The 600-page report of the Greek Police Department of Internal Investigation (EDE) includes interviews, testimony and amateur videos, such as the arrest of a 30-year-old man.
“A large number of people approached us threateningly in Nea Smyrni square, we need immediate help. We ask for immediate reinforcements, we were attacked, we are few. “
“The policeman rushed at me and hit me as shown in the video. I tried to avoid the beatings, but at some point they blocked my head with a metal baton. As a citizen, I ask the police leadership to investigate the incident today, take immediate legal action and publicly condemn it. ”
Undoubtedly, the incident at Nea Smyrni Square was one of the key events in the many months of the second quarantine. He sparked a lot of controversy over the practice of the Greek Police (EL.AS.) It was he who instigated the ensuing violent riots that severely injured a DRASI police officer, leading to the police’s refusal to oversee the maintenance of the coronavirus protection measures. …
Investigation of the situation that took place in Nea Smirni Square, when, during a check for overcrowding, the DI.AS Rapid Response Police officers. beat citizens with truncheons, was carried out by order of the Office of Internal Investigations of the Greek Police (ΕΔΕ). The investigation lasted two and a half months, and its contents were published in the Greek media.
How it all started
The events began at 1.05 on Sunday afternoon, March 7th. A citizen called the police and reported that a crowd was gathering in Nea Smyrni Square. Over the next hour, four more townspeople called “100” to report the “crowd of people” in the square and in the park of Nea Smirni. The Immediate Action Center issued orders to two DI.AS teams. arrive at the square, stop violations and issue fines for violators of security measures for coronavirus. The police officer who was appointed in charge, as seen in the video recordings, beat the citizen with a truncheon during his arrest.
In an explanatory document, which he drew up in the context of ΕΔΕ, the police officer claims that he warned the coordinator of the operations center that it would be difficult to conduct checks in Nea Smyrni square, and received a response that this was an order from the head of the Directorate of Immediate Action.
“In Nea Smyrni Square, the DI.AS. groups, who arrived there on the same mission, had already faced a similar problem earlier, and we also knew that a group of anarchists had gathered in the square, as well as another group of organized Panionios fans. who are hostile towards the police, “a senior officer of the squad under investigation said during interrogation.
In addition to the police officer, who was the head of the outfit, EDE interrogated nine other rank-and-file police officers from the DI.AS group. On the other hand, the heads of the service were not summoned to testify as part of a disciplinary investigation.
Posted by Pavlo Onoyko on Sunday, March 7, 2021
The internal investigation was entrusted to Lieutenant General Lambros Papadopoulos, Deputy Chief Directorate of Police for the Capital District. The notes and testimony of police officers converge on the following record of events: DI.AS motorcyclists. arrived in Nea Smyrni shortly after 14:00. More than 1000 people gathered in the square, including small children. Initially, the checks passed without surprises or protests, although the police confirmed several fines for unnecessary movement. However, shortly before 15:00, seven people in Karillos Square (an extension of Nea Smyrni Square) reacted sharply to the check.
“We asked them to keep their distance, but they ignored us. Then we decided to ask for their ID. Some accepted this, while others shouted loudly and said, “Why are you controlling us, we are not creating a crowd, we are families here.” I encouraged them to move away from each other and put on masks. “They refused again and told us, ‘Go away, you scare the little children who are playing,” one of the police officers said in his memo.
The police also describe that during the verbal episode, a group of about 30 aggressive people opposed them by enclosing them in a circle. “When I approached, I realized that my colleagues were attacked, and broadcast on the radio:“ Center, we are attacked, we are sending reinforcements, ”the senior DIAS squad said, adding that a colleague had taken a notebook to write out a fine. “They started pushing us and trying to rip out our notebooks. “I heard a police officer ordered to ‘take up positions’ and immediately after that he ordered ‘clubs’,” another police officer testified. He claims that they were surrounded by about 100 people during this episode, and that they have not experienced any incident of similar complexity since the beginning of the pandemic.
This was the beginning of a protest rally against police violence that took place on March 9. Sorry, ended he is a massacre…
The police chief and the squad leader met 2 hours after the incident. In his multi-page explanatory note, the policeman claims that the person he immobilized and beat with a truncheon was the one who started the incident. The policeman claimed that he immobilized him with the methods taught at the police academy.
The squad leader also said that at 2:45 p.m. he asked for reinforcements from the Immediate Action Center by radio: “Several people approached us with threats. We urgently need reinforcements and they attacked us. ” However, Immediate Action (Αμεση Δράση) transcripts describe what he allegedly broadcast to the operations center as “illegible.” This word is used when the sound quality is poor.
Between 14:06 and over the next few minutes, the operations center announcer can be heard asking for DI.AS motorcyclists. do not leave the area. In addition, he tries to inform the police officers that reinforcements will soon arrive: “Other policemen are coming.”
A few minutes later, the head of the “Immediate Action” organization on the radio asked the police to continue the arrests: “The center demands to make arrests, make arrests.”
In his memo, the policeman finally reports that he was hit and that some citizens who made statements to the media cameras after the events as eyewitnesses were not present in the incident. After conducting his own investigation (!), He found two eyewitnesses – who agreed to testify in ΕΔΕ. They confirmed the version about the attack on them. “I saw about 10 police officers shouting ‘back’ to 30-40 people who ran towards them shouting ‘Duuu’ (shout of disapproval) and cursing at us,” one of the police said in a statement.
Τα είπε όλα Ο κυριος ΣπύροςΙωάννα Ιωαννα Κουσκουση
Posted by Ιωάννα Κουσκούση on Sunday, March 7, 2021 Appeals from Citizens and Eyewitnesses
Over 600 pages in the EDE file contain press releases and amateur videos of the day’s events. There are also emails that citizens have sent to the Ministry of Citizens’ Protection condemning the behavior of DI.AS employees. and calling for the immediate punishment of those responsible.
At noon on March 8, about a day after the events, the following message was sent to the email address of the police press service: “I watched with disgust the video of the unprovoked beating of a young man on Sunday by the police in Nea Smyrni. As a citizen of a democratic country, I cannot tacitly accept these painful images. I protest against the unnecessary and illegal use of physical violence. As a citizen, I ask the police leadership to investigate the incident today, take immediate legal action and publicly condemn it. ” Most of the messages were personal, with some of the protesters giving not only their names, but also their contact numbers.
The protagonists of the March 9 riots (which followed on Tuesday, see publication Chaos in Nea Smyrni: a peaceful demonstration turned into a massacre), in the amount 11 people were detained by DI.AS employees. Some of them were residents of Nea Smyrni, while others came to the square from other parts of the capital, in response to the call of the Open Assembly of Nea Smyrni, P. Faliro and Agios Dimitrios. The Grayia prosecutor’s office opened a case against them for insult, disobedience, bodily harm to police officers, etc. As part of the investigation, the security forces collected eyewitness testimony.
One of them was asked to comment on the reports of the DI.AS staff. that some of the audience tried to take their weapons out during the episode. “A citizen with a provocative position was talking next to one of the police officers. Then the policeman pushed him away. He stumbled and, when falling, tried to hold onto the left side of the policeman in the place where he had weapons and ammunition. I couldn’t figure out what his intentions were, whether he really wanted to draw his weapon or just wanted to hold on when he fell. I believe the policeman felt threatened and hit him with a truncheon.
“I backed away, but the policeman lunged at me.”
“I told the policeman that if we are in a public place where it is not forbidden to be and why they are pushing us. He answered me sharply and decisively: “Get out of here.” Then another policeman comes and says: “You are detained”, takes out a truncheon, holds it in front of my face. I panicked and backed away, but the policeman rushed and hit me, as can be seen from videos posted on the Internet. “I tried to avoid the beatings and at some point got up, but they lifted me up again and continued to beat me, and at some point they blocked my head using a police baton.”
This is an excerpt from EDE testimony by a 30-year-old young man who, in the videos in question, was beaten by police officers in Nea Smyrni Square. When asked by Lieutenant General EL.AS. whether he wants to discipline a police officer, the 30-year-old victim replied in the affirmative.
Scenes of police brutality are described in the testimony of several other detainees, as well as witnesses to the events of March 7. A 29-year-old resident of Nea Smyrni accused of participating in the attacks on the police, in his apology to the investigation, said the following: the police should have talked to people, and not start behaving aggressively. “The people talked to the policeman calmly, but they took out folding metal batons and started beating them.”
The witness says that he tried to escape, but “after ten or fifteen seconds I was caught and handcuffed.” According to him, the reason for this could be the sticker on the bag with the image of Asteras Exarcheion and that when the police saw him, they started shouting at him, saying that he was walking on demonstrations in support of Koufodinas…
Τώρα: Η αστυνομία κανει ντου στο Άλσος Νέας Σμύρνης❗
Χωρίς πρόσχημα, η αστυνομία αρχισε να βαζει πρόστιμα σε μια οικογένεια στην πλατεία Νέας Σμύρνης. Ένας νεαρός τραβάει βίντεο. Η αστυνομια φέρνει ΟΠΚΕ, τον κυνήγησε μέχρι το Άλσος και τον συνέλαβε❗#antireport # αστυνομια > pic.twitter.com/9GkVxxkFVI
– Επιμένουμε Διεκδικούμε (@Epimenoume) March 7, 2021
Police chased people in the park on motorcycles, according to witnesses, scaring children
Others deny their involvement in the events. “I was walking with my girlfriend by sending a message to 13033. I was 150 meters from my house when I heard screams. I went there, and the policeman knocked me down and handcuffed me. I didn’t resist, because I knew it was a misunderstanding, ”said one of them.
Finally, a typical case is the case of a couple who, they complain, was detained while returning from a training session in Nea Smyrni Park. In their protest statement to EDE, they also filed an objection requesting not to pay the fine imposed on them for “unreasonable movement”.
“At 12.52 pm, I texted 13033 with code 6 to go to the exercise park,” reads the introduction to the statement submitted by the 40-year-olds. At 15:00, when we were leaving the park, “the man says, a police officer approached him and demanded to follow him. When his girlfriend, who was one or two meters ahead, asked the policeman what was happening, he replied:” you detained and come with us. ”
The investigation by the Greek Police Internal Affairs Directorate on the events of March 7, 2021 was completed just a few days ago, and the next steps in the process of disciplinary control of the police are now expected to be announced.