Dora Bakoyiannis, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, accused some of the leading members of Syriza that they had supported 17N in its trial. Ms. Bakoyianni has every right to be sensitive over the issue of terrorism as her husband, Pavlos Bakoyiannis, was murdered by 17N. She has no right to forget the past of her party though, along with the fact that many people, including Amnesty International, testified in favour of the supposed members of 17N.
Derived from the old ERE, New Democracy was found in 1974 after the end of the military dictatorship. In 1980, the notorious MAT (the Greek riot police) attacked and kill 2 protesters who were marching in memory of “Polytechneio”, the 1973 student rebellion against the Junta. A young worker, Kanneopoulou, and a Cypriot student, Koumis, were murdered by the police while they were unarmed. Rallis, then PM and ND leader, said that “even angels hold swords against demons”. In the 1980’s when the youth in Universities was still underrepresented, ND created Rangers, a group of well built ND youngsters, who used to attack their enemies in Universities and schools.
In 1991, under the ND administration again, while Greece was shocked by a strong educational movement against the government, the Rangers attacked an occupied school in Patra and killed the teacher Temponeras. The killer, Kalabokas, was a prominent member of ND and elected in the local council. The next day, students were marching in Athens to protest. MAT attack the protest and threw tear gas in K. Marousis, a 7-story building. 16 people were inside but only 12 made it. 4 were dead due to asphyxiation. The police closed the case stating that “the building was burnt by anarchists”, although there were plenty of eye-witnesses stating it was the police. Kalabokas was sentenced to jail but released seven years later.
In 2006-2007 the government of Kostas Karamanlis used excessive forms of violence to crack down on students protesting against reform. Every Thursday the police tried to attack protesters marching in the centre of Athens. It was then that the “memonomeno peristatiko” (isolated incident) became part of the public discourse to describe the common and murderous attacks of the police. Ms. Bakoyianni, who was a Minister at that time, did not see that violence nor ever condemn it. Also, it is very interesting to remember that according to a report written by the State Security (Kratiki Asfaleia), which leaked to “Nea” in 2004, members of Golden Dawn were illegally bearing arms as they were bodyguards of ND MP’s. It is also interesting to remember that Mr. Voridis, who recently joined ND, was the “chosen one” of the ex-dictator Papadopoulos, as the secretary to lead “Epen” in 1983.
Mr. Voridis is notorious from his picture showing him along with other ultra-nationalists chasing people in the streets of Athens while he is holding an axe. Mr. Voridis also has another interesting story to say, as he was a defence witness for Mr. Anastasoulis. Mr. Anastasoulis was a member of the far-right terrorist organization MAVI, which had killed two army officers and wounded others by attacking an army camp in Albania, on the 10th of April of 1994. A year later, Mr. Anastasoulis and 6 other people were arrested by the Greek police near the Greek-Albanian borders with guns, grenades, knifes and a lot of other armoury. Soon, more armouries were founded hidden in Athens by the same terrorist organization. Mr. Voridis’ role was to testify as a defense witness for Mr. Anastasoulis, claiming that the morning after the attack, Mr. Anastasoulis was at the founding conference of “Patriotiko Metopo” (Patriotic Front). The fact that Mr. Voridis, who is now in ND, had political connections with far right terrorists who were caught literally with guns in their hands does not bother Ms. Bakoyianni.
But let’s go back to the initial accusation of Ms. Bakoyianni. Is it true that leaders of Syriza were defendant witness for 17N? Yes and no. What Ms. Bakoyianni is saying with the words she chose to use, is that members of Syriza defended the actions of 17N. Is that true? The ideology of the Left has clearly set out that individual terrorism, what 17N did, is not a way to change the world, but rather a way to terrorize people and make them sacrifice their freedom for security. Members of Syriza did testify in favour of the innocence of people being accused as members of 17N. Not only them though. Members of PASOK, today’s Dimar, trade unionists, academics from Greece and other countries along with Members of the European Parliament also testified in favour of the innocence of people held by the police as members of 17N. Also, Amnesty International declared that the crimes were political, a stance that judges did not agree with.
Some of the accused were found innocent, like Giannis Serifis, and some of them were found guilty like Iraklis Kostaris. However, none of them defended the actions of 17N, and this is crucial. On the contrary, Ms. Bakoyianni has been mild in her criticism of Golden Dawn, and while in power the Karamanlis administration never said anything about police violence. To summarize, the question should be: since when does being a defendant witness mean that you agree with the supposed crime? Perhaps since picking and choosing which violence you condemn makes you a supposed enemy of violence.
(Source: Ta Nea, Avgi, Amnesty International, Ios, Palo, tvxs)