According to complaints, journalists and photojournalists covering the march held in solidarity with Yiannis Michailidis in the center of Athens were subjected to police violence, despite identifying themselves as such to police officers.
The journalistic team The Manifold is compiling a chronology of allegations of police arbitrariness that is progressively being added to. See it here.
In a state governed by the rule of law, the actions of the police authorities must be governed by certain principles such as the principle of legality, the principle of proportionality, the prohibition of the abusive exercise of police power and the respect and protection of human rights. Therefore, although the police may use violence to enforce the law, this does not mean that every instance of the use of preventive or repressive force on their part is legal. On the contrary, the arbitrary use of violence is a dangerous phenomenon for a democracy.
The responsibilities and behaviour of the police authorities in the exercise of their duties are regulated by Presidential Decrees 141/1991 and 254/2004, among other laws. The behaviour of police officers as reported and recorded on video on 7/28/2022 (such as unprovoked violence, punching a protester in the face while handcuffed, for example) do not appear to be consistent with the standards demanded by the rule of law. The presence of the media at such demonstrations is an important way of holding the authorities responsible for their behavior towards demonstrators and the public in general (1).
According to complaints and recorded evidence, the police used tear gas on journalists and photojournalists, lowered their cameras, pushed them and beat them, apparently in an attempt to avoid their behaviour towards demonstrators being recorded. Whilst generally the use of unprovoked and unnecessary violence by police forces is not consistent with the standards of the rule of law, when police violence is directed towards journalists in the course of their duties it also becomes a matter of the freedom of the press.
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