much as we want it to be, life isn't so much like a movie. A concussion
grenade explodes in Kaniggos square in Athens. Roughly 150 anarchists
with poles and hammers stand in silence, undaunted by what seems like a
premature attack by the police. The pigs, in formation down the street,
also stay quiet as if they are questioning the false start in their
heads. If it was a Hollywood motion picture, once the blaring noise of
the grenade ripped through the peace a furious clash would erupt. But
the script wasn't written with box-office sales in mind, this is a
demonstration in Athens, Greece, where the standoffs between anarchists
and the police are always unbearably too long for my short MTV
generated attention span.
After a few minutes that seem to me
like decades, comrades nonchalantly turn their back to the police and
slowly begin to walk in the opposite direction. Nothing epic initiates
our choice to act. About ten comrades wearing motorcycle helmets
casually begin destroying the door to what I believe to be a government
office, but honestly, if the building doesn't have aMcD on it I have no
clue what it actually is. A younger comrade lobs a pole at a
surveillance camera placed far above him on another unknown building.
Stones fly over his masked head shattering the windows of the same
building. Another concussion grenade explodes in the air.
riot police (here they're called MAT) and the newly formed Delta team
of police on their mopeds begin their charge. With the help of the
poisonous Israeli tear gas burning my skin, familiar feelings from
December arise. Stones fly from our side with the hopes of stopping the
police charge, but the cops are too many. Comrades run in two
directions; some to the Polytechnic and others towards Exarchia square.
run - Joe Strummer "Police On My Back" style - towards the Polytechnic.
Reminiscent of last September's RNC, one comrade jumps on to a car in
the middle of the chase and strikes a pose. We chaotically smash into
each other as we all try to squeeze our way through, at the time
noticeably small, gates of the asylum. Once inside the no-police zone,
the cat and mouse game I learned in December is the default plan of
action. We rush out of the gates and hurl molotovs and stones and the
cops chase us back into the Polytechnic with tear gas and concussion
grenades. The police, being the undignified mess they are, even toss
the stones we threw at them back at us.
Meanwhile in Exarchia,
flaming dumpsters barricade each cobble stone alley to the square. The
street fighting continues well into the night much longer than at the
The wider situation.
March 9th, about 100 fascists held a demonstration in Omonia square
against the recent increase in Greek immigration. The infamous nazi
group Golden Dawn took the square, usually frequented by Asian and
African immigrants, much like fascists groups in the States that often
choose historically black neighborhoods to stage protests. Leftists
groups staged a counter protest that begin two hours before the
fascists were set to take the square and the anti-racist groups entered
a courthouse occupied as a living space by immigrants to help ward off
an attack by Golden Dawn.
The police surrounded the fascists
demonstration under the pretense of making buffer between the fascists
and the immigrants and leftists in the occupied courthouse but it is
well known the cops and fascists in Greece have a long history, which
dates back to the Junta, of working together. The most recent example
of their partnership was seen in December when undercover policeman and
Golden Dawn attacked several protesters and insurgents with knives
during the uprising.
At roughly 7 pm, a clash ensued between the
leftists and immigrants and the fascists and police. As fascists hurled
stones at the courthouse and those standing outside to protect it, iron
bars and concrete slabs came raining down from the courthouse. Road
flares exploded over head as the fight began. Injuries and arrests
occurred but the exact numbers are not yet confirmed.
years, Greece, due to its location, has become the first location for
immigrants arriving to Europe and human trafficking on the Greek ports
is rampant. Beatings and murders of immigrants by the police and
fascists are frequent in Athens. Fascists are known to stab
undocumented workers at their makeshift street stands, a common source
of employment for immigrants unable to work legally. Weekly, immigrants
are forced to register their papers at the immigration offices where
they are met by attacks from the police.
Attacks on anarchists
are also common, two squats in Athens have been torched by fascists in
the past months. In last year's fascists demonstration, two anarchists
were stabbed as the riot policed attacked comrades with fascists
stabbing at them with knives and axes behind the police line. Due to
the allegiance between the cops and the fascists, it was expected that
the anarchist march would not make it to Omonia square from Kaniggos
yesterday's clashes would have occurred in the States, I'm certain that
the anarchist choros (meaning "mileu" literally translated as "the
space") would be talking about it for years to come. But in Greek
standards, the street fights were minor, very little property was
destroyed and, sadly, the anarchist contingent never made it to Omonia
square to confront the fascist as planned. Among the comrades,
frustration and disappointment with yesterday's events is the
consensus. In the States, such a widespread dissatisfaction would
doubtlessly lead to name-calling and finger-pointing but this wont be
the case here; there is no Greek anarchist message board to talk shit.
Instead of specific people, poor planning takes the blame. Although
fascists and revolutionaries have a long history of conflict, the most
memorable being the Greek civil war, large anti-fa actions like
yesterday are relatively new. The fascists who are small in numbers
compared to left-wing or revolutionary groups often act in small groups
and rarely call demonstrations that would exhibit their size.