Proposed money laundering register concerning for freedom of civil society

Association

A new central database is to be created by anti-money laundering authorities in Greece, according to media reports in November 2018. The initiative is led by the Supreme Court deputy prosecutor with the aim to create a national register to enable authorities to supervise all operations of NGOs, particularly regarding funding. This is a concerning development, given the growing hostile environment towards NGOs in Greece. NGOs working on behalf of refugees and migrants in Greece have been particularly targeted and prosecuted for money laundering, based on accusations which misrepresent their humanitarian fundraising activities. The CIVICUS Monitor reported in October 2018 of humanitarian volunteers arrested and charged with a number of offences including money laundering for helping migrants, with some facing up to 20 years imprisonment.

Peaceful assembly 

On 6th and 7th December 2018 more than 100 people were detained in Athens and in Thessaloniki according to the authorities, following violent protests started by some of the protesters mobilised to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager in 2008. Some of the protesters reported to be anarchists clashed with police in Athens and Thessaloniki. In the Athens' district of Exarchia where the teenager was killed, protesters set up a burning barricade and threw firebombs and rocks at anti-riot police. In Athens and Thesaloniki other protesters barricading themselves inside the universities in Athens Polytechnic and from Aristotle University Department of Philosophy reportedly attacked anti-riot police officers. Police used tear gas, stun grenades and a water cannon to control the riots. 

On 14th December hundreds of people demonstrated in Thessaloniki against government efforts to end a decades-long dispute with neighbouring Macedonia over its name. Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters who challenged the police. 

In early January 2019, around 40 refugees housed in tents in the overcrowded Diavata camp protested their living conditions as temperatures dropped below freezing. The protesters burned tires and blocked a road outside the camp. Two people were injured in a fight that broke out after a truck driver attempted to break through the barricade. According to reports, four people were detained.

Expression

On 17th December 2018, a makeshift explosive device exploded near the headquarters of Greece’s SKAI TV and Kathimerini newspaper. The bomb went off at 2:37 a.m. local time following warning calls to two media companies. The powerful explosion caused extensive damages to the building where the media office was located but it caused no injuries. Greece’s government, which has previously repeatedly criticised the broadcaster for being too critical of the government, strongly condemned the bombing. 

In a statement Skai claimed that the authorities did not respond adequately to previous "repeated complaints about threats"  and made accusations that “government officials and propaganda mechanisms have made a target out of our station" by using "inflammatory statements" against the media. 

The Greek urban guerrilla group ”Group of People’s Fighters” (O.L.A.) reportedly claimed responsibility for the explosion, accusing the media of ”promoting a capitalist agenda in the country.” The group also claimed that the bomb was placed so as to minimise risk of injury to people.