There have been more than 20,000 protests or rallies in Greece since the country agreed to the terms of its first bailout in 2010, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias revealed on Thursday.
According to figures submitted to Parliament, there were a total of 20,210 demonstrations across the country between May 8, 2010, which is when Parliament approved the first memorandum of understanding with the troika, and March 28 this year. Of these protests, 6,266 were held in Athens.
Dendias provided the data in response to a question from three SYRIZA MPs. However, he was unable to respond to their query about how often the police resorted to the use of chemicals to disperse crowds. “There are no official records for the incident number or type of crowd control used at police headquarters,” Dendias said in his statement.
The minister insisted that the police’s use of tear gas was not “abusive” and that it was in line with the Greek Constitution and the code of ethics for policemen.
He added that the Greek police force uses CS gas made in the USA, Israel, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Germany, Brazil and the Czech Republic. Dendias said that the amount of CS (2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile) used in the tear gas was minimal.
The minister also revealed that during the anti-austerity protests over the last four years only one policeman has been disciplined for making excessive use of tear gas.