The union representing Greece’s police force has taken the unprecedented step of stating that it seeks to arrest the top officials of the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for imposing excessively harsh austerity measures upon the Greek people.
In exchange for huge bailouts to keep Greece afloat, the EU and IMF have demanded severe spending reductions, job cuts and higher taxes.
According to Reuters, a letter written by the Federation of Greek Police, the country’s biggest police union, stated: Since you [EU/IMF] are continuing this destructive policy, we warn you that you cannot make us fight against our brothers. We refuse to stand against our parents, our brothers, our children or any citizen who protests and demands a change of policy.”
The letter added: We warn you that as legal representatives of Greek policemen, we will issue arrest warrants for a series of legal violations ... such as blackmail, covertly abolishing or eroding democracy and national sovereignty.
The union specifically singled out Poul Thomsen, the IMF’s principal official in Greece, for arrest.
However, Reuters noted, that the threat has no legal credibility since only a judge can authorize such arrest warrants. Still, the letter may have great symbolic value since Greek police suffer the brunt of the public’s anger and abuse during strikes against austerity, while concurrently suffering from the government cuts themselves.
Meanwhile, a huge protest assembled in Athens on Friday to express the public’s continuing anger over new austerity measures, including a 22 percent slashing of the minimum wage. Demonstrators threw rocks and petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas. The protest followed the start of a 48-hour strike called by various trade unions.
The Athens parliament will vote on the latest austerity package on Sunday.
Mark Lowen, a BBC correspondent in Athens, wrote: “The frustration here in Athens is palpable. Parliamentary approval [of austerity] should be the least of the problems. The coalition controls a large majority of MPs so even a backbench rebellion shouldn't sink the package.”
Lowen added: “The price of failure is too high for Greece's government, which fears bankruptcy and a potential exit from the euro. And euro zone leaders are unlikely to cut Greece loose either. Germany's Angela Merkel has said if the euro fails, Europe fails.’”
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.