What does the Greek Coast Guard do in downtown Athens and thus in Exarchia, a district without sea? This is what many Greeks wondered about after hearing that two Coast Guard officers were injured when they chased drug dealers and their unit was attacked by a group of about 50 masked and armed individuals.
The two officers were injured shortly after a drug-related raid in a house in the district of Exarchia on Thursday night.
Authorities had been tipped by an Iraqi national whom they had arrested earlier in Piraeus with 200 grams of cannabis and were looking for his supplier.
A team of eight officers from Piraeus’s security division, accompanied by a prosecutor, raided a house on Themistokleous and Eresou streets in Exarchia, where they remanded two women and confiscated 1.5 kilos of cannabis and a precision scale.
As they were exiting the building they were ambushed by men in black overalls, hoods and helmets, armed with clubs and knives, while some even brandished AK 47 assault rifles.
The prosecutor was safely evacuated, but one officer was injured on the thigh with a knife and another was kicked and punched. They were both transferred to the Athens’s Navy Hospital where they remain for treatment.
The attackers also stole the guns from the two officers.
The Coast Guard detained two women who were in the raided houses.
However, according to media, the attackers helped one Greek-Australian woman flee, while they left a second woman, a Moroccan national behind. She is now in custody.
The coast guard said in a press release its officers “showed restraint” and did not use their weapons to avoid “an all-out clash with unpredictable results.”
The unprecedented incident ended up in an argument between police and coast guard with the latter to say they had informed the first about the planned raid and the first to claim they had no idea and that they were informed after the officers were attacked.[kathimerini, other sources]