"Night of terror - Madness and lunacy in Athens"
reads the headline of one Greek newspaper this morning; "Night of agony and terror - Athens, Pireaus and Thessaloniki at the mercy of hooded individuals" reads another, and the rest follow suite. Three days of mass protests
, demonstrations... and finally rioting, rampage and looting
across Greece have followed Saturday's fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy
by police in Athens' bohemian/anarchist neighborhood of Exarchia
.#griots posts on Twitter
have been following events as they unfold (and if you check out last night's twitter history from blogger thibet
you can get an idea of the chaos as it occurs as he makes his way through central Athens). Many are also photoblogging on Flickr
with the tag "griots".
Live streaming news from Skai Channel
(in Greek, but lots of street action; requires windows media plugin for FF
Not a few voices on the left theorize that official action (or inaction) are calculated to push the citizenry, historically wary of police action
, into welcoming, even demanding repressive measures:
As I write, parts of the historic center of the Greek capital remain a battle zone with police forces chasing demonstrators and several buildings set ablaze. This writer cannot help the feeling that the police is actually permitting, if not leading, ‘extreme elements’ to create mayhem in order for it to have a perfect excuse to impose a state of emergency or some similar package of ’security’ measures.
- blogger st3pp3nw0lf
Leftists protests and demonstrations are common occurrences in Greece, and even more dramatic anarchist actions are mostly tolerated explains former U.S. diplomat Brady Kiesling
: "Greek police have limited power to use force against these groups because public sentiment will not tolerate it. This has resulted in a delicate balance in Exarchia, with neither pushing the other too far. Many Greeks cite the events of November 17, 1973 – a day that is still commemorated, when the army stormed the Athens Polytechnic University and killed a number of striking students – as a reason why the police must be restricted. ... The police stay out of certain areas, unless there's a major emergency, and the anarchists don't trash things badly unless there's a good reason," Mr. Kiesling says. But "once someone gets killed, the doctrine is massive retaliation."
Others suggest that the relative savagery of this storm of rioting has been exacerbated by desperate asylum seekers
who exist on the fringe of a society that is on the front lines of European countries inundated by refugees, but which has few resources for (and some say little interest in
) supporting this unprecedented influx of humanity at even the most basic levels.
Managing editor of the Greek Newspaper Kathimerini
lets no one off the hook in his scathing and cautionary op-ed on the incident and its aftermath, in which he warns that all interests and factions, left and right, will try to make capital of "Anger's Teen Martyr
The rising tide of anger and despair of the past few years now has its martyr, a 15-year-old boy whose blood will be used to bind together every disparate protest and complaint into a platform of righteous rage against all the ills of our society (endemic and imported). ... If Greece had already appeared difficult to govern, it will now be out of control, as we can ascertain by the government’s grovelling and the police force’s spiteful inaction in the face of widespread rioting across the country over the past two days.