The whole thing started when the 37 years old police officer Epaminondas Korkoneas, shot and killed the 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in the area of Exarchia, downtown Athens on Saturday, December 6 2008. Initialy it was stated that the police officer had 3 warning shots and that the kid was killed by accident. Witnesses stated that he aimed and fired.
- This takes us back to the 17th of November of 1985 when an other 15 years old kid, Michalis Kaltezas was shot in the back of his head by the police officer Thanasis Melistas.
Melistas was sentenced for two and a half years and he got out in 8 1/2 months.
- On the 16th of November 1980, the 20 years old Stamatina Kanelopoulou and the 26 years old Iakovos Koumis were beaten to death by police.
None was charged,the killers were never found.
- During August 1985, 22 years old American citizen Kathrin John Bull was shot dead after her denial to the cops to search her car.
- On March 1990 an other 15 years old student gets shot in the city of Preveza. He was killed cause he was trying to break in a video club.
- On April 1993 police officer Elias Stamatopoulos shot dead the 25 years old Giannis Tzitzis in a bar.
- The musician Theodor Giakas was shot dead on January 1994.
- On January 1996 police killed an emigrant.
- June 1996 police killed the 20 years old emigrant Fantil Nambuzi who tryied to steal two water mellons.
- 45 years old Tasos Mouratis was shot dead by a police officer in front of his kids during November 1996.
- 26 years old Elias Mexis didn’t stop for a police control on August 1998. He was shot dead.
- Police killed the 17 years old Yugoslavian Marco Bulatovic in Thessaloniki on October 1998.
- On March 2000, 18 years old Giorgos Atmatzidis didn’t stop for a police control, he was shot dead.
- Police shot in the head the 21 years old Marinos Christopoulos.He didn’t stop for a control. It was October 2001.
- 22 years old Iraklis Maragakis didn’t stop for a police control on December 2003, he was shot in the head.
- The cops beat up and injured the Cypriot student Augoustinos Dimitriou in Thessaloniki during the polytechnic demonstration in 2006.
- During August 2007, Greek police have clashed with African immigrants protesting over the death of a Nigerian man in the city of Thessaloniki.
Now, what we have here is police brutality. The killers remain unpunished. Alexandros Grigoropoulos’s mother received a phone call by some unknown person that told her to go to the hospital because her son was hurt and she better take a friend with her. Police never contacted her nor did they go to her door to bring her to the hospital.
As young kids see their parents struggling to make ends meet and they see no justice administrated for criminal activity brought on by people who are comitted to “serving and protecting” the riots started. All these follows on the heels of ultimate corruption within the church and political inactivity in the massive destruction of fires in 2007.
In Greece money begets power. The average working citizen, regardless of outcries and demands for justice, reaches a boiling point with the ensuing result.
Today, December 10 2008, it is general strike in Greece.
2008.12.06: The 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos is murdered in cold blood by a cop in Exarchia square. Nearly immediately, wide clashes break out in mostly all greek cities which mostly target symbols of capital & of state authority. It is obvious that, with the murder acting as a spark, a generalized feeling of discontent & doubt [towards the system] finds its release.
In the cadre of this release, similar mobilizations take place in Patras as well. From the get-go, people flow into the Parartima [a squat in Patras, originally belonging to the local University & highly active in local antiauthoritarian affairs] &, a while later, the General Police Administration of Achaea in Ermou street is attacked. The next day, a demo takes place followed by further clashes with the police forces in Ermou street. 5 get arrested; they're released that same evening, an attempt of the state to detonate the [explosive] situation. An intervention in the court house takes place on Monday until the 50 year old comrade who had gotten arrested the night before is released. In the evening, a march [reportedly of about 1,000 people!] takes place; it stops at the [TV station] Super B, which is occupied for the next half hour. During the return to the Parartima, 3 banks, a WIND store, Olympic Airways & [the discount supermarket] Dia are attacked.
At the same day that Alexis was buried, a demo is announced; thousands of people take part in it; it [also] goes unnoticed by the mass media rufians. In the duration of the march, all banks that the march comes across are laid in tatters. The demo concludes at the Parartima, where barricades are put up in the streets surrounding it & hour-long clashes with the cops break out - the participation [in the clashes] is immense. The police chokes nearby streets with teargas & chemicals, & it also makes use of plastic bullets. A little while after, the scum of the shadow state [parakratikoi] enter the stage; tgether with the Riot Squad & plainclothes policemen, & in military formation under the leadership of the director [of the plainclothes policemen] Ntavlouros, they attack the demonstrators. The clashes with the parakratikoi go on for a long while, but they cannot be pushed back despite the efforts, as their best pals the cops make sure the clear the way for them by continuously hurling chemicals which force the people to gradually retreat back to the Parartima. The retreta finally at the Agia Sofias square, where the people flee to nearby houses. A pogrom led by the parakratikoi follows, during which they drag people out of nearby cafe's & narrow streets & beat them up. Despite this, people decide to actively crush terror by taking part by the thousand in Wednseday's strikes.
What the parakratikoi & the cops started could not but be completed by the journalists, a fact which - once again - drives home the message: Cops, Mass Media, Parakratikoi, All The Scum Work Side By Side. The journalists keep talking about smashed-up stores & about 2,000 (!) citizens which chased the demonstrators. Whoever wants to check whether there are any smashed-up [family-owned] stores, they are invited to take a walk in the center of the city. It has been our [conscious] decision that we only attacked [the] police [station], governmental buildings & banks. Anything else is either a lie or police provocation. Regarding the 2,000 citizens which took to the streets against demonstrators, they're nothing more than a bunch of plainclothes policemen & parakratikoi such as Spinos from the [Ioannis] Kalampokas team (those parakratikoi were identified by older comrades). [A bit of history: in '91, Nikos Temponeras was murdered by Ioannis Kalampokas with a crowbar - in Patras. In that case, the parakratikoi counter-occupied the already occupied schools throughout greece, after they had been incited to do so by then-minister of education Vassilis Kontogianopoulos. In one of those counter-occupations, Nikos Temponeras - a teacher - was killed with a crowbar by the leader of ONNED - the youth organization of Nea Dimokratia, the current ruling party - Ioannis Kalampokas.] It is also obvious that similar events unfolded in other cities as well, & that the state chooses, once again, to use the shadow state in order to repress the vibrant mass demonstrations of recent days.
The attacks of the state & of its shadow state do not intimidate us - they infuriate us!
Our last word has not been said
These days belong to Alex
Demo: 18.00 at the Parartima
We extend a call to all people to take part in the squatting.
Over 5,000 people demonstrated today in the city center of Patras, an unprecedented magnitude for this city.
The provocation of cops & neonazis worked as a boomerang against them, as the people realized the role played by... "infuriated [citizens; the name traditionally assigned to the puppets of the greek shadow state by mass media & the state itself]" & flooded the streets.
Let it be remarked that a municipality cop [one part "neighborhood cop," one part "traffic cop," & one part common snitch] was lynched today in the city center. [Indeed: this reports that the cop was beaten by peddlers who were trying to sell their produce in the market, apparently without a license.]
At this moment [21:00 local time], there's a large demonstration going on in Patras, despite the terror crusade unleashed by local [TV] channels. Riot Squad forces have sealed off all side streets. Concurrently, SYRIZA [Coalition of the Radical Left; been given about 15% by recent gallops on the citizens' voting intention] organizes a gathering in Georgiou square with [former party leader Alekos] Alavanos. In the morning, the commerce chamber denied that anything was damaged - in fact, the sole merchant that talked on TV said that his storefront was smashed up by cops during the stone exchange with the demonstrators.
Without a trace of repentance or guilt regarding the murder of the 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, the special guard Epameinondas Korkoneas testified yesterday to the 9th Magistrate Mr. F. Vlahos. As tough as a "pistolero" & unrepentant as if the student's death was not effectuated by his actions, the 37 year old defendant did not limit himself to rebuting the eyewitnesses[' accounts] which state that he aimed at the 15-year-old & fired with no other precedent than a verbal exchange. He went further by attempting to soil the memory of the person who fell dead from his firearm's shots. In particular, he presented the dead & his group of friends as offsprings of affluent families, for whom Exarchia square was the recreational area of choice & who caused unrest in [football] fields! & he concluded by attributing "deviant behavior" to him!
Epameinondas Korkoneas & his colleague Vasileios Saraliotis - who is a codefendant for abetting voluntary manslaughter [note that the term 'voluntary manslaughter' might not be misleadingly translated] - were both judged fit for detention following their testimonies & with both the Magistrate & the District Attorney agreeing on this point. During their transportation to the Evelpidon Court House, they were being protected by a significant police force which prevented the journalists from entering building 9 where the Magistrate's offices are located. Moreover, [&] as a response to the serial questions on the identity of the person who had ordered this [prevention of entry], the policemen pointed out the superior of the trimember administration [committee] of the Athens Court of First Instance Mr. Kranis who, in turn, pointed to the direction of the person in charge of the police force. The heavy security, though, did not prevent a group of youths hurling molotov bombs at the entrance to the court house, a fact which led to a TV van catching fire.
The attitude of the 11-page long affidavit which E. Korkoneas submitted to the Magistrate has already made its impact felt among law experts. In fact, the following two facts received the most attention from law experts:
- The fact that the special guard does not recall the number of bullets he fired. The defendant spoke of "two warning shots fired in the air" & commented that it's possible that he also fired a third one, since, as he claimed, "I hadn't realized [that], but my codefendant reminded me of it."
- All the insults he hurled at the dead, among which his claim that Alexandros had been expelled from the Moraitis School [a private school in Athens, mostly for the affluent]. Nevertheless, this point has also been negated by the Moraitis School itself which, in an announcement made public yesterday, reports that Alexandros "studied in the Moraitis School from the first grade of primary school until the third grade of secondary school. Following his subsequent graduation from junior high school, his mother - with which the school has always had the best of cooperations - decided, as it often happens, to enroll him in another high school without the [Moraitis] school exerting any influence on the events." Concluding, the Moraitis School remarks that, for the duration of his studies, "Alexandros had exceptional relations with his fellow male & female students, he was particularly loved by the staff, [&] his attitude was very good & reported [in his report card] as most proper (which it also was)."
The 37-year-old special guard claimed, through his affidavit, that he would not aim his gun at a person under any circumstances, "especially not at a teenager, because of the special sensitivity I possess for kids, as I am the father of three underage children." Continuing, he mentioned that, on the fateful day & in the crossroads of Harilaou Trikoupi street & Navarinou street, & while he was cruising in his police car together with his codefendant, "we were attacked from a group of approximately 30 people which kept screamng "cops, you bums, we'll burn you alive."" As explanation for [their choice of] returning on foot [to the point where he later fired], he offered a "group of anarchists" which they followed in order to inform further the Riot Squad in Harilaou Trikoupi street "which was a certain target for the anarchists." & he claimed that the group of youths assumed the offensive with "flares, molotov bombs, marble slates, metal ashtrays & other heavy objects."
In today's meeting by a group of university students which took place in the Polytechnic, a sequence of actions & political demands was decided upon, starring among which the resignation of the Minister of Public Order. Mentioned among action points is the proposal for the creation of a radio station in the Polytechnic & the occupation of mass media.
The announcement concludes as follows:
Down with the murderes' government-resignation for the Minister of Public Order & all those responsible.
The immediate & final conviction of the murderers-policemen & of their superiors.
Down with the anti-worker, anti-popular politics of this government as a whole.
Retreat of the Riot Squad from streets, demos, marches & from the Polytechnic area.
The disarmament of special forces.
The immediate release of those arrested during the demos.
Abolition of the immunity for members of the parliament which eradicates crimes.
We proceed to:
Pan-educational, pan-popular march on Friday, December 12 & sealing off of the Parliament at noon.
Pan-popular march on Friday at 18:00.
Long-term occupation of schools & university departments.
Protestation at the court hearings of those arrested.
Reaching out to schools-communication committee with the school students.
Daily coordination processes in the Polytechnic.
Turning the lower Polytechnic into a center of struggle.
We propose the following action points:
Creating a radio station-occupying mass media.
Installing a pharmacy in the Polytechnic.
Resistance to arrests & organized/coordinated popular anti-violence.
Mr. Kougias [who was appointed to represent the cop who shot the lethal bullets, following the resignation of his initial representative] had to come on stage in order to let the truth be heard: the country has been shaken up for 5 days due to a misunderstanding. The policeman did not want to murder Alexis Grigoropoulos, but [instead] to shoot in the air in order to scare the crowd that was about to attack him. It's just that the bullet misunderstood his intentions & got stuck in the 16-year-old student's heart. & it occurred to nobody to ask him how he walked away in his leisure from the infuriated crowd [that was about to attack him...] or why he didn't rush, as he owed to do, to help the kid which he supposedly wounded by mistake.
It was a misunderstanding that Alexis was a kid full of smiles, like all [the boys] of his age. In reality, he was a hooligan of the Northern Suburbs [the more affluent part of the city, in a city where class relations are definitely evident] - with an impeccable behavior [as the Moraitis School announcement clarifies]. The representative of the defendant, who obviously helped his client put together his affidavit, steered the public debate into a street that it should not have taken: you don't shoot a 16-year-old kid, even if he's the devil incarnate.
What's [genuinely] bad is that most mass media adopt the same theory of a misunderstanding . In most TV debates or reports, you see see nothing except for pictures of destruction & lame analyses regarding the "hooded ones." Apart from a minimum amount of exceptions, most do not understand that the school students which occupied the police station in Voula did not do it because the mistook its chief for their father & wanted to claim their revenge from him: they did it because they're outraged with their lives & with the society they're called to get integrated into.
There's no other country in the world with such a tough, uninteresting, stressful, soulless educational system as the greek one, the pinnacle of which are the introductory exams [which one has to take to enter tertiary education]. There's no other country that has, in a period of 30 years, altered a system which everybody considers as a failure. & there's no other country that rewards a super-effort spanning a decade with breadcrumbs amounting to 700 euros [the starting salary for most jobs in the 20's demographic is, reportedly, 66o euro]. Excluding countries at war, there's no other country that prohibits its teenagers from enjoying their [young] age. In the most enlightening picture of these [last few] days, at noon [&] in Syntagma square, the demonstrators stopped & played football [here]. That's what kids should mostly be doing, but they don't let them be.
In a parent meeting for kids in grade 1 of the secondary school that I attended, the school's principal suggested the following schedule: following the return to home at 16:00, lunch & rest until 17:00, studying from 17:00 to 20:00, & maybe an hour or so of TV! & when you turn on your TV at 20:00, you hear nothing other than [financial] scandals & priests [a reference to the recent Vatopedi scandals] or ministerial fiends that became millionaires in the last 4 years [a possible reference to minister Georgios Voulgarakis who did not limit himself to - allegedly - turning himself into a millionaire in the last 4 years but also felt necessary to be as provocative ασ as possible equating 'what is ethical' with what is 'what is legal' - in a country where I, for one, have trouble recalling the last time a minister was prosecuted for corruption]. There's no youth in the world that can live without hope. What can a young photographer hope in when he shoots the picture that all international news agencies would envy &, instead of receiving the Pulitzer prize, he gets fired? [A direct reference to Kostas Tsironis, the former Eleftheros Typos photographer, who got fired following his shooting the already legendary picture of a cop aiming his firearm at the demonstrators on the very next day after Alexis was murdered - see also the corresponding post below.] They revolted to recapture the lost hope.
This time around, they didn't manage to find [so] many reasons. Because the whole thing was overwhelmed by the damages & the lootings. Because no slogan or demand pointing to specific conquests, which would offer the joy of victory, was formulated. If, though, those responsible believe that what happened is due to a murder in cold blood or a misunderstanding, we should be expecting a lot more misunderstandings.
Following the two-hour strike that the ESIEMTH [Journalists' Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers] had planed for today, Sami Karampouyoukoglou got to the area around the Prefecture of Xanthi to provide coverage on the mobilizations. That's where the marches of GSEE [General Confederation of Greek Workers ], ADEDY [Civil Servants' Union], of the students of the Xanthi Polytechnic & of the prefecture's school students had converged together with teachers who participated in the mobilization. When the university students attempted to occupy the building where the Prefecture is housed, they met resistance from the Riot Squad forces which had already assumed positions.
At that pojnt, the person in charge [of the Riot Squad] asked a second Riot Squad platoon to move in order to encircle the university students. When the latter realized [what was happening], they decided to leave. As soon as the university students turned on their heels to move out, & while [our] colleague was in between the police force & the university students, the Riot Squad started attacking. [Our colleague] was the first among them to be clubbed on the head, which resulted to him being taken to the General Hospital of Xanthi bleeding; there, he got stitched up & left an hour later. Following these events, everything calmed down &, a little while later, the demonstrators & the second Riot Squad platoon left the area.
It's remarkable that there's no question of the university students acting in a provocative or violent way, as they gathered [there] peacefully, while the identity of the journalist was already known [to the police forces] & it's impossible that someone mistook him for a university student. A similar tactic was followed yesterday by the Riot Squad, as they used teargas on the university students while the latter were [already] leaving, a fact that led to unrest. The university students haven't finalized their future mobilization plans. In any case, there's serious talk about the students of the Polytechnic moving to Komotini tomorrow to occupy the building where the Prefecture is housed in collaboration with all of the student associations of the Democritus University.
Saturday, 2008.12.06: 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos is executed in Exarchia by a special guard. A little while after, outraged people are gathering in many greek cities in order to demonstrate. In Kozani, at the same time, a banner is put up & the people march.
Sunday, 2008.12.07: 80 people march to the Police Administration of Western Macedonia, where the demonstrators have bypassed the fence & reached the outer periphery of the HQ sloganeering along the way against police terror & without unrest.
Monday, 2008.12.08: School students demonstrate with minor clashes occurring. In the evening, approximately 300 people - school & university students & citizens - gather, & the demo begins. As the demo concludes, the police station is attacked. The police forces use teargas & wounds 2 demonstrators, one of which was immediately hospitalized as he had serious face wounds. A police force got to the hospital immediately & arrested the 3 persons escorting the wounded [demonstrator]. 4 persons that got to the hospital at some later time were also arrested. Later on, clashes occur in the town square & another 6 people are arrested, dragged to the [police] station & beaten up. They did not even respect the 3 girls [arrested], which were humiliated & beaten up by men belonging to the Riot Squad & the police force. Further, inside the [police] station, they underwent psychological pressure & the customary blacklisting. The same charges were pressed on all arrested, irrespectively of whether they were in the hospital or in the demo.
Tueday, 2008.12.09: In the evening, a demo of 150 school students & youngsters takes place, a part of which attacks the police with stones & molotov bombs. 15 get arrested. Hours later, about 40 people who were simply walking around in the center are driven to the station by undercover cops.
The local mass media focus on the material damages, underplaying the fact that a kid lost his life because of a bullet fired by a tool of the state &, concurrently, hide the events which unraveled in the local community, aiming at terrorizing & dividing the public opinion. They do not try to understand the reasons behind the reaction of those kids that take to the streets but focus solely on the acts. These kids were born by the society itself, they're your kids, & society made them hate it. In the last few days, [our] town lives in a state where everything is run by the police, where tens of undercover policemen hang around achieving to instill fear in the citizens. Finally, we refuse to comment on the idiotic rumors about a "bus with anarchists" arriving from Thesaloniki.
So, yes, there had been a vague call on Monday (in amsterdam.indymedia, in fact) to get together & organize a demo or some sort of action. I don't necessarily go for that kind of thing... last time I participated in a demo, it was against the Iraq war. You know how it is, "what if" - I get arrested, beaten up, show up & know no one (I never know anyone anyhow), the works... But this time, just like that time with Iraq, I just couldn't believe it. That this happened, & that they're gonna get away with it, you know? Anyway, that's why I contacted the kids - greek students, of course; I even inquired after political affiliations & the like, to make sure I don't - well, there are no two ways about it, quite honestly... get in trouble. I wanted to scream & I wanted people to hear & I wanted it to have an efect, but I didn't want to spend the night in a cell - how middle-class & selfish is that, right?... So yeah, that's how I learned that we're meeting in The Hague the following evening, Tuesday.
I had a long train journey scheduled for Tuesday - work. Going towards Utrecht, past which lies The Hague, I kept thinking about getting off the train & going home... But then again I couldn't take this kid I know out of my head - he hadn't replied to my emails & calls, so I thought he might have even gone to greece to protest; how could I look him in the eye & tell him "yeah, in the end I didn't go, I mean, I figured what good could a bunch of greek kids do..."? I couldn't. So I went. I was an hour early, so I grabbed something to eat on the fly & went walking around the city - it's a rather beautiful, of way too posh, city. I was fighting with myself not to turn back & leave. I mean, what are we afraid of - I'm talking about the middle class - really? That they'll take our - WHAT? - away?... So, I decided that I'll get back to the station & check the crowd out - if I only saw hooded guys (I'm greek, right?), I'd split & get back home, no contact made. If I spotted some sensible people, I'd stick it out & see what comes down - I could always take a turn into some back alley after all, right? So, I get there & I can spot two people outside the station already - greek leftists=unshaved, haha! I walk past them & enter; & there, there's a crowd of half a dozen or so & two policemen checking IDs. Naturally - the announcement was posted in Indymedia after all... I walk past them & towards... nowhere, in fact, although that was also the general direction of the train back home; I need to think, you know? I turn, look at them once again, & feel myself propelling myself towards them - I'm not walking, I'm hovering over the ground, this is the impression I get. Right? & my heart pounds like crazy, because I know that I just made my choice. I approach them, ask them in greek if they're the group of people who'll protest & they tell me to wait outside otherwise they'll also check my ID. Naturally, as soon as I take a step, I'm told to stay where I am; we've started, I'm thinking - yeah, I know, this thought makes more sense in greek...
So, that's it, what more can I say? That we all got out &, instead of 8 people - I wasn't expecting any more - we were 30? That a dutch person of turkish descent was most helpful in dealing with the cops (we had to either get a permit to march or possibly face arrest, & there were few people speaking dutch as you can well imagine)? That I was still unsure as to whether we'll march to the embassy or to the police station, but somehow being among these people I had never met before & sharing the same fear with some of them (this was not trivial for every one of us...) gave me back a feeling I had forgotten about? That we got the permit &, instead of 10 or 30, we ended up being over 200? That we marched in between two details of policemen (single file - them, not us) to the cordoned off embassy which was guarded by the dutch Riot Squad (which exhibited a zero reaction to the "No Justice, No Peace, Fuck The Police" - sure, the usual fucking snitch was filming us as in every demo in this country, I hear; they're cops man, I didn't say they're angels...)? That the elderly policeman whom we mostly negotiated with said, in dutch, when we arrived at the embassy "Now let them hear your voice?" Yes man, I kid you not, that's what the guy said! A dutch punk I was in the train back with said "you know why? because the dutch cops also disapprove of the event" - I don't know whether they disapprove or not, but I know what we heard.
So, yeah, I could say all this & even more - about the Antifa people, for example: as soon as I saw them, I imagined trouble... All the way to the end, when I mistook the fucking plainclothes agents for neonazis (as I heard somebody saying on our way back: "taxi drivers, plainclothes cops, & kagoures - they're all cast in the same mould" - yeah, he was greek, what did you expect?). They turned out to be OK people, & they helped us out, you know? Just like the people chanting "elke strijd, onze strijd, internationale solidariteit" - which translates to "every struggle, our struggle, international solidarity" - who also helped us out. Anyhow, as I said, I rode the train halfway back home with a greek girl & a dutch punk; & they all looked like good people, you know? & this relief: that we did this, & hopefully someone heard us - not the ambassador, he was probably having fucking dinner in some fucking posh restaurant... - & we made it to the other end unscathed. & that I could look this young kid I know in the eye, man, I don't think you understand.
That's it then, you said you're gonna translate this & post this on the web? Ha, OK, good luck, gotta go!