A 22-year-old man was arrested during the funeral of one of junta architects Nikolaos Dertilis on Thursday. Police arrested the man because of possession of 21 bullet shells, after gunshots were fired during the funeral to honour the deceased junta colonel. The funeral was attended by several lawmakers and supporters of extreme-right wing Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn), while the last junta survivor Pattakos sent a funeral wreath.
Outrage was triggered when Bishop Amvrosios praised the deceased comparing him with philosopher Socrates and hero of 1821 revolution against the Ottoman Empire, Kolokotronis.
“Dertilis was a hero like Kolokotronis and Socrates,” said Amvrosios who conducted the funeral service.
“I know that the media will tear me apart and say that I have no right to speak [my mind]. Since the media had already decided that I would be the one to conduct the funeral service before I personally had made a decision, I decided to go ahead and do it,” he said.
Earlier this week Golden Dawn saluted Dertilis in a statement as “an exceptional Greek and a soldier who shed his blood for his country on the battlefields.”
Junior coalition government partner Democratic Left attacked Amvrosios calling him a “preacher of hate,” adding that the bishop had turned the funeral into a “show against democracy and a gathering of junta remnants” with the help of Golden Dawn.
Nikolaos Dertilis, the last jailed member of the military dictatorship that ruled Greece from 1967-74, died on Monday at the age of 94.
After the restoration of democracy, Dertilis was sentenced to life in prison for shooting dead of a young protester during the bloody suppression of a student uprising in 1973.
Dertilis had been transferred in December from the maximum security Korydallos Prison, where he had spent the past 38 years, to Athens’ Red Cross Hospital with heart problems after suffering a stroke.
As a colonel, Dertilis was among a group of middle-ranking officers who seized power in a bloodless coup on April 21 1967. The dictators imposed martial law and cracked down heavily on political opponents, imprisoning or exiling thousands of mostly left-wing supporters, many of whom were tortured by military police.
He never repented for his acts and refused to request clemency – even to attend his son’s funeral last year.
The last survivor of junta architects is now 100-year-old Stylianos Pattakos.
UPDATE: the arrested will be taken to court for violation of weapons law. According to newsportal zougla.gr, leaflets of GD were found in the man’s home during a police search.