Setting aside their political differences, Greece’s bitterly-divided parties have condemned what was called a terrorist act, the sending of bullets in the mail to the country’s central banker and a prominent journalist.
Central Bank Governor Giorgos Provopoulos received an envelope containing two 7.65 mm bullets and a threatening note signed by a previously unknown group calling itself Popular Avengers. Yiannis Pretenderis, a talk show host at Mega TV and commentator at Ta Nea newspaper, also received a similar package.
The new terrorist group – there were at least 86 in Greece before they came on the scene – said the bullets were messages to Provopolous and Pretenderis for backing harsh austerity measures being imposed by the government on the orders of international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).
The incident came a day after Provopoulos had called on political enemies to set aside their differences and back the tough reforms, including pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions and prevent unrest he said could derail what he predicted would be a coming recovery, although he’s made the same predictions for several years now.
In both cases, the envelopes were stopped by metal detectors before reaching the offices of the recipients. They were picked up by members of the police’s anti-terrorism squad and sent to be examined by forensic experts.
In a statement Prime Minister Antonis Samaras‘ New Democracy condemned the act. “The perpetrators are acting in vain if they think they can sow fear and create a climate of insecurity,” the statement said, while ND’s Socialist partner PASOK spoke of “Mafia-style acts aimed at damaging the country.”
Leftist opposition SYRIZA, which has in the past been accused by the conservatives of tolerating terrorism, condemned the acts. A party statement said that the move has a “disorienting effect that can be exploited by those who want to instill a broad sense of insecurity across society.”
The Communist Party (KKE) and Democratic Left issued similar statements. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras only last week ejected one of his lawmakers, Petros Tatsopoulos, who said the party had sympathy for anarchists and violence, as had Samaras until this latest incident.
Last year, a group calling itself Cretan Revolution sent package containing a bullet to Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.
The new threat came only days after a convicted November 17 terrorist, who was serving six life sentences for six assassinations, walked away from a furlough, as had another convicted terrorist last summer.