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In the Media

article imageOp-Ed: Anti-fascist protesters allege torture by Greek police

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By Katerina Nikolas
Oct 11, 2012 in World
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Athens - A lawyer acting for 15 anti-fascist protesters claims they were tortured by Greek police and suffered Abu Ghraib-style humiliation.
On the evening of Sept. 30., 15 anti-fascist protesters, or anarchists, were arrested by Greek police. According to the Guardian the protesters clashed with supporters of Golden Dawn, were arrested and then tortured by Greek police.
The anti-fascist protest was depicted in more detail on NYCantifa, which supports the leftist protesters. It describes the scene: "motorcycle patrol passed through downtown locations, but was soon hindered by fascist scum. Consequently, comrades trashed nearly three neo-Nazis. At approximately 9pm, while one of the fascists was still lying wounded on the ground, the demo’s last motorcycles were attacked in retaliation by several thugs of the DELTA motorcycle police unit."
The video below depicts the anti-fascist protesters riding their motorcycles through the streets of Athens on Sept. 30.
The Guardian reported the lawyer of one of those arrested said they were detained because they were “disturbing the peace with covered faces” (wearing helmets) and "with grievous bodily harm against two people."
Members of the coalition of the extreme-left SYRIZA raised the issue of the arrests and received a response from the Ministry of Public Order, stating that for SYRIZA the "notion of 'lawfulness' obviously doesn’t exist." It added SYRIZA is "against the unveiling of the names of trouble-makers and hoodlums, SYRIZA does not hesitate to align itself with everyone clashing in the streets, from one end of the political spectrum to the other."
The 15 arrested protesters were released on bail of 3,000 euros. Dimitris Katsaris, lawyer of four of those arrested, now claims his clients were tortured by the Greek police. The protesters claim the torture included being spat on, denied drinking water, kept awake all night with torches and lasers, slapped, and used as ashtrays.
The allegations of torture were dismissed by the Greek police. The Guardian reported Christos Manouras, press spokesman for the Hellenic police, said: "There was no use of force by police officers against anyone in GADA. The Greek police examine and investigate in depth every single report regarding the use of violence by police officers; if there are any responsibilities arising, the police take the imposed disciplinary action against the officers responsible. There is no doubt that the Greek police always respect human rights and don't use violence."
It is noteworthy that the only account of this alleged torture was given to the left-wing British Guardian by the protesters' lawyer. The only reports in the Greek press of the alleged torture was the reporting of the Guardian article.
Nevertheless, by the time the World Socialist Website reported on the Guardian article the alleged torture was described as "Police are using force to terrorize the population and break up any expression of popular opposition to the reactionary austerity policies of the EU." WSW claims the alleged police brutality is a government policy which encourages and covers up for fascists and tortures political opponents."
The Guardian article will predictably be regurgitated and expanded on, reported as fact, even though there is no substantive evidence yet produced to support the allegations made. Nevertheles it will used in the coming months to depict a Greek police under the thumb of Golden Dawn. It will be worth bearing in mind how those who claim to be tortured and portrayed as anti-fascists are in fact anarchists who boasted "comrades trashed nearly three neo-Nazis."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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