Operation Nemesis: Danger of state repression against protests in Greece

Following the “no” vote in Greece’s referendum on European Union (EU) austerity Sunday, the political situation within the country remains extremely tense. Press reports have emerged concerning a plan drawn up prior to the vote, code-named "Operation Nemesis," to deploy the army alongside riot police to crush social protest.

The EU's response to the vote is to threaten to cut off credit to Greece’s government and banks and force a Greek exit from the euro. This would result in a collapse of the country’s trade, including vital imports of fuel, food and medicine. While Syriza continues to try to negotiate a deal with the EU for financial aid in exchange for the imposition of new austerity measures, elements within the goverment and the state are preparing the option of mass repression.

"Operation Nemesis," named after the goddess of divine retribution and developed under the direction of Syriza’s Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis, is a plan to deploy riot police and army units to secure key buildings and infrastructure against protests. If implemented, it would mark the first time the army was deployed against the Greek people since the CIA-backed colonels' junta of 1967-1974.

Italy’s La Repubblica reported that the Interior Ministry has already sent 2,000 policemen into the streets to prepare a clampdown. The police are preparing to guard “ministries, embassies, and sensitive targets such as power plants and telecommunications," the newspaper states. It continues: "There are also plans to set up security perimeters around 480 banks and 600 supermarkets in Attica [the Athens metropolitan area], which—according to a report by Greece’s intelligence services—are likely to be attacked in the event of social unrest after the referendum.”

This plan is, however, only preliminary to a far broader deployment of the army and security forces against the population, La Repubblica reported.

“Voutsis’ secret files also include a plan B that everyone hopes will not have to be implemented, code-named Operation Nemesis. These are the emergency measures to be taken if Greece—as no one wants—were to fall into a period of protracted political instability after the referendum,” it wrote.

It is clear that the content of "Operation Nemesis" is an attempt to impose a military dictatorship in Greece. The operation, the Times of London confirmed, “makes provision for troops to patrol large cities if there is widespread and prolonged public disorder.”

La Repubblica noted that the initial police operation, already launched by Voutsis, is a “copy-and-paste version of the operation implemented in 2008 as Athens protested the death of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, killed by a policeman in Exarchia. In that era, Syriza, in a certain historical retaliation, was on the side opposite the anti-riot forces.”