Greek Ministry of Public Order decided to forbid a planned meeting by the police union at Exarchia Square. Citing reasons of “public safety” the ministry put an end to the controversial meeting scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday in the Athens district which considered as “anarchists’ castle.”
With its decision, the ministry bans any kind of meeting in the broader area between 6 pm and 12 midnight on Thursday, June 29 2017.
Earlier on Wednesday, Greek police’s union POASY had said it would go ahead with the planned protest rally on Exarchia square, unless they were ordered to call it off.
“We continue normally our preparation for the rally we have planned for tomorrow [Thursday] at 18:00 on Exarchia square. If, however, there is a decision forbidding the rally we will obey, as we have given an oath to obey the law,” POASY president Grigoris Gerakarakos told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, adding that the scheduled rally is “within the framework of democratic dialog.”
According to organizers the open meeting “Open and Free Cities” was aiming to raise awareness about criminality in Greek cities. POASY had invited political parties, citizens’ organizations and officials of the leadership of the Greek police.
However, the place POASY had chosen for the meeting was considered as ‘risky’ as anarchists often stage attacks against police forces.
Even main opposition party New Democracy had said it supported the meeting that, however, “such a meeting at the given time was not useful.”
After the ministry decision, New Democracy said Minister Nikos Toskas should resign. “In the most official way the government confirms that Exarchia is an off-limits area,” ND said in a statement and accused the government of “authoritarianism” as it forbids the Greek democratic society to express its opinion.”
Anarchists had announced a meeting at Exarchia square before the one by POASY, at 12 o’ clock noon on Thursday.