"Two millimetres is the distance between life and death," doctors told photographer Marios Lolos, who was hit by a police baton on the second day of tribute to the suicide pharmacist, aged 77. This is what Marios’ spouse - Ina said at a press conference specially convened by the coordinating committee of unions in the Greek media to give publicity to the case. This is the third time Marios has been attacked by police while performing his duties and he was injured on the head in all three cases. This time, however, the blow was not fatal only due to pure luck, experts said. He is the chairman of the association of photographers in Greece and is known for his high professionalism and active trade union activities. "The message Marios is sending is that he will fight with every legal means to find the culprits – the physical perpetrators and those politically responsible."
For GRReporter, Ina said, "Marios is a strong man and he is very angry now. He needs rest to recover, but he will not calm down until those responsible for the attack are held liable."
Members of the Greek media are adamant that there is a tendentious attack on journalists in the country. "They do not want to hear and see the truth about the situation in the country and act in this way to frighten journalists," said the coordinating committee of unions in the Greek media. George Savidis, who is the chairman of the Hellenic Federation of Editors, stated for our readers that "In Greece, there are too many cases of police violence against representatives of the media, photographers and technical teams to believe that they are random and sporadic incidents. So far, none of the investigations of these cases has found the culprits. This is not accidental. The latest incident could cost the life of our colleague and was the straw that broke the camel’s back."
One of the most shocking cases of impunity is that of the journalist Manolis Kipreos. The police hit him with a light rocket while covering the civil unrest in Syntagma in June last year. As a result of the attack, Manolis completely lost his ear and suffered multiple injuries to the nervous and vestibular systems. "I was covering the developments during the great protest against the government policy on 15 June 2011. I noticed certain movements of riot forces and protesters and my experience as a military reporter helped me to determine where to position myself to capture the best picture. I went to a street bazaar on Finelinon Street and started photographing. When a police officer saw me, I took out my journalist card to duly identify myself. He swore at me and ordered a light rocket to be launched at me."
Manolis Kipreos was alone in the bazaar. He was not surrounded by protesters, he was not a threat to public peace and identified himself as a journalist. However, a weapon used in Greece for dispersing large crowds, was used against him too. The instructions of the light rocket read that it is used in cases of freeing hostages and designated it as "nonlethal". "You know, they use military weapons against ordinary citizens in Greece," insisted Kipreos. Currently, he is waiting to be approved for a disability pension. An internal investigation of the attack against him was ordered, which has not been able to find the attacker tfor ten months already. The most common response is "we have no information yet." Kipreos will no longer be able to exercise his or other profession and is being subjected to permanent operations in order to restore at least some of his old life.
The coordinating committee of unions in the Greek media held a peaceful protest in front of the presidential residence. At 5 pm, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met with President Carlos Papoulias to announce the dismissal of the Greek Parliament before the elections in May this year. Journalists went to the place of protest one by one to avoid being stopped by police officers and held up in front of the presidency posters reading, "Attacks on the media are a blow against democracy" and "Police violence cannot kill the truth."
At present, Marios Lolos’ friends and colleagues are collecting data and seeking witnesses of the attack in order to bring charges against this particular attacker from the riot forces. "Justice must prevail at least once," said his wife in conclusion.