You are a pretty girl, not a Pakistani

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You are a pretty girl, not a Pakistani

Thusrday afternoon the police stopped two buses in Klafthmonos square of Athens and picked up three immigrants. They asked for their papers as the recent policy of Nikos Dendias, codenamed Xenios Zeus*, (interior minister) requires.

Despite the fact that the immigrants had all the required documents, the policemen weren't satisfied. They kept being hostile and demanded they speak proper Greek. The three were puzzled and tried to explain that they had all the required papers. The tensions rose and one policeman verbally abused them. A young woman who was witnessing reacted.

The police response to the 24 year old raises many questions and causes worry. Initially they asked her to.. not intervene and consequently a policeman pushed her. She was having none of that. Promptly they handcuffed her and dragged her to the police station of Acropolis. As they were taking her to the station they kept pushing her, even though she offered no resistance and when showed them that she was hurt by the handcuffs they responded by pulling her from the cuffs with even more force. Before setting off to the station the policemen said apologise and will let you go. "You are a pretty girl, you are not a Pakistani" they remarked tellingly. She wouldn't cower and refused to accept the racist separation, something that apparently annoyed them.

Hence the extravagant charges pressed against her for bodily harm (apparently a policeman was scratched), release of prisoners (because somehow with her stance she made it easy for the immigrants to do a runner) and resistance to authority (since she wouldn't apologise for something she wasn't to blame).

The 24 year old spent the whole night in a cell for no apparent reason. When he was informed about the events, the Syriza MP Thodoris Dritsas intervened but his efforts made no difference. Decisions had already been made. Friday afternoon the woman was sent to the prosecutor's office through a process designed to stop crimes as they happen, and the trial was adjourned until 2 October since no witnesses showed up. It is worth mentioning that the witnesses are the policemen. She was released but this doesn't alter the fact that the Greek police operate arbitrarily.

Fighting crime doesn't seem to be among their priorities. In contrast, they prefer to "punish" people who dare to defend their fellow people and waste valuable time and effort of the Greek judicial system.

From the Greek newspaper Αυγή (Avgi): http://www.avgi.gr/ArticleActionshow.action?articleID=715362

Translated by Petros Diveris who aims to help non Greek speaking friends to see what's happening.

Note: Xenios Zeus was one of the names used for Zeus. This is the one reserved for hospitable Zeus, the one whose guest you are when in a foreign country. The use of the term by the Greek police as codename for an operation against immigrants is as poetic and clever as calling a concentration camp "Buchenwald".

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