Greek Unrest

9 12 2008

A Greek Anarchist who is involved in the current unrest in Greece on the side of the Anarchists has offered his eye witness account of the trouble.  This in many places contradicts the account put forward by the mainstream media which has, as per usual, come out in support for the police despite their blessed journalistic objectivity.

First things first.
Before I jump into the events, I have to paint the whole picture.

There has been a feud between the police and anarchist groups since the fall of the greek dictatorship. Whenever there’s a protest, you’ll see anarchists setting up roadblocks, going head to head with the riot police, attacking banks, cameras etc. In 1985, a similar incident took place. A police officer shot dead a 15 year old anarchist, with a well aimed shot in the head. He was later released from all charges, a decision which erupted similar riots.

Traditionally, the athenian district of Eksarxeia was an anarchist headquarter.[sic] Mostly due to its historical role in past events, against the military dictatoship[sic] and many more. For that reason, the past, say, 10 years, it has been a target for police forces. It is now, informally, considered to be an anarchist asylum where no cop can enter under the watchful eye of our comrades there. For that reason, even the local police station of Eksarxeia has instructed its patrol cars to avoid by all costs certain areas that are literally under anarchist control.

Sometimes, cops managed to slip in for the sole purpose to harass some anarchist hangouts. These “challenges” would cause small scale wars in Eksarxeia district, with riot police divisions, supposedly guarding banks, entering an “anti-authoritarian area” just to confront scattered anarchists. It was typical once a week to have a street fight. Lately, this situation was being steadily intensified. On one hand, reporters would often mention that this police-free area had to be infringed, on the other hand, police officers with far right-wing beliefs were eager to provoke trouble, fueling[sic] the fire.

What I’m trying to say is, we all knew it would come down to this.

And now, to describe what is “this”.

A patrol car entered Eksarxeia, last Saturday night.
Like I said, they’re instructed to remain in a certain pre-defined route, to avoid anarchist confrontations. (cop cars usually become a moving target for any kind of projectile when they drive by) These two cops are known from past events to challenge anarchists in the district, so this Saturday, they broke in. They bumped into a small group of underaged, some say anarchists, some say kids that were having their typical night-out. It matters not.

The cops were looking for trouble, so the moment they saw the kids, they assumed they were anarchists as it is a popular destination for people of such beliefs, even for entertainment purposes. They provoked those children, while in the cop car and were ousted for being bullies. The cops drove away, but came back on foot a few minutes later to settle the score. They exchanged words, nothing else but words. This is confirmed by numerous eye-witnesses, while mass media and the cops themselves were spreading, unsurprisingly, that the cops were attacked by a large group of enraged and armed anarchists. In the middle of the quarrel, one of the two cops pulled out his pistol and shot a kid dead with two shots, one in the belly and the second one in his heart. They both calmly walked away to their patrol car.

The quarrel was of such a volume, that the incident was filmed by a two kids in a balcony. I uploaded it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1wrDbw9KeQ and an edited version with more light, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvgUQcYgrn0
You cant clearly see the whole incident, but the two cops are standing alone in the street and there is no fight. Only a car alarm.

The cop speaks some final words, something that would be roughly translated as, “I’ll show you what”, and fires two shots. They can both be seen walking away.

The incident was first reported in the athenian indymedia, which is typically controlled by anarchists. The news were spread rapidly, causing spontaneous riots all over Greece.

Right now, everyone is enraged. Not only anarchists but every Greek with minimal common sense. A kid was executed for talking back to a cop. It was not out of the blue, it was the product of an ongoing repression that has centered its efforts in the district of Eksarxeia.

Anarchists went on a rampage, myself included. We havent[sic] slept many hours, I just came back to rest a bit, wash the tear gas off my face and clothes, sleep a few hours perhaps, before I return to defend the roadblocks.

Excuse me for being incoherent, like I said, I’m tired, furious and my face is burning. I suppose you’ve been told a million lies, so I end this post with a list of anarchist targets, which are strictly political.

-The main target in EVERY Greek city and each district, are the police stations. I have lost count in how many areas they have been bombarded by rocks and molotov cocktails. Every cop in Greece should live in fear the following days to balance their arrogance with fear.
-Banks are the next best target. For a million reasons I need not explain in an anarchist forum.
-Cop cars. Luxurious cars. Civilian cars that belong to cops. (we know their plate numbers), they all made good barricades.
-Every grand store, of any type. Only the big money holders.
-Cameras.

I know it has been reported that small neighbourhood stores have been looted. Its true to some extent. Its quite usual for undercover cops to damage such types of property. Its also usual for hooligans to rush into riots. We bumped into a few of both kinds and chased them with sticks.
I can only speak for what I personally saw. And I saw extremely careful anarchists in what they were smashing and in a manner to avoid the lightest damage on parked cars . However, I can’t deny the fact that there are exceptions.

The Anarchist in question goes by the name, “Deadeye,” and the posts were taken from Anarchism.net.  The most interesting thing I find are the mainstream media reports that the kids provoked the police by throwing molotovs at the cop car.  The footage uploaded to YouTube by Deadeye tells a far different story.  There are no flaming molotovs.  Instead there are the sound of the bullets that had taken the kid’s life.  In the top right corner you can see the police walking away.

A police statement about the boy’s death said the incident started when six young protesters pelted a police patrol car with stones. The 16-year-old boy was shot as he tried to throw a fuel-filled bomb at the officers, police said. – CNN.com/Europe

This, as the Youtube video shows, is a lie.  What is interesting is the reaction these reports have generated. As a general example, this comment posted in a discussion about the events on the SomethingAweful forums is fairly representative.

This has nothing to do with young people. Some idiot tried to kill people with a fire bomb and was shot. His equally stupid peers got pissed at this for some reason and used it as an excuse to go on a rampage. Hopefully more will get shot or end up in prison for the next 10 years. – aSocial

Though I will not condone violence, I understand that the current conflict is the result of long running tensions because Anarchists and the police.   This particular instance has found itself provoked by the police, who have then lied.  This lie has then been picked up by the media and repeated in countries all over the world.  So my support remains with the Anarchists.  In fact, Orwell’s obsession with language immediately comes to mind when I think about this, particularly as every report by the mainstream media has characterised the Anarchists as indiscriminate bringers of chaos and destruction — because the teenager attacked the cops first.  What it is about the general Anglo-Saxon Psyche that seems to believe the cop is always in the right?

Yet the account by Deadeye paints a different picture. Greek Anarchists have responded with outrage at the execution of a young boy and have accordingly done their best to avoid looting, damaging small stores and harming innocents.  Instead their anger is directed primarily at targets who embody or symbolise the state and the status quo.  Deadeye, for anyone who doesn’t remember, even talks of Anarchists chasing off groups that arrived specifically to cause trouble.  These aren’t the words of a madman looking for an excuse to go on a rampage.

Discrepancies are appearing in many of the reports.  For example, BBC  news and CNN have failed to agree on the age of the dead teenager, the former stating he was 15, the latter claiming he was 16.  Better yet, the police officers involved appear to have changed their story.

Two police officers have been arrested in connection with the incident.

The officer who fired contends it was a ricochet from a warning shot, but witnesses told Greek TV it was a direct hit. – BBC NEWS

I’ll leave it here and hopefully keep updates on what has been happening.

Hat tip goes out to Francois Tremblay for the link to the Something Aweful discussion.

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9 01 2009
Happy New Year! « .urbandissent

[…] from echoing the execution of a young boy that took place in Greece, this latest tragedy serves to remind us that this is the age of the digital camera and the […]

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