Former Minister for Citizens’ Protection and aspiring PASOK leader Christos Papoutsis defended his work at the ministry and the (often extensive) use of tear gas during protests in Athens and other Greek cities. He said that chemicals are better than water and that he never gave orders to police to dissolve demonstrations because they caused problems to the government.
“These chemicals are the mildest form of reaction throughout Europe. they are not rubber bullets, they’re not water. I was criticized because I did not allow that for what I was blamed to: a police state. If we would have police state, there would have been dead in Athens” Papoutsis said speaking in REAL FM.
Papoutsis argued that in all the demonstrations the orders to police were to self-control in order to protect the rights, life and property of citizens. He said that a total of 1,700 of hoods wearing protesters were arrested and that in some cases heavy penalties were imposed.
The former minister reiterated that some people from the government were asking him to “level” the residents of Keratea but he insisted on the necessity that peaceful demonstrations were protected. However, out of these peaceful protests, “some came out and asked money from shop-owners, so that they wouldn’t burn down shops,” Papoutsis said.
Greek media and left-wing parties have strongly criticized Papoutsis for extensive use of tear gas and violence on the side of the Greek police especially during last summer’s protests.
Christos Papoutsis resigned last week from his post in order to candidate for social PASOK party leadership. The name of the new Minister for Citizens’ Protection is expected to be announced today or tomorrow. Some Greek media claim that the new MfCP will be the former MfCP Michalis Chryssochoidis.