Police raids book presentation in Athens with scores detained

people gathered in Exarcheia facing strong police forces

Police forces invade Exarcheia and raid a book presentation in Athens, leading to scores of detentions, amongst which a leading historical figure of the anti-dictatorship struggle.

The police raid on Exarcheia in the evening of Wen. 21/10 came as a total surprise. Government sources are claiming it was a result of an attack with rocks against a foot patrol in the outskirt of the area. This claim remains unverified and disputable.

The occupation army, as the locals call the riot police, entered by any possible route with menacing intentions. For reasons still unclear 50 plain-clothed policemen wearing helmets invaded Floral, a newly re-opened historical cafe of the area, where a book presentation was being held with the presence of prominent writers, journalists and the leader of the Radical Left Coalition, Mr Tsipras. The cops proceeded to arbitrarily and indiscriminately arrest customers, amongst which a well known left-wing journalist. According to eye witnesses the cops exited the building howling and posing with the victory finger-sign.

Just outside the cafe, on Exarcheia Square, the police also arrested Mr Papachristou, a symbol of the resistance to the Junta of the Colonels and the radio-voice of the Polytechnic Uprising in 1973 against the dictatorship. A State TV journalist who tried to film the arrest with his mobile phone has been also arrested.

As a first response to the unprecedented police attack, the arrest of Papachristou is estimated to be either a gross symbolic mistake on part of the Socialist, or the signal for a turn of the clock to the darkest days of greek history.

Posted By

Oct 21 2009 20:25


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Oct 22 2009 07:37

Update: According to the media, all people detained last night have been released after mounting pressures on Mr Chrisochoidis, the Minister of Public Order, who apologised to Mr Papachristou personally. The Radical Left Coalition (the non-stalinist parliamentary party of the left in greece) has published an announcement condemning the "provocative invasion of the police" and the violent attitude of policemen against the people, stressing that "this is part of an effort to develop a constant climate of police state in Exarcheia". The RLC is going to hold a press conference on the issue, while a protest march called by autonomous local groups against the police state will take place in the afternoon.

Oct 23 2009 11:04

Further update here: the chief of police has now resigned over this

Thanks for the comprehensive coverage!