Athens street crackdown starts in affluent Kolonaki-mayor

Athens street crackdown starts in affluent Kolonaki

Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis plans to crackdown on cafes and restaurants illegally placing their chairs and tables on street sidewalks, starting off with the affluent area of Kolonaki.

Many stores have been illegally increasing the amount of pubic space they use due to poor policing on the issue, said the mayor on Thursday.

The Athens municipal police department shut down in 2013 due to budget cuts but was set up again in 2015. Since then, however, staff numbers remain low. Currently, the department numbers 385 people, down from 1034 previously.

Kaminis said the problem in Athens is biggest in Kolonaki, an area located lose to parliament and next several foreign embassies.

Critics argue that the municipal police has been focusing excessively on monitoring traffic and issuing parking fines at the cost of restoring order on the capital's sidewalks.