Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Riot Info

This blog never aspired to being anything more than a music blog with a very modest, albeit tight, focus. Given the absence of information in english on what's going on in greece at the moment, though, I decided to translate a few articles that I found useful in sizing up the situation & post them here. New content will be added throughout the day as I translate it. (If you want to make this count, repost the material here wherever you think appropriate.) A '[]' signifies an addition/parenthetical remark to the original text, the sole perpetrator of & responsible for which remains yours truly.

A state official who kept a close eye on the governmental incompetence during the [forest] fires which laid waste on the land in 2007 had told me: "they're so incompetent that they become very dangerous. & they're even more dangerous [than that]... because they want to stay on power. I pray to god that they leave calmly, without damaging the country much."

The damage has been done. It took a murder in Exarchia square on Saturday night, a consequence of the spirit of "anything goes" with which the police force was treated in the preceding years, for the [whole] country to be set on fire. The heap of mistakes that followed is so large that it should be taught in Universities, when these manage to function again. On Sunday morning, a [certain] theatrical "resignation" of [minister of the interior Prokopis] Paulopoulos - [his vice-minister Panayotis] Hinofotis was announced, [an antic which] fed the flames [rather than extinguished them]: on Sunday afternoon & evening, dozens of stoers, buildings, & cars got burned.

Afraid that one more protester-victim of an "isolated incident" caused by the special forces would throw them out of power, the government had ordered the police to kill citizens but following a 4-year period: through the tons of carcinogenic chemicals which fell in greek cities in such massive quantities. For the time being, [though, ]no more victims should be allowed.

On Monday morning, [the government] decided to use its big advantage. The prime minister itself addressed a call to the people of greece for the reinstitution of calmness & peace: it may be the case that there's no other example in world history of an appeal from the head of state that went as unnoticed as this one. In a little while, the news arrived: from Argostoli to Hania, the students were revolting. In Berlin, the greek consulate were occupied; in London, they were taking down the greek flag [from the consulate], even in Pafos, Cyprus they were protesting. Police stations were attacked throughout the country. There has even been a demo in Kastoria, presumably the first one following the end of the civil war [seeing as greece's border zone has been for the - often extreme - right wing, following a plan which gave the the status of "monitored zones", with all this status brings with it, in the late '40s/early '50s].

The governmental camp was paralyzed to such an extent that it couldn't even bring itself to order the aw-so-ever-accommodating-in-shelfing-accusations-of-scandals Justice: at the same time, the public prosecutor in the "claypot trial" suggested that the 2 cops accused of the crime be freed of all blame & those accused next to them treated likewise. [Regarding the claypot incident: watch this; then be informed that, according to the head of the police in Thessaloniki where this happened, the youth being severely beaten by plainclothes agents while not-so-plainclothes ones are watching passively was not, in fact, beaten but rather fell on a claypot & hurt himself accidentally; finally, keep in mind that the same prosecutor will, most probably publish nobody for this incident - 'most probably' because the actual decision was kept at bay as soon as the country went up in flames.] The stage was set for what followed in Athens, Thessaloniki or Larisa following the peaceful demos of the left parties & factions: buildings went up in flames one after the other. The government offered an - original indeed - response: it announced that the prime minister would meet the president of the republic - the following day - & would also meet the leaders of the opposition - by Tuesday noon.

That was the "go" for the generalized looting: the interested parties copied the message that, until Tuesday noon at least, police would not interfere. Organized gangs which bore no relation either to the hooded ones or to the protests destroyed every store they happened to chance upon, stealing anything - from TV's down to refreshments. Some suggested that it was a planned drawn by the government so as to steer the public opinion back along the lines of law & order, but this is untrue: they would have liked to have drawn this [plan], but they're not that competent.

Any doubts on this were dispersed by the surrealist statements made by the minister of the interior following the end of the meeting that the government peacefully ensconced itself into until midnight. While full-blown anarchy prevailed in the capital [of the state], Pavlopoulos made it clear that "the government cannot tolerate what is [already] happening" (!) without even hinting at counter-measures! In a new version of the "disproportionate threat" of the forest fires in the summer of 2007 [see also below], he asked the journalists to locate whose interests are served by the unrest & the looting. &, in a climax of detachment from reality, he underlined that "image is one thing & reality is another", meaning that the damages are not as big as the TV [channels] present them to be.

The people who will lay eyes today on the bombed-out city will form a different opinion. No conspiracy theory can stand against the shock caused by the images of destruction. It is self-evident that the government has failed in the elementary duty shared by every government in every country, namely the protection of the property of its citizens. It is the government itself that constitutes a "disproportionate threat" [to use the term coined by former minister Vyron Polydoras to describe what, in his "mind", was a plot organized by anarchists & fuck-knowns-who-else to burn down the country by means of forest fires].

It seemed that, in order to release the pressure,there was no other way than the government's resignation & the announcement of new elections. That's what [head of the socialist party PASOK] Giorgos Papandreou, as well as [head of the Coalition of The Radical Left/SYRIZA] Alexis Tsipras. Even if the govenrment leaves, though, either today or following the protests & the unrest of the coming days, as oppowed to it staying glued on the chair [of power], the crisis will continue to exist. The opposing parties are also part of a system which has reached its outer limits, & they will need to overcome therselves if they don't want to end share the fate of the current government.

Because, regardless of the hooded ones & the looting, this youngsters' & students' uprising in all cities of greece shows that Alexis' murder was merely the spark that set an entire swamp on fire.

There are those who speak & those who remain silent. Remain silent, although their role is to transmit information & speech. Their silence is deafening &, obviously, guilty.

Who could predict that the greek TV of consecutive this-just-in news bulletins, of the live correspondents for minor things, even of the concealed cameras, would - nearly in its entirety - voluntarily shed its most important weapon, of the image & of the on-the-spot/at-this-moment directness, judging a news item (murder in cold blood of a teenager by a cop and, following this, extensive unrest) which travelled around the world as only worth of degraded/partial coverage more or less during the entire first 24 hours?

Who could imagine that the [TV] channels which were transmitting live even the greek military navy leaving for Imia [a practice that freaked everybody out, as it made public strategic information at a time that the country was getting ready even for war] would adopt, on behalf of the "social peace", a vain - as we can deduce from its outcome - tactic of self-censorship?

Or could it be that the delayed & selective information flow just happened, as another Co-op between the Public & the Private Sector, in anticipation of the (unattainable) "gluing together" of the [state-sanctified] official version, of the smoothening out of the contradictions, of the classification of the mind-blowing incident as some easily digestible, recognizable scenario?

But, of course, better that our media honchos remain silent, since youtube, blogs, & the traditional "from mouth to mouth" left them hopelessly behind.

Better that they remain silent, since anyhow they don't know what it is they're talking about.

Because it would take more sincerity and complexity of thought, than the one we're accustomed to when it comes to televised speech, in order for them to explain to us who takes their outrage to the streets & why.

To explain to us why the "singularity" of Exarchia square was transmitted to Patras, Agrion, Ioannina, Mitilini, Komotini, Volos, & Larisa. To explain to us how the "young antiauthoritarians" were, this time around, not only young & not only antiauthoritarians, but they were certainly resolved not to desert the streets, despite the largest chemical attack this city has ever seen. To explain to us why, as Sky Radio broadcasted, the residents of the destroyed Alexandras Avenue were throwing curses & lemons from their balconies & onto the cops.

It would take a lesser amnesia for the media to put up front, amidst their surprise, words as "Koumis-Kanellopoulou," "Kaltezas," "Temponeras," "green all-stars," "Pakistanis get abducted [in absolute secrecy & denial, by the greek police, & for interrogation related to "terrorism"]," "praetores urbani [another piece of infuriating propaganda by former minster Vyron Polydoras, may the soil lining his grave be light]," "flying claypot [see above]" or to offer a retrospective of the (rich in sin & fiasco) history of especially the Special Task Force.

It would take a clarity larger than the one their Antoinettian autism secures in order to realize that the relation between stimulus & response can sometimes obey Chaos Theory, especially when the appropriate explosive substratum has been accumulated.

Since what else is the substratum of a society which, were we to believe the statistics, the feeling of absence of [viable] perspectives has nothing to be jealous of from a parisian suburb? Where the continuous deterioration of living standards is ornamented, day & night, by all sorts of humiliations by minor & major representatives of the state? Where political, economical, & syndicalist leaderships conspire in plain daylight against the first generation in the postwar era which is guaranteed to have a worse fate than that of its parents? Where the "state heavyweights" wear anomie & untouchability as medals, taking pride in their disgraces, related to the Vatopedi deals or any other deals?

Naturally, instead of [focusing on] these [disgraces], we can focus on the cinders that suddelny filled the capital's streets: but the cinders are not in a state to tell us anything &, when they appear, it's already too late.

So let's push away the troubling questions. Let the tape, [already] aired a thousand times over [in the past], play on: "a few traitors," "responsibility will be assigned to its fullest extent," "we condemn violence no matter where it originates," "the resignations were not accepted," "who's the puppet master of the hooded ones."

Maybe, even, it'll become necessary for the prime minister to hurry to the [greek] Pentagon, dressed in a bomber jacket, as the case was during last year's [forest] fires. In this case, at least, his attire will not be out of season...

The photo was shot yesterday night outside the police station on Kallidromiou street [a 5 minute walk from Exarchia square]; it shows three individuals in civilian attire, one of which wears a motorbike helmet & holds a crowbar, resting among the cops. The eyewitness who shot the photo commented to tvxs that they held that position for about half an hour.

Other witnesses that went through the same neighborhood today at noon reported that certain individuals with full-face masks & crowbars were parading without a care in the world among the cops standing guard outside the police station.

The photo & the reports are added to other info insisting that, in the last few days, agent provocateurs are active in damaging [property] aiming at reversing the public outrage at the murder. It is certain, for example, that certain of the hooded demonstrators who caused damages or threw molotov cocktails come from Exarchia square or are students. Nevertheless, anarchist groeps from the region of Exarchia square claim that they were not involved in the damaging of stores [which took place] on Saturday night in the region around Ermou street, moments after the murder.

[Here's another photo published as a follow-up

at both TVXS and]

The Eleftheros Typos photographer Kostas Tsironis, who shot the pictures showing cops aiming at demonstrators was fired by the newspaper. [TVXS's Mr. Kouloglou was similarly fired by st]

TVXS contacted Mr. Kotrotsos & he stated that he couldn't publish them before The photos were shot on Sunday afternoon in Alexandras Avenue. Mr. Tsironis handed them over to the newspaper director Serafeim Kotrotso a little while later. According to what Mr. Kotrotsos said to TVXS, Mr. Kotrotsos stated in the beginning that this is a big journalistic triumph. Continuing, though, he told him that this really concerned a firearm & not a pistol meant to shoot a flare. The photographer assured him that this is a 9mm Glock, one of those without safety. To certify this, he showed him another picture where the muzzle is visible. TVXS contacted him & Mr. Kotrotsos stated that eh couldn't publish the photos before consulting specialists, as this concerns an explosive political issue.

On Monday, the consultation with specialists took place; they confirmed that this is a firearm. In the afternoon of the same day, Mr. Tsironis was informed by the graphics people putting the newspaper together that the photos had been withdrawn from the cover page they were preparing for Tuesday. He complained to his superior in the photoreporters' department, who told him that the "maybe the pictures will be published in some inner page." The conversation occurred in the presence of many journalists who confirmed this sequence of events to TVXS. During the same conversation, the photographer said that the news about the existence of these photos had already leaked out & that, unless they were published in the front page, the journal would miss [the opportunity for] a great journalistic success.

The photos finally found their way into the inner pages of the paper, while they had already leaked out to international news agencies & were available on the internet. The photographer was informed not to cover the funeral of [Saturday's victim] Alexis Grigoropoulos, & a little while later he was informed that he's fired. S. Kotrotsos stated to TVXS that he had the intention of publishing the photos & that the photoreporter was fired on account of violating his exclusive contract with Eleftheros Typos by leaking out the photos. The photographer, though, claims that this is an attempt at political censorship. He says that he's not responsible for the photos leaking out, as many people working in the journal had access to them after they had been handed in. He also adds that, if they hadn't leaked out, "they would have never been published."

Following the publication of the pictures, the police announced that there's an internal investigation regarding the incident. Nobody has contacted the photographer.

On Saturday night, December 6 2008, a murderer took out his gun & executed in cold blood a citizen, Alexandros. What is even more tragic in this murder is that the murderer, a policeman by profession, killed a 16 years old kid.

The incident happened in Exarchia square, at the intersection of Tzavella & Messologiou streets. A location where any one of us could be at. A location which could part of any neighborhood. The eyewitnesses of the incident report that the murder was predated by a plain word exchange. But the Proud Greek Murderer could not swallow the insult & he took out his gun. & he executed. In cold blood.

This murder is not a random incident. Neither is it isolated. It is yet another link in the endless series of murderous attacks carried out by the various police stations/departments. Let us not forget the murder of the pakistani immigrant in Petrou Ralli street, while he was waiting in the queue to aply for asylum (in a queue where the state itself had directed him to stand). Let us not forget that a woman was murdered recently in Leukimmi, as a result of the Riot Squad's actions, during a march against the installation of a dumpster in their neighborhood. Unfortunately, the list has no end. Let us not forget the tortures perpetrated by policemen in police stations & prisons. Let us not forget the intentionally murderous attitude of the law enforcers, with countless chemicals, fire bombs, shots, beatings, in every instance where people take to the streets, during strikes, student [demonstrations], local issues (it's not long ago that the police choked the entire region around the High Voltage Station in Argyroupoli using teargas & beat up our neighbors). This is their role. Let us not have any illusions: to beat up & to murder so as to transmit the message "we & our bosses are the law, every one resisting will be beaten up mercilessly & there's still more."

& who are their bosses? Could they be the owners of bank branches? Could they be the owners of chain stores? Could it be the president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce & Industry? Could they be all those pressing for more work from our side with less money & inferior security? Could they be all those getting rich through the the interest rates, while thousands of people deteriorate to despair? Could they be all those using profiteering, both against us & against the producers, through the prices they impose on supermarkets for bare necessities? Could they be the ones who reap super profits in good times while, in bad times, resort to layoffs & paycuts? Then, yes, it only makes sense that the public outrage is also directed towards them. It makes sense & it is appropriate that police stations, banks, & chain stores are being attacked. They talk about material damages while a new death has been added [to the list]. If personal property is the only thing of interest to them, then the revolters are justified. We have to understand that, when horror does not awaken consciousness, the smell of burning is necessary.

Is it possible that we take no stance amidst all these incidents & the uprising in progress? Can we ever be with the ones who always request "order & calmness?" Who always, even during the [german] occupation [in WW2] or the military regime [1967-1974], they only wanted to "mind their own business & live their own inconsequential life?" Who see "provocation" & "familiar strangers" perpetually & omnipresently? Who always interpret society with a terminology of conspiracy, used to leadership playacting in their inapproachable offices? Let us not be swayed that the incidents concern, each & every time, "those on strike," the "university students," the "youngsters." It's the people who's on the streets these [last few] days, without "central management," "instructors" & "the enlightened avant-guard." The media to be used are deciced freely by every revolter. They concern us, as they [also] concern the residents of Exarchia square who took a stance in what was presented as "hide-&-seek vendetta between policemen & anarchists." During the weekend, they were throwing claypots from their balconies & were demanding that the Riot Squad teams are removed & that chemical spraying stops. They took a stance, they didn't pretend to be Pontius Pilate. They took a stance against state repression. Hence, all of us also need to take a stance.We have to put forth, up, & against our resistance to the imposition of a state of fear & "in cast" [unforgettable statement of the prime conspirator of the aforementioned greek junta, in which he informed greek citizens that he intents to "put greece in the cast"], of a police state.

No State Murder Unanswered

Freedom To All Those Arrested

Silence Is Complicity

To start with, I'd like to inform you that I'm a university student in Patras & what I report below is an eyewitness account of incidents I experienced & not somebody else's

Unfortunately, Patras saw the resurrection of the "ghost" of '91, when Nikos Temponeras was murdered. In that case, the parakratikoi [the other-other hand of the greek state: the activist leg of the greek extreme right wing helping the greek state out in a time honored tradition going at least as far back as the '50s] counter-occupied [the already occupied schools] throughout greece after they had been incited to do exactly that 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 - which party is ruling the country today, by the way] Ioannis Kalampokas.

Today, December 9, saw 2 demos in Patras. One of them at 11 in the morning with zero unrest. The other one at 3 in the afternoon. During this latter demo, extensive unrest was notable. I'd like to remark that no vandalism against small, privately-owned businesses took place. The targets were the Germanos [electronics chain store] & WIND [mobile telephony] stores. Nobody's property was damaged.

At some point, certain members of the well-known fascist organization Hrisi Avgi (Golden Dawn), together with plainclothes agents - & not infuriated citizens, as the mass media insist [on calling them] - started throwing rocks & chasing remonstrators with their clubs. For this reason, rudimentary barricades were put together in the streets around the University of Patras department [located there]. These barricades, though, were violated relatively soon with the help of the Riot Squad which kept throwing teargas at large.

When the barricades were torn apart, the people started retreating little by little. In the front, street fights between antiauthoritarians & neonazis-ONNED members. Behind them, members of student collectives formed an outer shell [typically called a "chain" & made up by people holding on to each other & to banners, with the rest inside it; much like a fence] in order to protect themselves. The neonazis were running with clubs & knives towards the demonstrators, while at the same time they were hurling rocks [at them].

When, eventually, the neonazis together with the ONNED members got way too close to the people, those people started running panic-stricken. The "infuriated citizens" were yelling slogans against immigrants, anarchists, & leftists. Slogans such as "Anarchists, sons of whores" etc., together with the fact that, later, they took to the direction of the immigrant shanty town & took out knives (a well-documented way of attack, as far as Golden Dawn members go) made it clear once & for all who these "infuriated citizens," as they are called by mass media, are.

There are even photos in indymedia patras proving that those damaging stores are the same with those chasing after the demonstrators. Here, I'd like to emphasize that those committing arson & causing damages have no relation whatsoever with either the antiauthoritarian circles or any left wing factions. They are mpahaloi [a specific subclass of people subscribing to some vague nihilist ideology - if they subscribe to any ideology at all - & in it for the excitement of wreaking havoc], agents provocateurs, & hooligans...

According to certain information (I haven't crosschecked it), a demonstrator was stabbed & carried to the hospital. As I'm writing this (3 in the morning), the center of Patras is chokefull of armed neonazis & plainclothes agents. Personally, I'm not sleeping at home tonight, because I can't get there...

For one more time, the shadow state acts with the police's blessings. Naturally, it's the government who's behind all this & who's the sole one responsible for this parade of shadow state antics & violence.

The only way to crush terrorism is mas demos... The government's aim is plain to see: to keep the people away from demonstrating by using violence & terrorism. If they wanted to catch the "hooded ones" they'd done it! The mass media play the role of the sycophant repeating inaccuracies...

To the streets, then, to crush terror...

The youngsters of Petroupoli taught cops & parents a good lesson.

Wednesday, December 10 2008. About 100 youngsters stand in a narrow street across the Petroupoli PD. The cops are hiding behind a vehicle 30 meters to the left of the PD. The outrage is accumulating & some stones are hurled. The mayor - a PASOK [greek socialist party, in essence what this country can call a center party] - the vice-mayor etc. are trying to talk sense into them. Alongside one finds the usual KKE [greek communist party, widely perceived as a stalinist party] youth members are talking against SYRIZA [left progressive coalition attracting a lot of attention - & venom - recently] [members of] which demonstrated earlier today. At some point, the sparkle is there. Youngsters grab trashcans & seal the avenue off. They start a fire & the traffic is interrupted. They attack & stones fall like hail. Smiling faces, groups of passionate kids stone the PD. The cops are hiding inside, while a humongous mercedes (who owns it, in fact?) attracts [a hail of] stones. People are gathering in nearby minor streets, while slogans add to the moment. Two cops try to run into the PD. They shield themselves while stones land on them, they run like rabbits. Youths come from the nearby minor streets & unite with the rest. The kids break claypots while the PD receives a hail of stones. They push forward, throw the trashcans in front of the PD, & they approach even more - the guard's cabinet receives the first stones. The initial hesitation & fear is transformed into nerve & decisiveness. A cop gets up on the 3rd floor & throws a flare into the crowd. The kids disperse into the narrow street, they're all kids - 15, 16, 17 years old - but the return. HAVOC, they push forward & don't give a damn. An elderly person incites them to attack the cops & not the stores. Big deal - the kids themselves had been repeating this, NO STORES, JUST COPS! & then, a Riot Squad shows up at the lower part of Petroupoleos Avenue. The kids receive a sequence of teargas canisters. A youngster tries to jerk a trashcan away from the place in front of the KKE building to seal off the street & an old-timer KKE member goes into amok & jumps him - poor guy's setting for a heart attack - red in the face (wearing the party's war paint, it seems!). Similarly, KNE [KKE's youth league] members harass them verbally, while the Riot Squad go on chasing after them (well done KNE, great solidarity to a bunch of kids chased by the Riot Squad). Luckily, an elderly but equally young [at heart] person stood for the kids, telling the KNE members that this is the real youth & you'll ever have them. The KNE members shut their trap &, immediately, the kids went on running the avenue uphill while the Riot Squad was attacking (there was this fat guy among them that was totally not up to it; where are you sending this guy, no comradely solidarity among those cops). At that point, a youngster offers by way of slogan BANKS! The stones from the kids-without-hoods bring down bank windowshops & they they keep going towards the square. & thus were the first banks in Petroupoli attacked. GOOD START!!! (& don't tell me that Millenium & ASPIS [both of them banks with nation-wide networks] are little business...)

That's what I managed to see, the rest can add more info.

Well done kids, you're the best, you are the ones having dignity & no one else, leave the rest behind in the cafe's guarding their parties' trash. In every neighborhood, in every suburb, riots will keep breaking out, get a clue, there's a spantaneous revolt going on & no one's leading it!

Stay well kids.

We want a better world!
Help us

We are no terrorists, "hooded individuals", "familiar strangers"
We are your kids!
These, the familiar strangers....
We have dreams - don't kill our dreams!
We have momentum - don't put a stop to our momentum.
You have also been young.
Now you run after money, care only for the "packaging", got fatter, went bald, you forgot!
We were expecting you to support us
We were expecting you to care,
you to make us proud if only for once.
In vain!
You live fake lives, have bowed your head, dropped your pants and wait the day you'll die.
You don't imagine, you don't fall in love, you don't create!
You just buy & sell.
Matter everywhere
Love, nowhere – truth, nowhere
Where are the parents; Where are the artists;
Why don't the step out to protect us;
They are killing us!
Help us

The Kids

P.S.: Use no more teargas on us - we're crying on our own accord.

Their citadel has no observatory, but classes meant for teaching. That's where they put together their wall of protection. This is the Athens Polytechnic, which normally counts 13,000 students. Three days after the death of a young, 15 years old boy, killed by a policeman on December 6 a few meters away [from here], the Polytechnic became the principal fort of of that which many among them call "civl war."

"They" are students, they are active youths, boys, girls. The hoods & the scarfs keep them protected from teargas & also hide their beards & their earrings.

An entire generation, in fact: they're between 15 & 35 years old. An entire society, also: those payed a minimum-wage, young workers, militants of the far left, & others unattached. It's their rioting gear - dark clothing, Converse shoes - that blurs the lines. Their leitmotif is the hate against "Cops, Pigs, Murderers," equivalent to [the french variant] "CRS, SS." At the foot of the graffiti-covered brown walls of the University, behind which they regroup in between street clashes, they speak nothing but this language. The institute, which serves them as a camp for regrouping, has galvanized them: it's there that, in 1974, the student revolt which precipitated the fall of the colonels' regime - a military dictatorship which governed greece from 1967 to 1974 - started. Today, the law prohibits law enforcers from breaking in.

This, the night of December 8, is the third continuous white night[/allnighter] for certain people in this advantageous point. They daydream about their turn to overthrow a government, that of center-right Kostas Karamanlis which is actually in power right now.

They hold this government responsible for corruption & for [promoting] social inequality. Responsible also for their starting salaries of 650 euro per month, for their necessity to live together, for many of them, with ther parents until they're 30 years old. "We have no job, no money, a state which falters because of the crisis, & all they offer as an answer is arming the policemen," recaps one of them. "Well, maybe what we do is not right, but at least we're doing something." The burning planks, which keep them warm at each one of the three entrances of the Polytechnic, light up the dark circles underneath their eyes more than their barricades. Because, [this day also] as the days before & apart from fighting, they have also demonstrated within the day on the streets of the capital.

This Monday, the demo started from Omonoia square at the end of the afternoon. But the events have degenerated very quickly, just like yesterday & the day before it. Some assumed a pacifist method. But among them, the "hooded ones" wanted more. This is the most violent night since December 6.

The center of Athens is ravaged in their wake. Inside a perimeter of many square kilometers, which have been cordoned off for the occasion, there are hardly 50 meters which have escaped their destruction. Here, a cinema entirely burned; there, dozens of burning stores. The phone booths are attacked systematically, just like bus stops. The fractured windowshops are innumerable. The christmas tree which was decorating the big central Syntagma square quickly ended up as charcoal. A demonstrator yells through a megaphone "Calm down, guys, calm down!" In vain.

At around 10pm, the demo is dispersing & many return to the HQ. There, in the Polytechnic, where, after many hours of playing the cat & the mouse with the Riot Squad, they cough, they spit, their throat feeling abrassive from the teargas which cover the entire city center. There where there's cries, explosions, screams amidst fire vehicles' sirens which are as numerous as the policemen. But also there where, eventually, in the repossessed cafeteria, one can hope for some lukewarm coffee.

"Maybe you had to depart so that we wake up"

Inside the school's yard, the "civil war" is being organized methodically. In a corner, sheltered from stray looks, a group makes Molotov cocktails. In another one, scooter & motorbike owners do the rounds in the nearby regions. Finally, in yet another corner, one finds the quarter of the "hooded ones," all of them in their black uniform & a bit incisive.

In the seventh & highest floor of one of the buildings deep in the yard, the administration itself is there, reclusive. They're about a dozen, keeping guard in turns. "In the beginning, we were more numerous, but yes, people begin to grow tired," offers by way of explanation the University's vice-president, Gerasimos Spathis. He observes with benevolence, & even with enthusiasm, what happens in his zone.

Mostly because the professorial corps, as well as the University's administrative body, have been profoundly opposed to the government, & in particular to its "department privatization" policy, since times immemorial. Hence, with a view of the "hooded ones" who rip slates off the terraces to throw them, Mr. Spathis encourages from the seventh floor where he found a refuge: "This is a lesser evil," he estimates; "if it weren't this way, there'd be deaths." Amidst apartment buildings, at a crossroads of four narrow, dirty streets, flowers & candles have been arranged at the spot where Andreas Grigoropoulos died, on December 6, following a shot fired by a policeman. A notepad with blank pages has also been left there, together with a roll of Scotch tape & four pens.

Dozens of words written & hung on a piece of wall over the candles. A posthumous message: "Have a good trip Andrea. Maybe you had to depart so that we wake up. You'll always be in our hearts, the last innocent blood." On Tuesday, a [secondary school] student demo & another one of teachers have been scheduled in Athens & other large cities, as well as Andreas Grigoropoulos' funeral. On Wednesday, a 24-hour general strike has been announced against government reforms.

No comments: