Greece’s street vendors are very dangerous. Especially the species of “chest-nut sellers.” Not only they are suspected of doing big scale tax-evasion, they also dare to put their stand on street corners or outside shops, whether they should not and thus disturb the peaceful flow of Christmas commerce. Therefore, they have to be approached with caution, because they have the “riots ticket pass” hidden in their pockets – or in a sack full of chestnuts….
The incredible story coming from Thessaloniki, occurred on Friday evening when Greece’s second biggest city and the most progressive mayor of the country were celebrating an open pre-Christmas event.
Following a complain, seven riot policemen with helmets went to one of the most popular commerce corners of Thessaloniki, where an old chest-nut seller had put his stroller and chest-nuts roaster.
The riot policemen moved to arrest the street vendor who started to scream that he had indeed a permission and was not selling chest-nuts illegally.
But police was determined. The men in black uniforms and white helmets moved to seize the stroller, the old vendor got angry, the passersby were watching the incident stunned.
Suddenly the man lost consciousness and fell to the ground. The stunned audience woke up from the lethargy and rushed to help the man.
The police grabbed the opportunity to seize the stroller, chest-nuts fell all over the sidewalk, a police crane parked nearby rushed to move away the stroller.
A police car came to take thee old chest-nut seller to a police station near by. also an ambulance came and picked up the man…
Citing eye-witnesses, iefimerida.gr, notes that “it needed 13 riot policemen, two police cars, a crane, an ambulance. Just for an old chest-nut seller.”
A months ago, police in Karditsa, northern Greece, arrested a 92-year-old street vendor for selling roasted chest-nuts without permission.
Last week, tax inspectors fined a 79-year-old woman with 5,000 euro for selling vegetables worth some 35 euro on the open market without permission.
In a Greek province city, they arrested also an older woman who who selling incense for the burial ritual without permission.
UPD: the chest-nut seller of Thessaloniki spoke to media tonight and ais that he had not licence as he had debts to tax office and social insurance. The man, 61, said that he kept selling chest-nuts even though in an effort to earn money and pay his debts and renew is license.
The Greek internet went wild on this case demanding punishment for the riot policemen, while Greek media criticized the police for having “depleted the rigor of the law on one poor breadwinner.”
It is interesting that whenever I post such an incredible story, all commentators in KTG’s social media pages make one appeal to the Greek government: Catch the rich and leave the small people alone.
Coincidence? I don’t think so….
PS for sure, riot police is not allowed to make “market controls” like checking licenses and things like that. It is not also in its duty to operate like “traffic police” and removed or seize illegal parked vehicles or strollers. But here in Greece, everyone who has a badge thinks he can do whatever it comes to one’s mind. Main thing, law & order prevail – with or without chest-nuts.
Just to give you a different comment… I think I figured out why the police go after chest nut and vegetable sellers and especially the older ones. Police are just so poor and can’t afford to buy food to stand up for whole shift so they go after defenseless food sellers to really eat the foods. The arrests/fines are just to cover up the fact they are really stealing from folks with less than they have.
Looks like very, very European “Iranian Riders”, something like “Force of Control Fast Confrontation” (DELTA) and wasn’t its demobilization fixed?
In 1981 France abolished these motocycle-cops because they killed too many people, backseat-drivers with their batons hitting people while riding.
It’s much easier to arrest a helpless poor victim instead of a wealthy criminal. Besides, the cops have orders not to harass the wealthy.
Hmm…and I thought SYRIZA was supposed to be the “kinder, nicer” “People’s Government”?
No, they are the same corrupt desperadoes as the other parties. Ho, ho….Tsakolatos says in London that in all the 11 months there has been NO TIME to go after the big cheaters. Only “time” for the small cheaters I guess….
and this happened right at the corner of aristotelous and tsimiski…
a great holiday message in the heart of saloniki!
Schaueble must be very satisfied that his nasty little tax-collecting mentality (only from the poor) has been successfully imposed on Greece. Tsipras should be ashamed of his betrayal of the common people.