Tsipras-Mitsotakis Clash in Greek Parliament over Lawlessness

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and New Democracy Chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis exchanged strong words on Friday, after the latter accused the government of being responsible for the escalating lawlessness in Greek cities, and universities, in particular.

The main opposition leader said that the former justice minister’s, Nikos Paraskevopoulos, law for prison decongestion, allowed for the release of dangerous criminals, enabling them to commit crimes again. Mitsotakis also said that Paraskevopoulos is responsible for shutting down maximum security prisons, making Greece the only EU country without a prison for dangerous criminals.

At the same time, the ND leader said, the law on the university asylum by Education Minister Costas Gavroglou, has turned several universities into dens of crime and delinquent behavior such as drug trafficking, contraband selling, violent beatings of students and professors, and vandalism.

Mitsotakis also said that central Athens and Exarchia in particular, are at the mercy of anarchist groups that assault people, destroy public and private property, and vandalize at will, without police interference, because the government “doesn’t let them do their job”.

Mitsotakis further said that it is the climate of hate that SYRIZA and Tsipras created in order to come to power, that could be blamed for acts such as the parcel bomb that was sent to former prime minister Loukas Papademos. As for the arrest of the 29-year-old responsible for the Papademos murder attempt, the ND chief said it was the work of the police, not the government.

The prime minister accused the conservative party leader of using the “far-right rhetoric of fear”, while at the same time saying that Mitsotakis often congratulates the Hellenic Police for arresting criminals and dismantling criminal organizations.

Tsipras also said that the streets of Athens and other Greek cities are safe and argued that tourists in Athens walk around safe, and can go wherever they please without fear. He also said that there has been a decrease in thefts and burglaries, during the current administration and praised the Greek police for doing a great job.