By Alex King, The Guardian, August 2019
Greek police have arrested about 100 people in dawn raids on squats in Athens mostly occupied by refugees and migrants.
Dozens of officers cleared four sites in the Exarcheia neighbourhood of the capital. Helicopters flew overhead and the neighbourhood was flooded by police during the operation.
The conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took office as prime minister last month, had vowed to bring “order” to the district, promising regular police patrols.
The neighbourhood has frequently been the site of clashes between anarchists and the police, particularly since 2008, when a teenager was shot dead by an officer, causing days of rioting.
Kostas Bakoyannis, the new mayor of Athens, who was sworn in on Sunday, has pledged to make security his highest priority. Bakoyannis has accused the previous leftwing government of having taken a soft line against vandalism by some anarchist groups.
Ringed by university buildings, Exarcheia has long been a base for Greece’s intellectual left, anti-authoritarian and anarchist movements. Riot police stand on constant guard on the perimeter, and there are regular skirmishes between police, who use teargas, and youths, whose most common weapon are molotov cocktails, eager to vent their frustration at Greece’s economic and political situation.
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