Greek police beat 8-year old: “dad, why did they hit me?”

by Jerome Roos on September 27, 2011

Post image for Greek police beat 8-year old: “dad, why did they hit me?”

Following troubling signs that democratic freedoms in Greece are rapidly withering away, the beating of little Melina caused a national stir.

Originally published at, loosely translated via Google

“Dad, why did they hit me?” even she, the eight-year old Melina, wondered. ”I do not understand why.” Shortly after being hit by riot police, the camera lens captured the child in terror, perched in the arms of her father, and the photo, published on the headlines of “C” yesterday, caused a major controversy.

Following the reasonable questions of his daughter, her dad tried to explain … the inexplicable. Surely a gentleman would never strike a small child. “We came here to complain about some decisions made over there [in Parliament] and that each day reduce the amount of money that mom and dad get.” Even though the peaceful protest at Syntagma last Sunday had not even started, the “gentlemen” in green attacked them without reason, and one of them, depicted above with the shield reading “Police”, hit small Melina very hard.

Her father, Elias Vrettakos, may be the vice-president of ADEDY [the Civil Servants Confederation], but on Sunday he was not on Syntagma in his trade union capacity. ”We came as a family.” The reason for being needlessly attacked was “simply that we were there,” complained a member of the “I’m not paying” movement, which organized the rally.

“The riot police wanted us to leave the street,” says Mr. Vrettakos. ”To throw us out. They came rushing in upon us. We shouted, swore and they began pushing us violently with their shields. They hit my daughter in the jaw with a shield. She began to cry. I took her in my arms and tried to leave. She was shaking all over. I squeezed her hard, but they did not let me. I was angry and my daughter scared.” Shortly afterwards, as the little child calmed down, he saw a doctor friend who was there and who reassured him.

“Why such cruelty today against such a small child? Why such cruelty against so many people?” wondered Elias Vrettakos, this time demanding an explanation for the inexplicable himself. ”They want to terrorize us. Not allow anyone to complain. To subdue us all. Such is the attempt to suppress opposition.” Shortly after the blow from the forces of repression, his daughter asked him, “Dad, what happens when everyone hits the kids?” She is trying to find similar answers. Trying to explain how people, on this occasion, take out the worst of themselves.

“We struggled to improve our lives. I tell my daughter these stories every night. About the social protests, the rights we won, and that the House is the temple of democracy. But now everything is lopsided. The world has turned upside down, even though they are not old enough to be aware of these things. It is as if we live in the dark ages of dictatorship. They trample on you as they trample on freedom and democracy.”

Please contact us if you have a better translation for this piece.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

marina September 27, 2011 at 14:35

Thank you Jerome for all your hard work all over the world!


Jérôme E. Roos September 27, 2011 at 20:27

Thank YOU for following Marina, without you all the work wouldn’t be worth anything at all!


rwerw September 27, 2011 at 21:17

Fuck you troll


Dominique Chorier September 28, 2011 at 07:02

What an intelligent and articulate comment!


Diogo October 6, 2011 at 17:53

rwerw… your mother didn’t like you when she gave you rwerw for a name?


rioter September 27, 2011 at 15:04

a degüelloo


chistes September 27, 2011 at 15:51

Crazy people.


Sergio September 27, 2011 at 16:28

Sure the police will ask later… why are they bombing us?


Davide P. Schiavarelli September 27, 2011 at 18:04

Why the police hit the little girl?
This isn’t right.
I do not understand why.
As Elias Vrettakos said, Why so cruelty against a small child?


laz October 17, 2011 at 12:43

simple answer to a simple question* cause they are PIGS


Extraction thimbles September 27, 2011 at 18:56

They are crazy!


Mr Cromwell September 27, 2011 at 19:19

No excuse for the Police, but no excuse for the Father either, that is no place for a child.


Julien Febvre October 1, 2011 at 12:10

The streets belong to everyone. Very simple.To say that it was the parent’s fault you justify the actions of the police. It was not a battlefield but a peaceful protest and everybody could join. Stop this conservative propaganda


Tony Bodinnar October 2, 2011 at 15:05

Surely children should be educated in the ways of society – including a) the right of peaceful protest, and b) that no matter who you are and how old you are you are a target. That little girl is going to grow up with the right education.


Kukutakas September 27, 2011 at 23:36

So.. WDF is doing a dad with a 8 year old girl in a demostration .. knowing how greek cops acted in previous ones? wdf?.. he should have been home to keep his little girl safe.. or should have gone himself alone if he wanted to protest. Can not defend this, sorry.


Jérôme E. Roos September 27, 2011 at 23:48

Right. Blame the dad for taking his girl to a public space in a free city for a peaceful demonstration. Nonsensical reply.


Stefania September 28, 2011 at 02:08

While I don’t think it was right for the police to hit her, I do agree that the child should have been left home.


marina October 2, 2011 at 06:20

This is a public space, the people were in the square on the pavement and there was not trouble at all!! There wasn’t even a big crowd there. How does a dad being in a PUBLIC (ie: for the people) space with his daughter doing nothing wrong at all justify the police being brutal and violent towards anybody at all -let alone a child- is beyond my understanding. So now we should all stay at home in order not to be attacked by the police (which is supposed to protect the people). At what age is someone allowed to be in the streets of one’s city without being afraid they might get hurt by the people paid to protect them?!


Julien Febvre October 1, 2011 at 12:07

Sure you cannot defend this because you need to justify police brutality as you perfectly do. Typical conservative attitude; “innocent police, ignorant people”.


dp September 28, 2011 at 00:18

I’ve sent a translation of my own, hope it is all right!


Dominique Chorier September 28, 2011 at 07:04

Shame on them. This is the kind of “smart police action” which brings more people to protest.


greece September 28, 2011 at 19:43

BY GREECE never die DO revolution


Diogo October 6, 2011 at 18:02

Propaganda is making the world believe greeks don’t want to work… that this is their fault!! Government keeps taking from the people to bailout banks and banksters, to pay rouge creditors… and when somebody says on TV Goldman Sachs rules the world… propaganda then comes and says it was a hoax!!!
They are now telling us (all over the world) public space is no longer public!
Shame on them!

PS: In this case… police should be prosecuted for child abuse.


Bill Bennett October 8, 2011 at 18:05

I agree that what happened was an abomination the delegitimizes the police.

Let me share with you how this would have gone down in the corporate police state known as the US.

The child would have been beaten, then the father would have been beaten more and arrested. The child would be taken from the father and put into a series of different foster care placements over the next 10 years, half of which would rape or otherwise abuse her in some way. The father would be spending the time in prison for child endangerment and police assault because he assaulted the police when he caused his face to hit the police’s innocent clenched fist.

You guys have to fight back. Don’t let Greece become another America, a slave state of the bankers.


laz October 17, 2011 at 12:50

when goverment saw such massive reaction from greek people immediately ordered police to use dangerous chemicals and extreme violence against peaceful protests


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