War of words over law and order breaks out 

War of words over law and order breaks out 

Athens, August 10, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Zacharias Petrou

Greece’s Syriza-ANEL coalition government continued its war of words with main opposition New Democracy over issues of law enforcement on Tuesday.

The conservative party leader, Kyriacos Mitsotakis (photo) issued a strong worded announcement stressing that “Greek society demands safety and perspective; something Mr. Tsipras, Syriza and its reborn elements cannot secure”.

Mitsotakis pointed out that his party has many times flagged the crucial and urgent need for safety, security, citizen protection and public order.

”I personally have repeatedly called Mr. Tsipras […] to deal with this serious issue with the necessary accountability and effectiveness” the ND party leader said, adding that the ruling party is “winking” at self-styled anarchists and sit-in activists allowing a chain of lawlessness, violence and vandalism to grow.

The announcement followed an arson attack early Monday at the Petraki Monastery in central Athens for which Syriza came under fire by opposition parties, parts of the press and representatives of the Orthodox Church for being too soft when it comes to law and order.

Earlier, attacks had been carried out against churches, including the disruption of a religious ceremony at Thessaloniki Cathedral by a group of anarchists.

The ruling party responded to Mitsotakis’s announcement on Tuesday. “The ND chairman is following the well-known, failed recipe of “law and order””, government sources said.

The same sources added that “this strategy is the consistent policy followed by the Samaras administration; one that the Greek people have condemned”.

Syriza believes New Democracy is focusing its opposition rhetoric on safety concerns because “its policy proposals are failed” making the party and its leader “embarrassed when facing the initiatives of the government in institution reform, the economy and the welfare state”.

Government sources went as far as accusing the main opposition of spreading propaganda, adding that “the safety of citizens is guaranteed daily by the institutions of the State and Democracy”.

Analysts point out that issues of law and order are expected to be flagged by the opposition parties – especially the conservatives – due to the sympathy shown by Syriza to activists and the right to stage sit-ins, which is interpreted by some as tolerance of anti-establishment groups.

Earlier this week, the government spokeswoman was quick to shoot down any notion attacks on the Church were being tolerated. “Religious freedom, as enshrined in the Constitution, and unobstructed practice of religious worship are strictly protected by the State and violence against them cannot be tolerated”, Olga Gerovasili said.