Well, I wish I could say it was just a continuation of my previous rant about my earlier meeting with Greece’s finest Task force – but it isn’t.
This, my second and latest encounter nearly required a clean pair of underpants and a get out of Jail card after being exposed to a Police service seriously gone wrong. Actually it’s my third now I think about it, the other was when I was nearly run over outside my local Police station by my friendly Taxi driver for refusing to have him rob me… Fortunately they didn’t arrest me for being launched over his bonnet in full view of the numerous officers stood outside who all managed to see f*ck all at the time, and after discovering that he was blind drunk, being cautioned for being verbally abused by the Driver whilst waiting, and then to top it off, discovering that the Police couldn’t test him for alcohol (despite the stench and his inability to stand straight) so they later eventually allowed him to drive off and be on his way, I meanwhile – was fortunate enough to be allowed to go on my way without any charges!
Protect and serve – My arse will they…
For those of you unfamiliar with the Greek Police I shall try and explain.
A previous encounter with two officers in the centre of Athens whilst asking for directions resulted in the same degree of mistrust and suspicion as my latest encounter, however I was fortunate enough at the time to only require directions and so probably spared myself a beating for being lost.
The attitude and arrogance many of these ‘apparent’ protectors of society offer you is often hostile at best, intimidating and potentially volatile depending upon the degree of hormonal imbalance currently being exhibited at the time, multiply this by the number of other officers looking to ruin your day and you have a vague idea of what to expect.
I understand that Police don’t have an easy job in general, and the rigours of their chosen career path can have adverse social effects maybe, however having dealt with Police in Belgium/Holland, Germany and the UK, I have never once previously ever felt like my life was in danger as I do in Greece. Even when joking about Goosestepping with a German officer I never felt like I was in danger, sure he wasn’t amused but it’s a British thing, I just had to mention the War – it’s the Law…
In Greece people aren’t afraid of criminals, they’re afraid of the f*cking Police…
Having seen the recent riots at the weekend on the News whereby they were beating protesters and pepper spraying them in the Church doorway, to witnessing first hand them beating a group of drug users and homeless people in Exhareia over a year ago it never ceases to amaze me here.
On my latest expedition out I clearly happened to leave my house at just the wrong time of night, whilst deciding to casually walk down the wrong street, wearing the wrong clothes on the wrong day.
So, whilst crossing a junction on route to my friends house I noticed behind me the gentle rumble of what was clearly a number of motorbikes cruising along, nothing unfamiliar where I live however due to the location and the area I was in I did begin to wonder a little.
After some 50 feet or so I noticed that the number of bikes was clearly more than what I would have expected to be riding around this particular area at this time of night and by now it also seemed a little strange that they hadn’t passed me yet, either way regardless of this I carried on minding my own business. On closer inspection of the surrounding buildings I casually noticed a feint Blue light beginning to radiate off the walls and off the parked cars – Bollocks…
Suddenly I was very aware that things would probably get interesting in a ‘didn’t want it to get interesting’ kind of way and wondered if there were enough witnesses about for me to be safe… I also became VERY aware that the stupid voice that I’d been semi-conscious of for about a minute or so, was possibly coming from my new found friends, and may have explained the commotion that now seemed to be kicking in behind me.
As I turned I was greeted by the sight of maybe four or five officers on foot, three or four bikes riding along behind them and beyond that nothingness. Boy were they pleased to see me for some reason I thought to myself!
Two nearest the bikes were looking at me like they’d just found Saddam Hussein and the ones nearest to me nervously had their hands on their holsters and were shouting some rubbish in Greek at me.
My Greek’s getting better to be fair but it wasn’t the language barrier that would have been a problem at this point in time, right here right now it didn’t mean sh*t – they could have been speaking the Queens English and I wouldn’t have heard a damned thing. The sight of two officers about to pull their guns said all I needed to hear. STOP, don’t move, and WFT…
As I regained control of my senses, I could make out that they were addressing me and asking for some info whilst beckoning me to not make any rash movements, even if I had they wouldn’t have been visible as bowel movement is a tough one to spot in the Jeans I was wearing but I took extreme caution not to move hastily, or at all.
By now they were clearly pissed as to why I hadn’t possibly stopped earlier for their Circus, and now the fact that I hadn’t answered them either gave them suitable reason to begin to draw their weapons. I said in basic Greek I’m from the UK, and raised my hands as requested to do so by one of the officers as they all came to take note of the ‘situation’.
‘Etsi’, first thought, ‘don’t panic’ second thought, ‘no sexy female officers in uniform’ ARSE! no more thoughts…
One approached from the front as one stood to my left putting my hands behind my back loosely. He asked in Greek where I was from, I replied ‘Galatsi’, (my town) – he wasn’t suitably impressed and started rambling on in Greek, I wasn’t suitably impressed either but f*ck it, what can you do.
The other officer came over and begun asking me in broken English where I was from and what I was doing here, I replied that I was from the UK and had lived here for nearly 3 years and at that he seemed to calm a bit, slowly re-holstering his weapon. The other officer by now was motioning for the others to come over and I nervously waited for whatever it was to begin.
They seemed intent on someone anyway, I was instructed to empty all my pockets and stand with my legs apart, I slowly did this though when I went to take my phone and passport from my pocket the one behind me took caution a little too far by shouting something that I couldn’t quite make out. I hesitated and he shouted and begun making a fuss over what was in my pocket, I explained that it was just my phone and passport and he gingerly watched me place all my things on the ground.
I wasn’t carrying much fortunately, no Handguns, no Bowie knife, I’d left all my Drugs with the Dealer I don’t have and the Crocodile shoes I wasn’t wearing were safely still on the crocodile that I hadn’t killed or smuggled into the country, I did have a little bit of loose change however, not enough to put in a sock and smack someone round the head with but enough to clearly have jingle in my pocket, I also had a hand full of Plectrums, plus my lucky one – ( you never know when you might come across a Guitar, Guitarists will sympathise I’m sure), then there was my passport, mobile phone and keys. He flicked through them and questioned me about my Plectrums which I nearly laughed about, part nerves and part how do you explain ‘Plectrum’ to someone who clearly doesn’t know what they are already…? Thankfully the other officer who was watching intently recognised what they were and a discussion broke out, I assumed that it was on the same subject however it was over one of my keys on my keyring that vexed them. I have a dead bolt key lock from the UK, I’m sure you can get them here too but he’d obviously not seen one before and with the attitude which was coming out during this questioning was clearly a potential problem looming. Looking back now I wish I’d have said it was the key to my missile Silo as he looked like the type who’d have believed me, in which case you’d have never seen me again and I’d be writing this from inside a maximum security prison…
By now I’d already asked several times what this was all about only to discover that conveniently they’d both either become deaf, lost their ability to speak English or do anything other than get aggressive when asked. Fair enough, well, not really but on with the charade…What was I going to do, complain…?
By now the other officers had blocked off the remainder of the street and begun their pursuit of other foreigners, I noticed another unfortunate guy possibly Asian get dragged to the side behind some vehicles as the rest set about harassing others guilty of having done nothing wrong except be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The ordeal went on for what seemed like eternity however eventually they warmed to the fact that they couldn’t shoot me, it must have been ten to fifteen minutes before they made me feel like I wasn’t going to get arrested for something, but I wasn’t ever entirely sure. One of the officers was still making an issue out of my dead bolt key and then insisted I surrendered it to him as it could be used as a weapon, well yes, in the same was all my other keys could be just as vicious… If only I could get a gun that fires key’s – I’d be lethal!
I begun to mildly protest and requested a receipt for it if he were to take it and unknowingly seemed to have pressed the Malaka button! At that he gestured to the other officer who had wandered away by now, he explained that maybe going to the station would resolve the matter and that things could drag on somewhat. Both officers went and chatted to the guy’s on the bikes for a few minutes eyeing me suspiciously as they seemed to decide my fate.
I just stood there, bemused, and thought ‘f*ck it’. I grabbed my phone and rang my friend who was expecting me, I explained the situation whereby the officer returned, gave me my key back and explained that I should be more careful in future.
Like as I wasn’t anyway! Carrying a set of deadly keys around certainly helped and knowing that anyone else with such weapons of mass destruction would similarly face the same ordeal is enough to make you behave anyway.
Let me just explain, where I live has a nice park nearby however at night it’s unlit and subject to the sort of worries you have about people hanging about dodgy area’s and suchlike. My only worry now whenever I pass it is that the f*cking Greek Police aren’t anywhere nearby so I can walk safely and freely through my own neighbourhood..
Me and the Feds (Part 1) :
A Taxi, a fight, nearly getting run over and nearly arrested for the privilege… Welcome to Greece!