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Greece on Fire: PM Mitsotakis calls critics “sunbed firefighters” and triggers outrage

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called “sunbed firefighters” those who criticize the government regarding a plague of wildfires in the last two weeks. The PM’s statement triggered an outrage on social media and sharp reactions by the Communist party KKE and main opposition SYRIZA.

Speaking at the start of a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mitsotakis described “all those who chose at this period to be in opposition” as “sunbed firefighters” – apparently speaking of main opposition party SYRIZA as well as the thousands of helpless citizens who see their homes, their animals, their olive groves and the beehives  being burned down and all the angry citizens who see the forests and the wildlife in fire extinction.

In his speech that was live broadcast, deeply annoyed by the criticism against the governmental management of the fires, PM Mitsotakis asked “a little more respect for all those who selflessly struggle with phenomena that exceed human capabilities.”

He spoke of “indignation about those particular comments by the sunbed firefighters who criticize from afar” adding that “these comments are a deep insult, not to the political leadership, but to the firefighters, the volunteers and all those who have not slept through the nights.”

Did PM Mitsotakis got it all wrong or did he simply tried to hide behind the everyday heroes, the firefighters?

Short after the PM’s bold and irrespectful comments, the fire spread on the keyboards and social media, with Greeks reminding him that he did absolute nothing to strengthen the Fire Brigades in the last two years, accused him of hiding behind the firefighters who have been left helpless for a long time, with the aim to protect his government from the social “fire”.

“Very interesting that those who would evacuate Mati in 20 minutes are now talking about sunbed firefighters. Meanwhile, they have not left sunbed for sunbed unscathed throughout Greece. That is, where there is no fire.”

“Greeks who can’t pay for a sunbed are the sunbed firefighters.”

Some opposition media reminded him that he visited the mountain of Penteli in the aftermath of the big fire two weeks ago and took selfies smiling with the burned forest in the background as if he was in a joyful event.

Some others recalled his many pictures at several beaches across the country ever since he came in power in July 2019.

“The tourist for a Prime Minister who hugs a sunbed all through the year called us sunbed firefighters.”

“The guy who knows better than everyone else the sunbeds spoke of sunbed firefighters,” noted @efthymis and posted a collage of the PM at Greek beaches here and there.


Admittedly, the PM and the affiliated media do not post anymore the “cheerful moments of the happy traveler for a PM”  since the social criticism especially during the coronavirus lockdowns.


Οn the occasion of the Parliament debate for the despicable draft law that will allow exploitation and activities in NATURA 2000 sites, the secretary general of Communist party KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumpas attacked the government for the failure of anti-fire measures.

“In the unique forest of Dadia, where the fire has been burning for the 8th day, in Lesvos, Ilia, Messinia, Eastern Attica and elsewhere, your government’s assurances about the so-called “readiness and adequacy of the state mechanism have turned to ashes,” Koutsoumpas said.

he added that “what we live every year is a perpetual prescribed crime that has the signature of all those who have governed, because no government has had a comprehensive fire protection plan with a focus on prevention, but also because all of you have strengthened the commercialization of land.”

He accused the ND government that out of the 17.7 million euros that the forest authorities of the whole country requested for fire protection projects, it gave only 1.7 million euros for the whole of Greece, “in other words, even lower than last year”. At the same time, he said, “excuses about extreme weather phenomena and climate crisis also increased”.


“The Prime Minister not only he did not learn any lessons from last year’s devastating fires that burned 1.3 million acres, but this year, when a huge ecological disaster is happening again, he has the audacity to point the finger,” SYRIZA in a statement.

“He has the audacity to criticize the opposition that highlights their inadequacies – when only short time ago they themselves declared they were ready against the fires.”

The statement recalled “in fact,this is the same prime minister, who suffocated the firefighters with teargas and sprayed them with water cannons, who has left them without any support with huge staff shortages, who has left them without coordination”.

SYRIZA point out that “the Prime Minister tries to throw off his responsibility for this year’s disaster”.

The statement stressed also “once again, the Mitsotakis doctrine for dealing with fires is in full swing: The fire will at some point go out by itself and then the government officials will appear to take selfies in the burned areas and hand out congratulations to the themselves.”

PS SYRIZA must certainly have in mind the abysmal minister of Civil Protection who congratulated himself for the coordination in the Mt Penteli fire where over 20,000 acres and several houses and businesses were burned down.

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  1. Why is it that every summer the government is shocked by and cannot handle the wildfires? Maybe instead of buying those missile jets from France, we should have invested in some wildfire fighting planes and preventive measures? But we need to stop being surprised by the wildfires and effects of climate change and deal with it beyond putting taxes on straws and takeaway packaging.

    • officials will continue to be ‘surprised’ by fires as long as the ‘forest protection’ laws allow development in otherwise prohibited areas if ever the forest is destroyed by ‘natural disaster’ aka fire.
      totally agree on instead of wasting billions on fighter jets and other useless expensive war toys even a small fraction of that could have been much better spent on fire prevention and firefighting.

  2. “Οn the occasion of the Parliament debate for the despicable draft law that will allow exploitation and activities in NATURA 2000 sites, the secretary general of Communist party KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumpas attacked the government for the failure of anti-fire measures.”

    The many Greek people I know all believe that most “random” wildfires are the result of state sponsored arson.

    As soon as the NATURA sites are “developed” then for sure money will be forthcoming to protect the “developments”.

    None of what is happening is “random”.