Greek Authorities at a Loss as Rioting, Protests Continue, Deutsche Welle, December 8, 2008
Rioting and protests over the shooting of a teenager by police continued to spread across Greece Monday, leaving authorities frustrated by their inability to stop the country’s worst civil unrest in decades. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis once again appealed for calm after an emergency meeting Monday with his ministers and top security officials, trying to find a way to break the chain of violent events. “The state needs to protect society,” said the prime minister in a live televised address. “The emotions that followed the tragic incident cannot and will not be tolerated.”
Student Protests in Greece Convulse Universities, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 8, 2008
Several universities in Greece have been occupied by protesters as part of a wave of rioting and unrest that has swept the country in the wake of the police shooting of a 15-year-old boy in Athens on Saturday night, the Reuters news agency reported. “Most of the clashes have occurred in university cities and have involved students,” the BBC reported.
Massive riots cripple Greece’s main cities, Elena Becatoros and Derek Gatopoulos
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Gangs of youths smashed their way through central Athens and Thessaloniki on Monday, torching stores and buildings after the fatal police shooting of a teenager sparked Greece’s worst rioting in decades. Dozens of shops, banks and even luxury hotels had their windows smashed and burned in a night of lawlessness as youths fought running battles with riot police. Black smoke rose above the city center, mingling with clouds of tear gas. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, whose increasingly unpopular government has already faced a growing number of sometimes violent demonstrations in recent months, called an emergency Cabinet meeting Monday night. In Athens, rioters torched the capital’s massive Christmas tree in central Syntagma Square. As the hooded youths moved on, some protesters posed for photos in front of the blaze, and others sang the Greek version of “O Christmas Tree.”
Athens Indymedia requests assistance from translators
Indymedia activists in Greece are urgently in need of help with translations from and into Greek.
There is a lot of international attention for what is going on in Greece now and there are many articles on the Athens IMC website – in Greek language.
The Athens indymedia website is currently struggling with a huge number of people accessing the site. The global Indymedia network is now working on a different solution and this solution needs help translating technical terms into Greek.
If you understand Greek and want to help translate either the Greek content of athens.indymedia.org or (mostly easy) technical terms into Greek to help the new site come to life, please contact these addresses:
==> www-gr[AT]lists.indymedia.org for *content* <== ==> imc-tech[AT]lists.indymedia.org for *tech terms* <== Please be patient - the Greek activists are under a lot of pressure now. Another option is of course to pick interesting articles in Greek language from IMC Athens, translate them and post the translations as articles. This would also be appreciated. You won't be expected to do more than you can. Any bit of help is a great help.
The state/corporate media has some explaining to do…
Why Greece Is Wracked By Riots, Emmanouil Karatarakis, Time, December 8, 2008
For Athens police, the Exarchia neighborhood is enemy territory. A perennial sanctuary for the capital’s marginalized far-left youth, the central district has been the scene of sporadic anti-government violence for years. But clashes rarely grow as big as those that have wracked Greece for the past two days. They began when police shot dead a 15-year-old boy in Exarchia on the night of Saturday Dec. 6. That killing sparked riots that spread to at least a dozen towns and cities across the country and have so far left 67 people injured, including 37 police officers. Protesters have destroyed at least 17 banks and set fire to dozens of shops and cars. It is the worst political violence in Greece in 17 years. (See pictures of the riots in Greece.)
Rebellion deeply embedded in Greece, December 8, 2008
The BBC’s Malcolm Brabant looks at why student anger has erupted across Greece over Saturday’s fatal police shooting of a teenage boy. The riots that have swept Greece for the past two days and look set to continue for the foreseeable future underline why the most important day in the national calendar is “Oxi” or “No” day. “Oxi” day commemorates 28 October 1940, when Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas used that single word to reply to Mussolini’s ultimatum to allow Italy to invade Greece, propelling his nation into World War II. When Greeks say no, they mean it in spades. Rebellion is deeply embedded in the Greek psyche. The students and school children who are now laying siege to police stations and trying to bring down the government are undergoing a rite of passage.
See also : Rioting explodes across Greece, libcom.org, (Submitted by Steven), December 8, 2008 [with links]
As an aside, a headline article on Chabad.org reads Strengthening Riots in Greece Keep Jewish Residents on Edge. It quotes a Rabbi Mendel as stating that “Thank G-d the Jewish community is okay… So far, the rioters have not been targeting people, but I don’t know how Jewish businesses have fared”, thus implying that anarchists might target Jews. Why the Rabbi thinks so is unknown, but rather obviously, no anarchist worthy of the name would target Jews or any other racial, religious or ethnic minority. More likely, Greek fascists might take the opportunity to do so. In such an event, they’d best not be caught doing so by anarchists, who would likely beat them to a pulp. The rabbi might also like to examine anarchist resistance to fascism and neo-Nazism, from its origins in early twentieth-century Europe to today. In that struggle, anarchists have always been on the front line, and many continue to pay with their lives for their resistance.
BIG UPS TO THE COMRADES IN GREECE!
They seem ‘random’ and disorganised, but your Greek comrades are doing good. The news reports are hilarious – ‘Greece, the birthplace of democracy, logos and souvlaki, is now home to anarchy, malaka…’.
There’s a lot of latent and not-so latent revolutionary potential in Greece. And beyond that, police who shoot an unarmed citizen deserve to have their city burn.
Re random and disorganised: kinda sorta… Large segments of the Greek anarchist movement are certainly organised enough to respond immediately to police incursions and, in this instance, murder. Exarchia, the Greek suburb where Andreas was shot dead, is largely a no-go zone for police, a circumstance which apparently has the support of the general population (via various residents’ groups) in that part of town. As it stands, I believe the construction of a police station was halted there, but the Government is planning on dissecting the community with a new railway system — in a process somewhat similar to the manner in which working class communities in inner-city Sydney were destroyed by freeway and high-rise development in the ’60s and ’70s (and of course many, many other cities besides) — with the remnants given over to yuppies. Further, anarchists in Greece have established a whole range of local networks of co-ordination and exchange, embracing housing, media, prisoner and refugee solidarity and more besides.
They’ve done some good work. I don’t mean to throw the ‘random’ label as disparagement, only to suggest (from the media and you tube I’ve seen) that it seems that this uprising is more a cry of pain than a ‘movement’. Which isn’t to say that it isn’t vitally important. We Melbournites are yet to react the same way to any of our many police shootings. When I went to Greece, it seemed a particularly lefy place – everybody loathed W., and wanted independence for every overtly colonised country. It’s an interesting ‘dynamic’, as they say…
Athens rocked by new protests as shot schoolboy buried
4 hours ago
ATHENS (AFP) — Police and students clashed outside the Greek parliament Tuesday despite an appeal for calm by the president for the funeral of the 15-year-old boy whose killing by police set off nationwide riots.
Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and other missiles at police guarding parliament as the worst civil unrest to hit Greece in decades entered a fourth day…
The violence has showcased the organisational capacity of urban radicals and the failure of the government to crack down on them, critics said.
Criminologist Ioannis Panoussis said: “There is a well-functioning mechanism in place,” with the Internet and mobile telephones speeding up the troublemakers’ capacity to react, Panoussis said.
“Because this time it connected with the spontaneous anger of the youths, the scale of the incidents vastly expanded,” he added.
Social and economic factors also shape the anarchist movement, according to lawyer Dimitris Beladis, who specialises in urban troubles.
“It is the detonator of a sort of social explosion due to economic insecurity that affects many youths and those who are unemployed or badly paid,” Beladis said.
But I think what is so exciting is that it seems that these riots exceed ‘anarchists’ and are involving more and more people (whatever their previous ideological label). That is not to down play the activities of Greek anarchists (of which I know very little). Part of the state’s strategy of containment may involving presenting these revolts as nothing more than the activities of an ideological layer (I am speculating without evidence here).
Re movement: depends how you define it, I think, and the role emotions play in motivating any ‘political’ activity. So: certainly, there is pain, but the pain, I think, is being diagnosed as having economic, political and social roots as much as it involves the character of a cop nicknamed Rambo on account of his get-tough attitude. It seems to me that the current Government is going to have to bring the opposition on board, as well as the labour movement, in order to quell the uprisings. An escalation in repression risks broadening the resistance — a development which responsible authorities likely understand, even if the legions of ‘conservative’ online critics do not. Oh yeah: as for Melbourne, it would be interesting to know what Neos Kosmos is publishing…
I think you’re right about that Dave: the (corporate/state/’mainstream’) online accounts I’ve read (almost) all invoke the usual tropes: ‘fringe elements’, ‘hardcore agitators’, ‘political extremists’ et cetera. On the other hand, given the scale of the ‘movement’, the category of ‘trouble-makers’ is being extended to students in particular and yoof in general. I read one account which included a statement from a 10-year-old kid; “He could have been our brother. He could have been our fellow student, he could have been one of us,” said Vangelis Spiratos, 13 — a seemingly quite widespread sentiment.
the high schools are closed down by the government. I’d characterize this as a political lock out: the schools act as a gathering place for the students. Nevertheless, they come en masse to the protest and the barricades, following the older people or organizing thru mobile phones, their friends etc. this proves effective enough.
there’s a semi-chaotic situation, fertile and dangerous. People act almost too courageously –foolishly sometimes. As I said in some cases the so called ‘insurrectionists’ have to constrain, or bring some ‘order’ or better ‘rhythm’ to the unorganized attackers. we advance when we impose our rhythm on the cops.
the solidarity on the street is quite intense.
can’t really estimate how widespread the riots are. We know that reports keep coming about some small town with no organized radicals whatsoever where “20 masked youth attacked with 10 petrol bombs the police station”. this is happening every night. demos are taking place in almost every city. For example, in athens during the demonstrations themselves, there were autonomous attacks on banks in different areas of the city.
the universities are also closed down by the authorities for the same reason as the schools. But they are de facto occupied by the rioters, and act as a gathering place, a place to heal from the tear gas (the police now started throwing a much much worse asphyxiating gas, different from tear gas) or make more projectiles. In some cases rioters enter, and after some hours the uni students come in also, and formally occupy the faculty w/ a general assembly decision — although I wouldn’t say that voters against the occupation are tolerated — we don’t do democracy anymore. so the votes are like 120 – 10 etc.
the university teachers are useless, the general trade unions are useless. most ‘far left’ — with the important exception of some leninist organizations — is useless. They appeal to a return to normality, ie law and order. They ‘boo’ the attacks. Funny marxists.
in thessaloniki and athens, what could be burned in the city center, has pretty much burned down. Few banks and state buildings left etc.
we know that the rioters are getting more prole-based and multi-racial, so to speak: there is looting in prole areas (independent from the demonstrations themselves). There’s some discussion that we need to intensify communist gestures like these, and kinda develop further from the anti-cop, anti-bank actions.
the prisoners started a 24h abstention from meal (= they don’t eat from the prison kitchen as a protest, only from what they might have in their cells) in solidarity.
last night was the most intense so far. We’ll see how this will develop…
it’s the party of insurrection vs the party of law and order…
hope this is useful, can’t write something more coherent right now.
this is the scary shit (pic from yesterday – from what we know as of now the cop didn’t fire, just aimed to intimidate):