Fourteen people who protested the cutting of trees in Thessaloniki on Monday morning were arrested accused of trying to prevent a crew of the Municipality from cutting trees.
Police dragged the protesters from arms and legs and pushed them violently into vehicles. an elderly man is heard shouting “Shame! Shame!”
The protesters had staged a sit-in in Ancient Agora in the center of the city where 41 the trees were standing.
According to state ERT TV, the trees (41 poplars) are classified as dangerous by the municipality of Thessaloniki and that is why it was decided to cut them down and replace them with double the number of trees, “healthier and more suitable for the area and the climate of the city.”
There had been previous civil lawsuits and the intervention of the Public Prosecutor on the matter. On Friday, the Thessaloniki Court of First Instance rejected the request for a temporary injunction regarding the freezing of the tree cutting process.
A case file was filed against the protestors for illegal violence, while among those arrested is the municipal councilor and head of the combination “Ecology – Solidarity” in the municipality of Thessaloniki and former MEP, Michalis Tremopoulos.
According to the case file, he also reportedly faces charges for resistance to police and insult..
The 14 protesters were immediately brought to the prosecutor’s office as they were “caught inflagranti”
According to information, the mayor of Thessaloniki, Konstantinos Zervas, in a communication he had with high-ranking officials of Greek Police expressed his dissatisfaction about the police operation, media report.
Journalist Dimitra Fotiadou who also posted the pictures commented that “We have a gross display of authoritarianism at all levels.