Written by Yiannis Baboulias
Nikos Dendias (the Greek minister of Public Order) was interviewed by Alexis Papachelas on his show New Folders last night. The question still remains unanswered on why he denied a request from BBC’s Newsnight presenter Paul Mason for an interview. The well-known journalist took to twitter to comment on this:
Something that shouldn’t go unnoticed is how #Dendias admitted he has found a sympathetic ear in Samaras when it comes to funding police.
Well Mr Dendias, you gonna love my report on Newsnight tomorrow night. Please respond to our interview request
But let’s get back to the actual interview.
The show took off with a resident of Plateia Amerikis explaining why she voted for the Golden Dawn while she does not consider herself fascist. With the interview starting from this video, Dendias immediately jumped on the chance to explain why he made immigration the central issue of his policies.
“These people need to be checked and if found to be illegal either be sent back to their countries or forwarded to detention camps built for them.”
With a subtle smile on his face, Nikos Dendias announced that more than 3.000 people are now detained, and about 4.000 have been deported in the last few months. He stated that he regards safeguarding the land borders with Turkey as the first success of his ministry.
“Only 9 people have managed to cross [the borders] in October. It was more than 400 before we took action. We will do the same with sea borders. We have also started improving the situation in the center of cities. The situation in Omonoia right now, although far from perfect is much better than it was 4 months ago”. *(note: Much of this is because immigrants are now terrified to go out because of the Golden Dawn)
Dendias was very careful to make not mention of Dublin II, the despicable agreement that has turned Greece into a prison for immigrants.
Tsoukalas (SYRIZA MP in charge of public order issues) came on board and agreed with Dendias on the number of illegal immigrants (about 5-600.000)
Dendias, while talking with Tsoukalas, claimed that concentration camps like that of Amygdaleza is “the european way of dealing with the problem”. (direct translation from 17:00 min.)
At 19:47 Dendias claims that bureaucracy and SYRIZA are at fault for not using european funds to hire stuff to help with asylum seekers. An outright lie. Funds were available since SYRIZA was a 4% party. Previous governments only used those available for border patrols and to build camps, probably (and this is a personal view) because the former allowed them to hire extra staff and serve their “clientele” and the later because the camps were built by the other side of this system, construction companies like the one of Giorgos Bobolas who feed off the public coffers.
Preemptive arrests and shaming teenagers
When questioned on the issue of preemptive arrests, Dendias diverted from the question and tried to use the lack of trouble during Merkel’s visit as an example of why those arrests were justified. Teenagers were arrested that day, miles away from the demonstration, their pictures/names and addresses published without any significant charge hanging against them. Same thing didn’t happen with Panagiotaros or the Sparta bomber. Furthermore he announced the publishing of the teenagers details with pride and irony in his voice. (25:00 min.) Tried to blame SYRIZA for trouble in past demonstrations.
further reading (greek):
Mayor of Zografou condemns police for arresting teenagers and attacking assembly
Police announcement defending it’s decision to publish info and attacks SYRIZA for supporting “criminals”.
On Guardian report by Maria Margaronis
Dendias claimed the Guardian report (by Maria Margaronis) to be false and tried to get Tsoukalas to denounce it as something pushed through by specific political party. They accused SYRIZA of adopting everything that stigmatizes the country. Dendias claims that since there are no official lawsuits against the police and the detainees haven’t gone on record with their names and reports, there is no justification for the Guardian to publish the piece. Dendias also claims that if no proof of torture is found in the coroners report, he will sue the Guardian. He denies the fact that people haven’t gone on record because they are afraid of police/Golden Dawn and disputes the originality of the pictures that circulated the web after Margaronis’ piece.
Dendias, when asked if he feels in control of the police force, eluded the question and spoke with generalities about how they are underpaid etc. I commented on this on twitter
“Dendias now asked about police salaries. Thinks they’re paid too little. Still more than most people I know.”
He admitted to having found a sympathetic ear in PM Antonis Samaras when it comes to funding the police force and announced new task forces to combat “heavily-armed criminals” and terrorists.
Interview of Amerikis square resident
On new folders now, states she thinks the police intentionally allowed for crime in her area to swell. She also reports police implied she should go to the golden dawn to solve her problems.
That was an official report by the way.
– My questions on this:
Was it not the police that first abandoned Amerikis square and Agios Panteleimonas? Wasn’t that the root of the problem? If police is there to defend the people, why aren’t you doing anything about neo-nazis attacking people in public?
Dendias on his responsibilities
Dendias claims society should take responsibility and reject far right violence. When asked about the Chytirio incident again he makes no mention of Golden Dawn MPs attacking people but tries to justify why the police stood by by explaing that they didn’t have orders to arrest people (which is of course nonsense as violent attacks don’t take DA orders for the police to act on them). No mention of what happened to Manolis despite the incident making international sensation.
further reading (english):
My report on the incident for the Guardian
Laurie Penny’s report and interview with the director of the play for Vice
What I’m taking away from this is:
- Dendias has no idea what he’s doing.
- He is clearly sucking up to the police because he knows he is losing them to the Golden Dawn.
- He above all else wants to convince people that immigrants are THE problem.
Something that shouldn’t go unnoticed is how Dendias admitted he has found a sympathetic ear in Samaras when it comes to funding police, and how he acts all hard-liner when it comes to terrorism, while we still don’t what happened with the dead bomber in Sparta. (NOTE: For those outside Greece, a man died after a bomb blew up in his hands. 60 more where found in his house. His partner, walked free. Both members of the local Golden dawn.)
Notes from twitter
– For now, immigration takes central stage. Nothing on police violence and them siding with fascists against activists.
– SYRIZA MP. Tsoukalas claims that the numbers Dendias quotes mean nothing as long as Europe doesn’t help.
– Dendias mentions the guardian article and trying to get Tsoukalas to denounce it!
Dendias claims the guardian article to be false, pushed through by a certain political party.
– Dendias still talks about deportations and , essentially, demonisation of immigrants.
Dendias is asked about Chytirio. Papachelas takes the question to far left violence in universities. No answer from Den.
– Dendias always diverts away from the questions.
(DISCLAIMER: This is a summary of what was said, and not a direct transcription. You can find that in Greek on the official New Folders webpage) by Yiannis Baboulias
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