THE Greek Army’s 71st airborne brigade, ‘Pontos’, carried out a large ‘civil war’ exercise code-named ‘Kallimachos’ on February 3rd and 4th at a specially designed military camp in northern Greece.
The exercise involved simulated ‘battles with civil demonstrators’.
A video made available shows soldiers in riot police gear using dogs in battles against ‘demonstrators’ carrying banners.
In another scene, tanks and military vehicles are involved in the simulated action.
Reports state that the exercise was attended by local authorities and several representatives of neighbouring states such as Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus.
A few days after the Greek Army exercise, just 30 miles away from the Kilkis military camp, the police commissioner of the Serres district, Brigadier Dimitrios Tsotas, issued an edict prohibiting protesting farmers demonstrating with their tractors on the national road for three days, ‘for reasons of public order’.
The case was discussed in the Greek Vouli (parliament) on Wednesday with opposition deputies accusing the government of dictatorial practices, and demanding the resignation of Public Order Minister Christos Papoutsis.
In Keratea, a small town 20 miles south of Athens, riot police carried out house raids last Tuesday night which led to widespread protests by residents.
The local Mayor, Kostas Levantis, said that the town ‘has been occupied by a huge police force’. For the last three months the people of Keratea have been protesting daily against the construction of an open rubbish dump quite close to their town.
Police stated that the raids to five Keratea houses were carried out because they suspected that petrol bombs were hidden there.
Nothing was found, but the raids led to an elderly woman suffering a heart attack and local residents clashing violently with police.
Greek TV showed riot police hitting and throwing elderly people to the ground, as well as a plain cloths policeman pointing his gun at a group of people.
Over 5,000 Keratea residents, that is almost the whole town, took part in a demonstration against the police, and shouted slogans against the construction of the open rubbish dump.
Riot police made liberal use of tear gas and smoke bombs against the demonstration while petrol bombs were thrown against them.
Five people were arrested; three were charged with criminal offenses. Nikos Vlamakis, one of the defence lawyers, stated that the charges ‘were prefabricated by the police’.