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Greece: Police violence against migrant woman triggers reforms

Greece has been embroiled in a row over abusive migrant detentions and the lip service paid so far by the new socialist government to honor its pledges to reform the police. Two days before the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, an incident of police brutality against a migrant mother and her child in Athens caused an uproar that have triggered new government promises for police reform.

Photojournalist and blogger Craig Wherlock translated from reports in Greek media:

a 35 year old Armenian woman was beaten, handcuffed and detained in front of her two year old child [..] in Athens last Thursday [..] When she went to get the pushchair carrying her child they grabbed her, pushed her to the ground, kicking and punching her in the belief she was resisting arrest. The hapless mother was handcuffed and taken with her child to the Aghios Panteleimonos police department where she was kept for four hours.

The incident was promptly reported on Twitter by Cyberela:

«Νταήδες» αστυνομικοί ξυλοκόπησαν 35χρονη http://www.enet.gr/104685 (via @enetgr) @chrisochoidis Τί θα κάνετε γι αυτό;

Police “bullies” assaulted a 35 year old woman http://www.enet.gr/104685 (via @enetgr) @chrisochoidis what are you going to do about it?

Citizen Protection minister Michalis Chrisochoidis was harangued by demands to take action. On Twitter vivian_e said:

@chrisochoides Υπουργέ, δεν πάει άλλο η κατάσταση με την αστυνομική βία. Πρέπει να υπάρξουν παραδειγματικές τιμωρίες. Άμεσα

@chrisochoides Minister, it's gone far enough with police violence. Exemplary punishments must be handed out. Immediately

Half an hour after the first tweet, the minister's office responded directly to citizens for the first time through Twitter:

@Cyberela @diakoptis @teacherdude @asteris @magicasland μετά την καταγγελία της 36χρονης η ΓΑΔΑ διέταξε Ένορκη Διοικητική Εξέταση

@Cyberela @diakoptis @teacherdude @asteris @magicasland after charges brought by the 36 year old, police HQ ordered a juried investigation to be made

… to which vivian_e responded

@chrisochoidis Θα σας ρωτάμε κάθε μέρα για την πορεία της ΕΔΕ.

@chrisochoidis we'll be querying you every day on the progress of the investigation

Later, the minister announced that the officers responsible for the incident would be permanently dismissed, and initiated a public consultation for the creation of a special office to monitor incidents of police abuse.

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