Plainclothes justice

The majority of foreign journalists with whom I have worked with here in Greece found it very hard, if impossible, to believe the role (if not the existence itself) of plainclothes policemen during various demonstrations in Greece. When I’d first mention their existence they would think I’m some kind of hardline leftist who sees parastatal ghosts around him all the time. At times I would be in a position to show them one of the photos that have been circulated in Greek websites and blogs, but still, it wasn’t that impressive. So here’s a video from yesterday’s demonstration which commemorated the 3rd year from the assassination of 15 years old Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police man 2010. [Update: Thanks to my friend M.B. who pointed out to me that the video was from the demonstration of the 15/12/2010 general strike – I have hastily embedded the video and mistook it as a yesterday’s incident because of its Youtube upload date. The point of the post remains the same. Apologies.]

In the video several plainclothes policemen hang around side by side with riot police. At some point a bunch of hooded plainclothes policemen approach a teenager and proceed in his arrest. The teenager says “I was at my university school”. Here’s the incident from a second mobile phone recording.

There have been many occasions where protesters have accused plainclothes policemen of causing the typically Greek (and radically vain) “molotov cocktail” violence in order to justify tons of tear gas spraying by riot police which have repeatedly dispersed powerful and peaceful demonstrations in the past.

I don’t care if this kid has actually done something wrong – I just don’t like to live in a country (remember that “cradle of democracy” cliche?) where plainclothes policemen simply have the power to arrest people in this way.

Not in my name, “gentlemen”.

PS: I wonder what the Minister for Citizen Protection (sic) has to say about this video.

Update: Read also “Plainclothes justice 2.o

2 responses to “Plainclothes justice

  1. Greek democracy sucks

    Dear friend,
    The unorthodox, if not ridiculus, police tactics when it comes to “riot” control is a well known truth shared by most Athenians. I need not remind you that a colleague of yours recently lost his hearing when a law enforcement idiot, threw a stun grenade right against him (
    However, police brutality is one issue.
    The other issue is the violence used every now and then by a very specific group of fellow citizens against the rest of us (society). The front paper of yesterday’s Kathimerini newspaper is a good example of what I have in mind. I add to this my testimony of my recent walk yesterday morning. I suppose that you cannot, nor anyone else with a working brain, find a good reason for excusing the irritating idiots who broke the traffic lights all the way from Syntagma square down to Panepistimio. All of them broken! Gone! kaput! This is a good example of idiotic violence against the society itself.
    The thing is that I do not sympathize with that kind of violence as I do not with any other kind. If this mob believes that demolishing Athens is the means that will justify the cause, i.e. revolution (I’m hardly keeping myself from bursting into laughter) then this mob is even more delirious and dangerous from those who enjoy throwing grenades to fellow citizens and as such abuse their power.
    With regard to the claim of plainclothes policemen causing the typically Greek “molotov cocktail” I need to stress out that although the claim per se is not false, it is certainly exaggerated. I can see agent provocateur activity by the police as well as police brutality all around me, but cannot accept for example that the police instigated or acted towards the death of our three fellow citizens and employees of Marfin Bank back in 2010 (for whom by the way there is no remembrance day). To claim the contrary in the process of a serious public dialogue would require substantial evidence, not circumstantial.
    In any case, our reality – and I’m talking as somenone who is lucky enough to have a job to go to every morning (self-employed, downtown Athens) is not dominated by cowboys & indians as one might easily think- it is dominated by idiots in both sides (there are plenty of other sides, so I ‘d love to keep writing about politicians, cartels, syndicates, strikes and how the exercise of a right in this country always encompasses the word abuse in it etc., but I’d need a lot of time to this end).
    In this respect I would add to your post that I just don’t like to live in a country where my fellow citizens preserve no value for the rest of the society, where everyday public life is dominated by havock, destruction to public and private property and danger to human life.

    Yours Sincerely


    • Dear friend,

      Basically we don’t disagree on anything. I don’t endorse violence in any way either (especially the idiotic breaking of traffic lights which would shorten our path to revolution). The point of my post was to show the agent provocateur activity and the illegal arrest of plainclothes policemen. I don’t think that the burning of Marfin Bank in May 2010 was their work.

      -Yes, rioters’ tactics have proved to be pointless in regard to their ideological goals.

      -Yes, riot police’s tactics have also proved pointless (and suspiciously worthless at times)

      -A big part of Greek society (and the world community that is watching) have repeatedly asked “Can’t several thousands riot policemen arrest a bunch of rioters?”

      I would also like to live in a country where my fellow citizens preserve a value for the rest of the society. Probably our only difference is that, for me, these “fellow citizens” don’t only refer to rioters but also to politicians. As long as politicians don’t preserve that value, these phenomena will continue repeating themselves.

      Yours sincerely


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s