Sunday, March 15, 2009

Athens calls in Scotland Yard to deal with recent attacks

The Greek government has invited British anti - terrorist experts to help with investigations into the recent spate of attacks throughout the country. According to the Greek newspaper, Kathimerini on Sunday, Sir Ian Blair, ex - head of Scotland Yard is due to arrive in the Greek capital today in order to assist in the re-organisation of the Athens's anti-terrorist unit which has so far failed to make headway in the series of bomb and gun attacks that have occured since the massive unrest in December that followed the police shooting of 15 year old Alexis Grigoropoulos.

In recent months Greece has seen a resurgence of terrorist attacks on police, banks and government targets. The recent bombing of Citibank in Athens and the destruction of nine carriage belonging to the Athens subway system in an arson attack have added to a sense of public insecurity which has damaged the ruling New Democracy party's standing in the opinion polls in what is shaping up to be a pre-election period.

So far they have been no arrests connected with any of the dozens of attacks that have taken place since December.

In addition the rampage on Friday by approximately 40 youths through the centre of Athens's upscale Kolonaki shopping district which resulted in damage to luxury cars, banks and shops took place under the noses of hundreds of riot police on duty in the vacinity. The incident which was widely reported on Greek TV has added to the widely held impression that the police has lost control of the security situation.

Greece's anti - terrorism unit was itself at the centre of more controversy when a list of 82 possible terrorist targets was leaked to the press. The publication of the list which included journalists, politicians and judges led to the suspension of four of the unit's six section chiefs earlier this week.

Blair's arrival in Athens marks the second time British police have worked with their Greek anti - terrorist counterparts. In 2000 members of Scotland Yard were invited to help with the investigation into the murder of British military attaché, Stephen Saunders who had been assasinated by the revolutionary group, 17th November.

Originally on Now Public.

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