The new, umpteenth attack at Pasok party headquarters, at a moment when the street was full of people no less, highlights clearly the problem of lawlessness and insecurity prevailing in certain areas of central Athens and elsewhere. It is obviously an indication of the incompetence of police, but also of the political leadership, to protect the offices of a party that has constantly been a target of criminal or terrorist groups.
This is the second time in a few months that this party’s headquarters have been the target of an attack with guns. The offices border on the Exarheia neighbourhood, and have long been a preferred target of attacks, with the police essentially not reacting. Over the last two years, there have been nearly 60 attacks at this spot, with no arrests whatsoever.
It should be noted that despite the protests of party officials to the competent minister and police brass, the problem not only persists but is growing. The prime minister may have boasted a few days ago in parliament that there is no security problem in the country and that the crime rate has dropped, but reality belies him every day.
Despite government statements and assurances, it is clear that in the broader Exarheia area, police do not want to, or cannot, or are not allowed to neutralise the pockets of lawlessness and delinquency that thrive there. This occurs under the pretext of political pluralism or of freedom of expression. Even when it has by far surpassed acceptable bounds, the political leadership of the ministry avoids any type of police operation, but instead looks on as an observer when confronted with the show of force of mindless, supposed anti-authority groups.
The result is that wars with stones evolve into close range battles with Molotov cocktails, and finally end up with Kalashnikov rifles. This is yet another example of the tolerance of so-called low-level delinquency and violence evolving today into organised criminal or terrorist gangs.
The increase of these attacks is not is not insignificant, as the prime minister would have it. They constitute crystal clear warning signs, given the history, that they can develop into dangerous hotbeds of insecurity and generalised lawlessness. We are still a country in crisis, with a segment of society that is vulnerable and susceptible to all manner of conspiracy theories, which favour the targeting of individuals and institutions.
Downplaying or indifference to attacks such as the one yesterday is neither excusable nor allowable. Everyone, and above all the government, must have zero tolerance for violence and lawlessness, if we wish to remain a secure and open country.