Serious traffic accident outside Parliament generates latest political flare-up in Greece; motorcycle driver left brain dead

Monday, 15 March 2021 22:55
UPD:23:27
Eurokinissi/EUROKINISSI

Τροχαίο ατύχημα με μηχανή μπροστά από την είσοδο της Βουλής, την Παρασκευή 12 Μαρτίου 2021. (EUROKINISSI/ΑΡΗΣ ΒΑΦΕΙΑΔΑΚΗΣ)

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A police driver serving in the security detail assigned to former Athens mayor and foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis was behind the wheel of a sedan that collided with a motorcycle on Friday directly outside Greek parliament's main vehicle entrance - an accident that left the 23-year-old rider brain dead at a local hospital.

The serious traffic accident generated the latest political flare-up between the government and the main opposition SYRIZA party, given that Bakoyannis is a veteran MP of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and the sister of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Bakoyannis herself took to FB on Sunday to comment on the incident, in the wake of a flood of comments by the opposition and social media users. Most criticism centered on the fact that the driver of the vehicle, an active duty officer, was not taken into custody immediately after the crash; the response by attending traffic police immediately after accident and a perceived "cover-up" by mainstream media over the subsequent 48 hours.

Conversely, mostly anonymous social media users circulated unsubstantiated claims of a "hit and run" incident and even that Bakoyannis took a stroll over the weekend with her grandchildren and daughter-in-law in a park next to Parliament. A handful of government-critical media also reproduced the latter claim, only to later issue a correction after it proved to be "fake news".

Criticism of the reaction by law enforcement came as a traffic police report was released on Sunday, two days after the accident on Friday afternoon. The report was conveyed to a relevant first instance prosecutor.  At last word, the police driver has been placed on suspension and an internal administrative review ordered.

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