October 18, 2012 by pavlospapathanasiou
Citizens of Greece are in a state of shock in the last few hours after the death of a 65 year old unemployed protester earlier today in Athens due to the excessive use of dangerous tear gas by the Police special forces (1).The public opinion is furious with the Public Order and Citizen protection Minister, Mr. Nikos Dendias, who in recent opinion polls is reported to be one of the most failed Ministers of Samaras Cabinet. Minister Dendias is accused for adding credits to government’s unreliability; in early September he promised that he would ban the use of dangerous tear gas by the police (2), a tactic that was not only denounced by Amnesty International and other organisations (3) but was also experienced by international journalists who have covered the police brutalities in Athens like Diana Magnay and Richard Quest of CNN (4)
Instead of banning, Dendias who is responsible for the Greek Police, ordered special forces to use even more quantities of these dangerous gases against peaceful protesters resulting to the protester death. Moreover many citizens denounced the Police for adapting another unfair tactic this of “preemptive arrests” with no specific criteria. Among the 50 people at least who were arrested earlier today , a peaceful female protester managed to talk on a journalist’s camera about being sent to the police station with no reason (5) Both international and domestic media have not been Public Order and Civic Protection Minister’s best; Paul Mason of BBC News attacked Dendias for some recent complaints that the far right party Golden Dawn members are co-operating with Police(6),(7). Later today the Minister also confirmed his intention to sue “The Guardian” for a simliar case.
Many citizens in Greece wonder: if Dendias did not keep his promises for banning tear gases that costed a human life ,then how can we trust the promise that Samaras himself made that “the autumn measures and wages-pension cuts will be the last”? The current Greek government does not only face the moral hazard of being unreliable; many believe that during last weeks is “out of control”; this latter was the phrase that Samaras as opposition leader used one year ago(at that time he was calling himself and his party Nea Dimokratia as “anti Memorandum”) for the ex-Papandreou government, when a protester member of the Greek Communist Party was again found dead after excessive use of police violence. (8) How would he describe the dramatic situation that he and his Minister, Dendias, are responsible of?
All the opposition parties have condemned the use of violence while one of the three members of the current tripartite government PASOK is critising Police tactics not only on what concerns today’s sad events but also for the demonstration banning during Angela Merkel’s visit last week in Athens. The disapproval rates for the Cabinet are increasing day by day and despite the deceptive semblance of a “climate changing in Europe” in fact Samaras is leading a governement with no reliability to the citizens-not even for his voters- and to his European counterparts. The experienced and well respected political communication advisor Mr. Giannis Loulis, have already predicted that Samaras would be by far the most unpopular prime minister in the post 1974 era (9). He won the June election by a narrow margin to SYRIZA-USF, promising almost everything to everyone through his famous “18 points programme” while he was accusing all his oppononents for “populism”. Moreover his party officials alongside with others from PASOK and Democratic Left in an elation of political paranoia presented themselves “concerned” because without the loan installement Greek economy would default within the month of July. However 4 months later the installement has not yet given, forcing the Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras to appeal the Troika officials : “Give us the loan installment otherwise we will die from asphyxia” (10) The feeling that the elections are coming closer cannot be anything else but strengthened right now.
(1) 65 year old unemployed protester dead in Athens : https://greekhermes.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/67-year-old-protester-dead-in-athens-downtown-due-to-police-violence/
(2) Minister Dendias promising the tear gas banning in early September (in Greek): http://www.newsbeast.gr/greece/arthro/406746/telos-ta-himika-stis-diadiloseis/
(3) Amnesty International condemns the tear gas use in Athens demonstrations: http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/greece-urged-not-use-excessive-force-during-protests-2011-06-16
(4) Diana Magnay and Richard Quest of CNN report “Athens is covered by tear gas clouds” June 2011:
(5) Female protester complaints in journalist’s camera for her unfair arrest (in Greek): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=y0PzA57c5Fw (courtesy of enikos.gr)
(6) Paul Mason of BBC attacking Dendias (in Greek) :
(7) Paul Mason BBC Report:
(8) Samaras accuses Papandreou Government for being “out of control” after the death of a protester in October 2011 :
(9) Giannis Loulis on Antonis Samaras (in Greek)
(10) Finance Minister, Stournaras begging for the loan installment (in Greek)