Arrests in Nea Smyrni

Nea Smyrni

Citizens clashed with police forces Sunday in the Athens suburb of Nea Smyrni.

In an announcement, police say that a motorcycle patrol went to suburb Nea Smyrni’s main square just before 3 p.m. Sunday to investigate “multiple reports” of violations of lockdown measures and that they were set upon by a group of 30 people who injured two police officers. Police reinforcement detained 11 from among the group, police say.

“A relevant case is being prepared by the Attica Security Directorate.”

Videos uploaded to social media show a different picture: peaceful citizens who were talking to police, suddenly being attacked by policemen with batons.

A rally protesting police violence took place later Sunday at the main Nea Smyrni Square, with over 500 reported as taking part. Police forces that showed up at around 7 p.m. used chemicals to disperse the crowd.

Following the clash, the police published the above statement and said the following in the last paragraph: “concerning videos uploaded in various web pages showing policemen clashing with citizens, an Administrative Investigation has been ordered.”

The socialist Movement for Change denounced the “shocking” scenes of police violence.

“It didn’t just happen, it is a choice by the government and, personally, by [Prime Minister Kyriakos] Mitsotakis. The more the people turn their backs on them, the more they will resort to repression,” said party spokesman Pavlos Christidis.

According to the latest published opinion polls, the ruling center-right New Democracy is ahead by 13-17 percentage points over the left-wing main opposition SYRIZA Party, with the Movement for Change well back in third place.

Also, the “Open Assembly of Nea Smyrni residents” denounced an “orgy of repression” in an upload on far-left website Athens Indymedia.