ATHENS Feb 10 Greece's largest police
union has threatened to issue arrest warrants for officials from
the country's European Union and International Monetary Fund
lenders for demanding deeply unpopular austerity measures.
In a letter obtained by Reuters on Friday, the Federation of
Greek Police accused the officials of "...blackmail, covertly
abolishing or eroding democracy and national sovereignty" and
said one target of its warrants would be the IMF's top official
for Greece, Poul Thomsen.
The threat is largely symbolic since legal experts say a
judge must first authorize such warrants, but it shows the depth
of anger against foreign lenders who have demanded drastic wage
and pension cuts in exchange for funds to keep Greece afloat.
"Since you 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,"
said the union, which represents more than two-thirds of Greek
"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 letter was also addressed to the European Central Bank's
mission chief in Greece, Klaus Masuch, and the former European
Commission chief inspector for Greece, Servaas Deroose.
Policemen have borne the brunt of the anger of massed
protesters who frequently march to parliament and clash with
police in riot gear. Chants of "Cops, pigs, murderers!" are
regularly hurled at policemen or scribbled on walls.
Thousands turned out on Friday for the latest protest in
Athens, this time against new austerity measures that include a
22 percent cut in the minimum wage.
A police union official said the threat to 'refuse to stand
against' fellow Greeks was a symbolic expression of solidarity
and did not mean police would halt their efforts to stop
protests getting out of hand.
(Reporting by Lila Chotzoglou, Writing by Deepa Babington,
editing by Tim Pearce)