Athens.- In a move that came 24 hours after the police chief was sacked and which signals a further break from the previous government’s law and order policy, PASOK indicated it would scrap a law that imposes stiff sentences for anyone committing a crime while concealing their face.
Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis recommended to the Cabinet yesterday that the law passed by New Democracy earlier this year, which deems wearing a hood or masking one’s face as an aggravating factor in public order offenses, should be repealed.
The law came into effect a few months after large-scale rioting in central Athens followed the shooting on December 6 of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police officer.
Three people arrested last Saturday during a protest over the death of an immigrant shortly after being released from police custody became the first to be charged under the “hoodies law.”
It is expected that there will be more protests on the anniversary of Grigoropoulos’s death but Chrysochoidis said that the government would not tolerate more violence. The two policemen charged in connection with the teenager’s shooting are due to go on trial on December 15.
Chrysochoidis said that he had ordered police to stamp out violence in central Athens but accepted they went too far on Wednesday night when, during a wider operation, they arrested members of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) that were attending a book launch.
Police chief Vassilis Tsiatouras was sacked as a result. His replacement is due to be named on Monday or Tuesday. Chrysochoidis said that he would have made changes in the force anyway. “I do not like firing people but after returning to the ministry six years on from my previous tenure, I am shocked and concerned,” he said.