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Minister apologizes for the arrest of 9 women activists

Minister for Citizen Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis apologized on Friday for the arrest of nine women who staged a small peaceful rally at Syntagma Square in downtown Athens to mark the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25. All women were wearing masks and kept social distancing.

The nine women, members of feminist groups and NGOs as well as a member of the Greek chapter of Amnesty International, were initially surrounded by strong police forces, then detained and later arrested and fined 300 euros each for “breaching public health rules.”

“These ladies are right. I think it was an exaggeration that should not have taken place, and I have to apologize for that. This exaggeration should not have happened,” the minister said in an interview with  Real FM on Friday.

Amnesty International criticized the arrests and Amnesty’s Regional Director for Europe, Nils Muiznieks. said in a statement: “Arresting, fining and charging peaceful activists simply for staging symbolic actions against gender-based violence is an assault on their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Activists must not be penalized for trying to raise awareness about gender-based violence, let alone at a time when women and girls face increased risks due to lockdowns and other restrictions around the world.”

At the same interview, Minister Chrysochoidis claimed that the coronavirus does not transmit in open spaces. Reason for his claim was that some 500 police officers have been tested positive with the virus and whether the depolyment of 5,000 officers on November 17 had to do with that.

“All those deployed at the Polytechnic School, the 5,000 officers, they were all wearing masks and were not close to each other. The virus does not transmit outside, in the atmosphere but in closed spaces,” Chrysochoidis said.

PS If it’s true what the Minister said, then why is the use of mask also outdoors mandatory? Unless what he claims is valid only for policemen….

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3 comments

  1. So, what happened to the arrested women? And what happened to the fines they may have paid? This is still an incomplete story….

  2. An apology was the least the Minister could offer! I hope he withdrawed their fines too! Still, I wonder how men that beats and mishandle their wifes and girlfriends think, but just that may be the answer: they dont think at all (no brain)!
    And, KTG, your PS is right on spot……

  3. If the virus does not transmit outside, or at the very least, can be countered with physical distancing and masks, then why was it necessary to suspend articles 5 & 11 of the constitution (freedom of movement and assembly, respectively) by police order November 15-18? Is the minister determined to prove everyone right, who suspected the Koulis government of ulterior motives in that action? Where was the demonstrable threat to public security required for such a suspension, in light of these comments? This is something parliamentarians and people alike, should be asking themselves.