Without proper equipment and special training, however, armed with garden hoses, sprinkling cans and water buckets they probably found on the sport, carrying their weapons and wearing their helmets, Greek policemen did whatever they could to help contain the big wildfire raging at Penteli mountain in the northern outskirts of Athens.
Proud of the achievements, Minister of Citizen Protection, Takis Theodorikakos, posted pictures on Wednesday showing policemen using a garden hose against the fire.
Three policemen of the DIAS units on motorcycles are watching at the fourth one holding the water hose.
“Hundreds of police officers fight day and night to protect the lives of citizens and safeguard their property. We continue with all our strength!,” Minister Theodorikakos cheered.
Εκατοντάδες αστυνομικοί νύχτα και μέρα μάχονται για την προστασία της ζωής των πολιτών και την διασφάλιση της περιουσίας τους. Συνεχίζουμε με όλες μας τις δυνάμεις! @hellenicpolice @yptpgr pic.twitter.com/xLPMSuOEq3
— Τάκης Θεοδωρικάκος (@theodorikakosp) July 20, 2022
In his tweet comments section, Greeks lashed out and many left biting comments and photo-shopped pictures*
Δηλαδή ομολογείτε ότι όλες σας οι δυνάμεις είναι αστυνομικοί κι ένα λάστιχο, αντί πυροσβεστικές δυνάμεις και μέσα, και δεν ντρέπεστε καθόλου;
— Katerina Kanelidou (@KatKanelidou) July 20, 2022
“So it means you admit that all your forces are policemen with a garden hose, instead of firefighters and equipment, and you aren’t ashamed, at all?”
Αντί για πυροσβέστες με εξοπλισμό και ειδική εκπαίδευση, αστυνομικοί με ποτιστήρι και οπλισμό πάνω τους επιχειρούν σε φωτιά. Κι όχι μόνο δεν ντρέπεται η πολιτική ηγεσία, αλλά αναρτά τις εικόνες ως απόδειξη άριστης λειτουργίας του κράτους. pic.twitter.com/pJ1bIYI0vQ
— To_pouli_tou_Rouli (@To_pouli_tou_Ro) July 20, 2022
“Instead of firefighters with equipment and special training, police officers carrying watering cans together with their weapons operate at the fire. And not only is the political leadership not ashamed, but it posts the images as a proof for the excellent functioning of the state.”
Κι εμείς, στα νοσοκομεία, όταν δεν βγαίνουν οι βάρδιες νοσηλευτών φωνάζουμε τις καθαρίστριες.
— Psycho Dad (@oriath) July 20, 2022
“We too at the hospitals, when we’re in shortage for the nurses shifts, we call the cleaners.”
The Greek conservative government of New Democracy has been hiring thousands of policemen since 2019, enhancing the force every now and then.
When firefighters held a protest in November 2021 demanding the filling of some 4,000 positions, the minister sent them a water cannon.
Τάκη, στείλε και την αύρα. Ξέρεις, αυτήν που καταβρέχατε τους πυροσβέστες τότε που τους δέρνατε. pic.twitter.com/XCqr6cbF8Z
— P.G. Papanikolaou (@PGPapanikolaou) July 20, 2022
The hiring of some 3,000 firefighters that had been announced last year, was “cut” silently. At the same time, the number of firefighting volunteers doubled, but they do not cost anything to the Greek state and government.
It is indicative that several residents of the burning Penteli areas said that they saw policemen driving by but no firefighters. In Athnousa local authorities said that the firefighters arrived at 7 o’ clock Wednesday morning.
Indicative for the unbalanced deployment of forces against the Penteli fire is what Civil Protection Minister said later, when he thanked the “485 firefighters and 626 policemen for their hard work.”