ATM.

In a response to an armed attack earlier this week on a police station in an Athens suburb, Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said yesterday that he was ordering the removal of all guards from police precincts in a bid to stop them from being a target for terrorists.</td><td><img title="revolution in reverse" height=200 width=200 src="http://cache.boston.com/universal/site_graphics/blogs/bigpicture/athens_...

See video <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLEd2rfO7y4">here.</a>

Two gunmen fired almost 100 rounds at the police station in Aghia Paraskevi, northeastern Athens, on Tuesday night, injuring six policemen. One of those, a trainee policewoman, was said to be in critical but stable condition after undergoing extensive surgery. The other officer was in serious but stable condition.

Chysochoidis said that he was issuing an order for some 2,000 special guards, policemen with just basic training, to be removed from guard duty at the country police stations.

These officers will instead be assigned to administrative duties or foot patrols.

“Police precincts are not forts, they are there to serve the public,” said Chrysochoidis, adding that the aim was for police stations to “remain open to citizens so they can offer immediate and quality service, not to be turned into areas of fear and hassle.”

The minister said the government had no plans to review anti-terrorism laws, suggesting that a more open approach would be the best way to defeat urban guerrillas.

“The best response to terrorism is not fear and the curtailment of rights but more democracy,” said Chrysochoidis. “The issue is to track down and arrest the perpetrators as soon as possible and not to shape our policy according to the actions of criminals.”

It was not clear how the police stations will be guarded from now on, although it seems likely that guards will be posted inside the buildings.

The previous government had examined various options following an armed attack by the Sect of Revolutionaries on a police station in Korydallos, southwest Athens, in February. The idea of installing a CCTV system to monitor the exterior of precincts was set aside because it was too expensive, sources said.