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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-16

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Relentless fight against terrorism

  • [01] Relentless fight against terrorism

    'We are uncompromising and relentless in the fight against terrorism,' prime minister Costas Karamanlis stressed, prompted by the attack against the US embassy in Athens. The investigations into the case are continuing. Main opposition PASOK, via Petros Efthymiou, criticised public order ministry Vyron Polydoras' handling regarding the Counter-terrorism service.

    The Counter-terrorism service's investigation into Friday's early-morning rocket attack at the US embassy in Athens, which caused minor material damage but no injuries, were continuing at an intense pace, with the close cooperation of US FBI officials currently in Athens. The Greek Police (ELAS) has printed out and was handing out flyers door-to-door and to passers-by on Tuesday in the streets surrounding the US embassy as well as to employees working in the embassy environs, calling on all citizens to come forward with any information they might have on the case.

    "The fight against terrorism requires seriousness and a sense of responsibility, and above all unity and rallying together," the prime minister stressed during an official visit to Zagreb. Referring to the embassy attack, Karamanlis added that "we are uncompromising and relentless in this fight, just as every democratically aware citizen".

    In Athens, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros confirmed, in reply to press questions, that the investigations were being conducted by the Greek law enforcement authorities, who were in charge of the investigation, and were also collaborating with foreign agencies, as they have done in the past. He added that similar, isolated incidents, cannot be ruled out.

    To a question on the level of cooperation between the Greek law enforcement authorities and the US agencies, he replied that "wherever there is cooperation, it is very good".

    He also pointed out that "it is the obligation of the Greek State to do all that it can to offer protection measures to foreign diplomatic missions".

    Regarding the use of possible clues recorded by cameras monitoring traffic flow, which is currently blocked by a standing ruling by the independent Authority for the Protection of Personal Data prohibiting the use of such data for other purposes, Antonaros said a decision by the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, was still pending, after an application filed by the government.

    PASOK: Criticism of Polydoras' handling

    Main opposition PASOK spokesman Petros Efthymou said that "only for the government of ND can there be confusion between safeguarding the fundamental democratic and constitutional freedoms and the country's security".

    Efthymmiou said that under the existing institutional framework, as ensured by the Greek Constitution, the international treaties and legislation, it is possible to fully safeguard the fundamental rights and democratic and individual freedoms while at the same time, in the event of a criminal action, there is the ability to process the clues, naturally with judicial assistance. Consequently, he added, what takes precedence is the efficiency of the state machine in the prevention, and not only the suppression, of criminal actions, including, naturally, terrorism.

    Asked whether PASOK intended to table a motion of censure against public order Vyron Polydoras in parliament, Efthymiou noted that "as we have repeatedly stated in the recent period, Mr. Polydoras is discerned by an operational and political insufficiency in the entire area of his responsibility", and cast the political blame for Polydoras' "attitude" exclusively on the prime minister.

    Asked whether PASOK was in favour of the use of the traffic surveillance cameras as it has been to date, Efthymou said: "Our position is categorical: Wherever cameras are installed for security reasons, either at public or private concerns, such as at banks for example, they must be installed with the permission of the Personal Data Protection Authority and function under the explicit guarantees that protect the individual and collective rights".

    "It is not allowable for anyone to transform our society into a 'Big Brother' society," Efthymou said, but stressed that "on criminal actions, and with judicial assistance, it is self-evident that the data be turned over by the Authority for the investigations, and with the data determined, through the judicial assistance, as necessary for the judicial investigation".

    KKE opposed to security cameras

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga expressed opposition to the operation of any surveillance camera whatsoever for security reasons.

    Replying to questions during a press conference, Papariga said that "to the dilemma on whether everyone must be monitored in order to pre-empt provocations, we prefer that there are no cameras because, either way, security problems are not solved this way".

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