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Greek riots

by talos Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 04:17:47 AM EST

By all accounts Alexis Grigoropoulos was an unlikely martyr. A "good kid", top student and nice with friends, he was born into relative upper middle class privilege and wealth. He attended good private schools. His mother and father were successful professionals. He didn't hang out in Exarchia regularly, and all his friends agree that he wasn't some sort of anarchist. A progressive kid, sure, but not someone who habitually clashes with the police.

He seems to have been, however, in the wrong place, the wrong time and he didn't realize the "cops" who are patrolling Exarchia, meant deadly business - more like rival gang members than cops. This was about to cost him his life and produce the most violent extensive and persistant rioting the country has ever seen in peacetime, since the Polytechnic uprising against the Junta in 1973.

promoted by afew



[by: murplejane]

So it started: like something seen ten times daily in the neighborhood. The "anarchist heartland" of Athens, the Mecca of local protest. A no-go area for the police, supposedly, despite the fact that the neighbourhood has been frequently overrun by the authorities. It is a weird kind of lawlessness: it was, and probably still is, the safest neighborhood say, for a woman to walk alone at night (in a generally safe city, comparatively speaking).

Because of the frequent skirmishes with various anarchist and anti-authoritarian groups (understand that the majority aren't Wobbly activists, nor Kropotkin scholars - they are mostly teenagers with a very broad and possibly slanted idea of what anarchism is: they don't like cops mostly) the cops send the "worst" kind of police: untrained ramboid "special guards".  

Two of those Special Guards were on patrol Saturday night. Witnesses state that they were jeered when passing by Exarchia square by a group of kids. Water-bottles were possibly thrown at the patrol car. The two officers left, they parked their car a couple of blocks away, they notified a squad of riot police that were in the area, and they proceeded to the square. There they start threatening and swearing at the group of kids - quite possibly (though this is still murky AFAIK) a different or larger group of kids - from a distance of possibly twenty meters. The kids swear back. It's like a street quarrel, only one side is armed and dangerous. No side moves towards the other. There are dozens of witnesses to all of this because the area is packed with cafes and shops. The police officer by all eyewitness accounts raises his gun, aims and shoots at a figure from the other side. he shoots at Alexandros Grigoropoulos, 15, not an "Exarchia regular", who dropped by that day to meet some friends. The bullet hits the kid in the heart. He drops. Friends think he slipped and try to pick him up. They realize he's dead. The news spreads like wildfire.

I reported the following in a comment here, on December 7th:

It's difficult to describe, because it is unfolding right now even, but we're seeing large-scale, uncontrollable riots here, going on for a second night. Although there is a long history of anarchist and autonomist actions and (mostly) reactions, bordering often on a cowboy-and-indian style ritualized confrontation with the cops, last night (and today and tonight), the rioting was unprecedented in participation, in speed of reaction and in geographical extent. As I write this parts of Athens are burning, main University buildings are occupied by students, and looting has started. Most shops in Athens' main commercial boulevard, Ermou Str. have been burnt or smashed, and riots are ongoing in the country's second largest city, Thessaloniki, as well as Patras, Ioannina, Mytilene, Iraklion ,Chania, Agrinio, almost every town larger than 20k people it seems. From what I understood from the description of the Paris riots three years ago, this is pretty close in terms of the extent of damage inflicted on the city.

The trigger was the murder of the 16 year old kid in Exarchia, the alternative/atiauthoritarian hotbed of Athens, in what eyewitnesses describe as a shooting in cold blood by a Special Guard (like a policeman only less trained and more eager to shoot as not a few recent incidents have shown). But the tension that has created the possibilities of riots has been brewing for some time now, certainly since last year's student protests, when the police started a de facto feud with anyone under 30. And it isn't just the youth. The police were pelted with lemons thrown by apartment residents of all ages from their balkonies, I heard, as they were passing through Alexandras Ave and the composition of the crowd yesterday (2500 three hours after the event at midnight, of all ages), included some not so young faces.

There is a climate of utter disappointment with the government (and the political system as a whole I'd say), coupled with the grimmest mood I can remember, insecurity, high unemployment, high cost of living along with low paying and precarious work especially for young people - plus of course the ominous shadow of the Crisis.

IOW, in terms of societal weather: its rioty with a good chance of local revolts.

Rioty indeed. Even tonight the heat is still on and it seems like its not abating. Fires are still burning. There were up till a short while ago possibly 1000 people barricaded inside the Polytechnic schools. Looters were near lynched in down-town Athens. Neonazis "assisted" shopowners against the rioters in the port city of Patras.

Since Saturday there seems to have been few towns in Greece without some sort of disturbance: In the usually pacific island of Chios there was a demonstration of 1000 people. Protests were reported in the staunchly conservative town of Gytheio in the Southern Peloponnese. Down-town Thessaloniki is burning since Saturday.

Monday was the day the schools sprang into action. Pissed off but cheery, mourning but laughing, they flooded town and city centers. In Athens a humongous demonstration poured in from the more or less affluent Northern and Southern Suburbs, from the working class Western Suburbs, from the city's downtown semi-ghettos, from everywhere in Attiki. They marched to besiege Attiki Police Headquarters. There, students hurled stones and invective against the guards. At some point three students moved towards the building, stripped and fell on the steps of the Police HQ, as corpses:

In Pireus (Athens' port), students turned the square where the local police is headquartered into a... well a rather original work of conceptual art, but flipping over all civilian police vehicles:

Moving stuff, that had even conservative commentators "understanding" the students' rage. But the violence kept coming and it wasn't just clashes with the police, or against ministries and banks (I noticed that no one minded when banks were burned: everybody seems to love a burning bank these days). Monday night along with massive, and strong demonstrations of the parties of the left, small anarchist groups spread chaos by breaking shop windows, burning and/or looting shops of all sizes. This was a first and an indication that this wasn't your run of the mill anarchists who had up till now the political sense not to antagonize small business owners by destroying their shops. The looting spread. In Pireus' and Patission str. near the Polytechnic, rather poor commercial areas, looters that had nothing to do with the demonstrations rampaged through the broken shops, large and small. A certain part of the young demonstrators from all over the suburbs (local and immigrant) came to the demonstration singing football chants and ready for a different type of action. The poor and the marginalized in the city's center saw this as an opportunity. With cops overwhelmed and unprepared for anything of this scale (no longer 50-100 "anarchists" -  they were facing over a thousand people going berserk, drunk on the joy of destruction) the ability of the police to intervene collapsed. It was a free-for-all of looting in the city center. The same more or less for the country's biggest cities - and beyond Greek students occupied the Greek embassy in Berlin for a while, demonstrations of Greek students happened outside the embassies in London, paris and Madrid (I think). The state seemed to collapse.

As Athens' huge Christmas tree was burning early Tuesday morning, along with tens of cars, there was certainly no joyful festive mood.

Today, events started slow. Students had the day off (officially: the ministry of education declared the day a holiday). The teachers demo was pretty much uneventful. Minor skirmishes down-town were tame enough for spectators to gather around them. The funeral of Alexis was respectful, silent, grieving and massive. Then the police units near the funeral started displays of strength. There were pistol shots fired by the police's motorcycle squad members. Violence broke out nearby. Then as the day ran out the riots continued, all over Greece again. A friend who was checking out the situation from up close described the people on the street breaking stuff as "undercover police, common law criminals and assorted bums" (but yet another as "the true face of modern disadvantaged proletarian youth bereft of any political ambition whatsoever). These are people a lot of anarchists even, are pissed off with.

There is, I repeat, no obvious end in sight. The government is at a loss. The police is demoralized, pissed-off, incompetent and dangerous at the same time. Will the riots fizzle off? Will the students back down? I don't think so, though there is an obvious difference in intent and consequences between the organized students (and not just schools - the universities have also joined the demonstrations and the hullabaloo) and the shop-window smashers (though the intersection of these two sets is certainly not null). Will the latter give up?

Tomorrow the unions in both public and private sectors have called for a general strike (planned before the riots started) protesting against the government's economic policies (in short 28 billion Euro bail-out for the bankers - who haven't even offered proof that they need it - versus half a billion for the cohesion/anti-poverty fund - less than half of what was promised last year). The mix might be very dangerous. The papers are suggesting that if the riots continue past Thursday the government is considering enacting "special measures". Meanwhile the fascists are already in the streets mingling with infuriated shop-owners, building their base for the next decade possibly. The Conservative government has also the suicide option of quitting - but it seems unlikely that it would voluntarily do so since they are trailing in the polls by as many as 7 points behind the Socialists, despite a total Green/Left vote that surpasses the 20% mark.


Lastly, let me sum up the reasons that have converged to bring this enormous riot to a start: ubiquitous police brutality against youth, immigrants, the weak - brutality that routinely goes unpunished as it is swept under the rug; deep systemic corruption and perception of corruption; increasing income gaps; entry-level monthly wages in specialized jobs < 700 euro that don't visibly lead to something better; precarity for the under 35s; a life-suppressing yet utterly ineffective educational system; the death of hope; the break-up of existing social patterns; the decay of public services; a justice system plagued with scandal itself; massive bailouts for the bankers - the same bankers who simply refuse to enact laws that they don't like (no, really). And on top of that the Crisis promising even more immiseration and discomfort... Now that I look at the list, the question really is: why didn't this explosion happen sooner?

Display:
Great run-down, thanks talos!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 01:55:49 AM EST
Great rundown. Must be frontpaged. The situation is closely watched in Italy by the Anomolous Wave movement. Their Uniriot site has daily coverage with an report in English also (from edu-factory.org). (Uniriot is one of the main groups within the movement.)

The violence is precisely what the Italian student movement is seeking to avoid at all costs while what has happened in Greece is exactly what former president Cossiga would like to occur in Italy: Let the students go on a rampage and destroy property without police intervention so as to turn public opinion against them.

There will be a general strike on December 12th throughout Italy by the largest labour union CGIL and the student movement. The other unions have chosen not to participate. They prefer negotiating with the rightwing government- or more correctly, caveing into government diktats. The rightwing government has once again succeeded in dividing the labour union front with promises just as in the 2002-2005 period.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 02:42:57 AM EST
great coverage, talos!

the last paragraph was stunning journalism.

you'll likely go far, me lad, please keep us updated.

compliments also on superb english.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 06:06:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's been a perennial problem for millennia now:

bored armies.

you equip and mentally prepare thugs to guard the goodies, they hang around trying to stay battle-ready, and eventually their own desire to prove how macho they are triggers something colossally stupid, such as this.

i've a nasty feeling greece is just the fore-runner for other places, where also an inchoate rage is building, dying to release.

the remark about no-one minding seeing banks burn twanged some ancient chord when i read it.

right wing governments beware, your bluff is starting to be called, bigtime.

people have a limit...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 06:13:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo: i've a nasty feeling greece is just the fore-runner for other places, where also an inchoate rage is building, dying to release.

i have the exact same feeling.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:10:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Commentators on my Greek blogs that live abroad, noted exactly what you point out: the acute interest all over Europe is due to the fact that they are projecting their own fears  - that these are the results of a European policy that has transformed societies in analogous manners and might produce similar results. The fissure occurred at the weakest link.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:48:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's also say there is a certain similarity with the French Riots of 2005 and those - a big difference being the social segregation of the projects in France, which prevented extension of the riots to, say, students.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misčres
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:02:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To me, France's 2005 riots didn't manage to unite the student protest with the suburb one because of the unattended for racial issue. There is now absolutely no way that middle class representatives may get involved in a suburbian revolt: they just do not feel like being in the same country.

A free fox in a free henhouse!
by Xavier in Paris on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 07:43:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could write the last paragraph for Italy with minor changes-- say € 900 instead of € 700...a small consulation where that is the cost of a month's rent.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:10:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the same bankers who simply refuse to enact laws that they don't like (no, really).

Sounds interesting, tell us more.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 07:46:54 AM EST
There has been a huge an persistent uproar over the fact that the banks seem to disregard most court decisions against them, as long as they can and even after that.
A recent example: there was a government law that protected small debtors by stating that no residence could be confiscated by the banks that issued the housing loan, if the remaining debt was under 20.000 Euros. But there are many recent cases in which the banks did exactly that: they put the small debtors house on auction. And yes, if the debtor is willing to undertake a huge legal expense he probably will be vindicated in court. But the problem is that a poor debtor can't afford such a legal battle. Over the past few weeks, leftist groups have been showing up in some auctions and breaking them up - nobody calls the police on them.

The same with say, no warnings about transaction fees in ATMs, unlawful penalties for quick repayment of debt and a host of other practices (not to mention a cartel like coordination which is certainly against anti-trust laws, but "surprisingly" the relevant regulators are understaffed and underresourced). The banks' attitude seems to be "we got an army of lawyers - and anyway what are you gonna do about it".

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:43:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like the ongoing legal argument about bank charges for letters in the UK, where the banks have been charging those that exceed their allowed overdrafts in the region of £30 for sending them a letter telling them this. which in effect is a way of disguising excessive interest charges on loans to the poor. It turned out that these charges were totalling several billion pounds a year, and are illegal under various consumer credit acts. People started taking the banks to court over this, and the banks began paying some people off to avoid precedent setting court cases. We're still waiting for the final legal opinions to make the banks pay their stolen money back.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:53:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes apparently banks here too pay you if you take them to court but refuse to apply court decisions to their general practices. Thus an early repayment fee is judged illegal in court, the bank gives the money back to the borrower, but continues to charge the fee.  A government more interested in the clients than the bankers could easily have put an end to this. They don't.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:06:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I got a bank account and a bank (debit) card when I was attenting university: it was compulsory so that the state can send our stipendium with bank transfer rather than cash. What's more, our university made a contract with a single bank for this.

One year, looking at my account traffic report, I was surprised to discover transfer fees subtracted from my stipendium. I went to the bank to complain. I thought I'll need to fume at them about how they dare to take money from me that's mine, given that they are under contract with my university not me. However, the clerk just said no problem, the bank will give back the money if I fill out a form. (Which they did).

I immediately realised the scam they were running: they pay it back only to those who bothered to look at their account traffic reports and then bothered to go to their bank and complain, and kept the money of all the losers who didn't.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:47:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the US, this sort of thing is lawful. They actually tell you about the fees beforehand, but it's not like you can do anything about it, except refuse the student loan.
by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 04:42:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great diary talos, I'm just sorry for the necessity of it.

there's a similar article in the Independent today which I'm going to quote in full (sorry : don't do it often)

Independent - Daniel Howden - No obvious resolution to climax of long-running crisis

Greece is in the throes of a crisis long rehearsed. Almost no aspect of it is new, from the location of Saturday's killing - the Exarcheia district of Athens has seen a thousand mock battles - to the impotence of politicians and impunity of police. What is new is the scale of the reaction; one death has concentrated the rage of a dysfunctional country and the result is chaos.

Thirty years after the end of its military dictatorship, the absence of any reconciliation of right and left has bestowed Greece with a political landscape littered with hostilities that few understand.

Rioters who know nothing of "anarchy" battle police who know nothing of the "fascism" with which they are taunted. Meanwhile, politics is dominated by the same dynasties - the Karamanlis family and the Papandreous. They dress as moderates and reformers while overseeing interests that are happy to use the mob, knowing that it will not disturb the deeper status quo.

Scandals break over conservative and socialist governments but never refresh the political class. It leaves a nation of hollow institutions, lacking legitimacy and held together through habit. In return, the citizens run amok, not paying taxes, destroying the environment, getting away with what they can. The black economy acted as a release for the accumulated pressure but now that can no longer cope either.

Long before the rest of the world was hit with the credit crunch, Greece was suffering its own sub-prime meltdown. Billions were spent on worthless prestige assets in the form of the 2004 Olympics and the country was practically bankrupted. Now the rest of Europe is in recession as well.

There is every reason for anger and just as in 1973, the streets are burning - but this time there is no unifying cause and no visible route to redemption.

The courts have failed to deliver justice and the police to afford protection. And elections are unlikely to offer any new solutions.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 07:54:09 AM EST
A good overview, but I was annoyed by an apparent undertone, the "ah these hopeless Balkan folks, who can follow this mess, why should I even try, a pox on all their houses" -- something common from British (and not just British) foreign correspondents.

a political landscape littered with hostilities that few understand.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:34:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reallly, I don't get that impression at all. We're like that with the French as well. goodness knows what they'll write next summer when riots break out in the poorer parts of london, bristol and liverpool as the welfare changes kick in.

melo and marco are right; we're going to see a lot more of this.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:44:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well mainly it will be how dare the government subsidise these rioters with welfare payments, and shouldnt we stop taking the money out of honest working families pockets now. </daily mail>

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:37:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen:
Rioters who know nothing of "anarchy" battle police who know nothing of the "fascism" with which they are taunted.

Based on the reports of the blog irishhead linked to downthread (even if obviously partisan), the second half of the above seems definitely untrue at least in Patras.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:06:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The irony of course is that the cops earn very little and that they killed a comparatively rich young man whose future was more safeguarded by the establishment than theirs.
by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 04:45:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek teen died from bullet ricochet: court sources | AFP
Initial results from the post-mortem on a Greek teenager whose killing by police sparked five days of rioting show Alexis Grigoropoulos died from a bullet ricochet, court sources said Wednesday.

According to forensic doctors and independent experts hired by the boy's family, the bullet "is a bit deformed, which showed the bullet touched a hard surface" before entering the 15-year-old's chest, sources agreed.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:13:18 AM EST
Does that match eye witness accounts?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:17:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So it ricocheted. So what? The fact is the police fired live ammo in the general direction of a group of teenagers.

What business does the police have using live ammo for crowd control? I thought that's what rubber bullets were for.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:26:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And even rubber bullets have excessive risk in crowd control situations, and should be banned.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:31:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, this
Water-bottles were possibly thrown at the patrol car. The two officers left, they parked their car a couple of blocks away, they notified a squad of riot police that were in the area, and they proceeded to the square. There they start threatening and swearing at the group of kids - quite possibly (though this is still murky AFAIK) a different or larger group of kids - from a distance of possibly twenty meters. The kids swear back. It's like a street quarrel, only one side is armed and dangerous. No side moves towards the other. There are dozens of witnesses to all of this because the area is packed with cafes and shops. The police officer by all eyewitness accounts raises his gun, aims and shoots at a figure from the other side.
is not "crowd control".

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:05:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
too true

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm questioning the conclusion reached - being cynical as to whether it was reached to 'prove' that it wasn't intended to cause harm ie it was fired elsewhere as a warning, how unfortunate it actually hit somebody.  Which is why I asked if it matches eye witness accounts because what I understand from the diary suggests the shot was fired directly at the teenager.

I agree there should be no reason for using live ammunition.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:53:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, people have been known to receive bullet wounds on the back from Spanish police firing "into the air".

The ricochet is neither here nor there - the cop was a crappy marksman and got "lucky". What matters is intent and you shouldn't fire live ammunition without intent.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:02:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
theres always the case of the Armed Irishman in London who turned out to be armed with a table leg who managed to get shot in the back by all accounts, it happens all over the police firearms officers all threatened to go on strike (well hand in their weapons and refuse any armed action) unless no action was taken over the officers involved.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:11:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And let's not forget Mr De Menezes, and the coroner's intervention which guaranteed that unlawful killing wasn't an acceptable verdict.

If you give cops guns and fuel them up with paranoia and TV fantasies, you get dead people.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 02:24:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I missed that one. What did the coroner do, exactly?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 02:57:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
declared that the Jury could not bring in a verdict of Unlawful Killing as the evidence didn't warrant it,

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 03:37:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only that, they fired in a densely populated area with appartments and shops all around. This is not yet being reported in the Greek news. The eyewitness (all of them) insist that he stood and aimed.

However if this means that the officer will be charged with manslaughter (given the eyewitness testimony), this means that the riots could well extend to Christmas, and that a new wave of violence is due: no-one in the streets will believe this.

As we speak there are three more teenagers injured, one seriously by the police. The clashes between teenagers (as young as 13 according to reports) and police are increasingly looking like clashes between rival gangs (only one side is armed).

The strike went ahead today as planned. The demonstration were not marred with serious clashes - it was after the demos that the clashes started anew. No breaking of shop-windows - yet.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:00:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the riots could well extend to Christmas

When is the Greek Orthodox Christmas?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:52:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
December 25. Unlike some of the other Orthodox Churches, it is the same as the Western date, while Easter is not. I don't understand why.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:04:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would guess that easter was important, and Christmas was not, at the time of the split. Choosing different days for important stuff is an easy way to make people choose their group.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 03:07:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek Orthodox Easter happens after Passover.

Protestant/Catholic Easter sometimes does and sometimes does not.

Therein is your difference.

by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 04:47:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No difference, the 25th. It's not like the Slavic churches - the old lunar calander is used only for the determination of Easter in the Greek orthodox church - although there is a hyper-conservative branch that uses the old calendar.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:04:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if the new calendar were used you would have different says for Easter since Greek Orthodox Easter is held after Passover.
by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 04:50:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well unless there is contamination from the ground or other surface in the bullet, I dont see how that can necessarily be a given.

for example

Unlike other tissue simulants, that used at the Letterman Army Institute of Research(10% ordnance gelatin shot at 40C has been shown to reproduce the bullet deformation and fragmentation pattern seen in living animal muscle 11-31. Although the gelatin calibration was done using muscle, it has recently been found to show similar results in soft tissue shots of the abdomen as well.
Since bullet deformation in tissue is a function of the velocity with' which it enters the tissue,

from http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA188670&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

Bullet deformation is also fairly likely in shots into the chest cavity from Impact with bones.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:30:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At this point what I read in the Greek media is that this was announced by the defense lawyer. There hasn't been a ballistic report yet bacause it hasn't started. The family hasn't even assigned its own expert. This according to the certainly very unradical in.gr the largest greek online newssite [in greek]. The celebrity lawyer is using some preliminary reports to create his own story.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:34:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The great sadness about all this is that a very worthy cause - seeking justice for the young and marginalised - will be hijacked by thugs, provocateurs and fascists and will, more than likely - lead to an authoritarian crackdown - so that ultimately nothing much will change.  1973 re-visited.

It is such a pity that an EU political demos has not evolved to the point where it can help Greece find a better way of creating a sustainable economy and polity.  Petty nationalists and fascists everywhere will take heart that a collapsing social order will look to authoritarian nationalist regimes to restore "order".

Precisely what can the EU, even post Lisbon actually do to help?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:25:55 AM EST
I am frankly more worried that if we had a stronger EU - but at about the same level of public input - the answer to the question would be foreign or federal riot police sent to Greece to bash the protesters.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:07:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fascist issue is valid: the citizens nearly lynching looting immigrants (and then going on a rampage against immigrants in general in the name of law and order) were members of a nazi organization ("Golden Dawn").

However it is impressive how many people are disinclined to generalize about the protests from the havok. Having said that, this sort of blond pillaging points to a new and violent "angry youth" with no future, no political ideas and few family ties to constrain it. That this segment crosses even (parental) class lines to a certain extent, is possibly a Greek particularity (?)...  

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:11:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the Greek Riots > Irregular updates on the situation in Greece, in English
What makes the above story even more unbelievable is that the mainstream media report it as the "local business owners" being the ones who attacked the demonstrators, "taking the law into their own hands". Putting aside the ...minor detail that absolutely no local businesses were damaged (only multinational banks, the courts and the police station), these supposed "shop owners" and "respectful citizens" were depicted in media in their balaclavas, holding knives!


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:03:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:04:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by irishhead on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:26:37 AM EST
I'm having a hard time finding any discussions or news reports about what the protesters goals are.

I heard a bit on the BBC where they interviewed students in the streets and the best they could come up with was a desire for "change".

The riots that happened in the US in Detroit, Watts, Newark, etc. were a result of frustration and without explicit goals. They did get the attention of government officials and there were some minor changes in social policy as a result, but mostly those in these areas ended up worse than before since the stores and other parts of the neighborhoods were destroyed.

The media is also calling the protesters "anarchists" which is not helpful either. Even if they call themselves "anarchists" this means nothing without a vision for what they want.

If there are any (other) good discussions of the fundamental issues I'd like to hear about them.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:38:24 AM EST
These are not protestors. These are rioters. This is the problem, that's why people don't see an end to this. A large part of the demonstrators are venting anger. The larger part of the kids that want to actually demand something can't do much better than "reform the police" or "disarm the police".

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:15:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe Norway has got violent deaths at the hands of the police, as well as violent deaths of police officers down by partially disarming. The guns are there all right, but not on the cops. Instead they are in some form of weapons locker in the squad car, and the protocol if weapons are needed is to fall back to the car, radio it in and only after that get the guns out. This gives them more time to think and - if that is needed - cool off.

Please note that this is all second hand information at best (though our norwegians might be able to confirm and improve). And I do not really expect you to be able to insert a program at the front of riots, though it would be cool if you could.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 03:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the USA, the Kent State massacre was a watershed for perception of how the police brutalized students.

Unfortunately, even though it was very easy to sympathize with murdered students (peaceful) people were quite fearful as to where the country was going, and the whole massacre only reinforced the attitude behind the thuggish tactics at Kent State. In other words, the people who committed the murders were vindicated.

by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 04:55:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you Talos. I share your fears...
Negative energy is rising everywhere. They promise "it will be worse until it gets better" (when and for whom?)...(and how worse)?
You said "the death of hope" (except for arrogant elite) and you are so right...dangerous times in front of us...helpless anger will spread. 2009 is not going to be a good year.
Greece was bankrupt just a little bit earlier then others. But they will bankrupt all of us...
No matter if it is left or right government...Now we all know that there is no big difference. That's why we lost hope. Few of them will and up with those stolen trillions, zillions...But they may not feel so secure any more.
As someone said the entire evil will crawl from "under the stones" and try to get a piece of action in a chaos.
God help us all...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:42:36 AM EST
Greek riots: A friend who was checking out the situation from up close described the people on the street breaking stuff as "undercover police, common law criminals and assorted bums" (but yet another as "the true face of modern disadvantaged proletarian youth bereft of any political ambition whatsoever).

talos: this sort of blond pillaging points to a new and violent "angry youth" with no future, no political ideas and few family ties to constrain it. That this segment crosses even (parental) class lines to a certain extent, is possibly a Greek particularity (?)...

are there any common "profiles" of those who join the ranks of the police in Greece?  are there any socioeconomic and/or ethnic "particularities" about these people?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:52:24 AM EST
Mostly the rural poor and the urban lower middle class, if I had to pinpoint a profile.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:16:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People like my cousin!

A mother of 2, lives in a small apartment with husband and two kids. Good people. Our parents come from the "rural areas," namely the mountains of Central Greece.

It's a job, a low paying one at that.

by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 04:57:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah police in general, but special guards are... well special. They are either of two things: army (ex army special forces, officers  five-year contract soldiers) - or beneficiaries of the political clout and connections of their family. Either way they are either soldiers (with very little training about how to handle non-enemy combatants), or macho posers. They were sent to Crete a few years ago to battle the local mafias and turned into a plague as bothersome or more for the locals as the mafia (who were at least someone's cousin and could be dealt with through family ties) to whom they generally behaved like an occupying force. They killed an 18 year old kid there for trying to run a roadblock because he had a joint on him as it turned out.

The Police Officers' Union (people that really don't like Special Guards, I note) accused the leadership of the Police force of an established perception of the model policeman as a sort of 'Rambo', incompletely and inefficiently trained and elastically hired, because this is the philosophy that runs through the shortened and militarized training that was recently adopted through the new disciplinary code (link in Greek here).

This is the first time that the Police are not backing one of their own in public.

(For anyone that can read Greek: this post of mine might regarding among other things the reality of what a riot really is like - in Greek)

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 06:06:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And one way to develop a quick dislike for the police if you know Greek, is to listen to this live radio broadcast embedded in the blog post, of an incident in Omonia square, involving two 15-year-olds and a squad of riot police.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 06:22:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there any optimism about any beneficial political fallout?

Greece isn't going to trade a Karamanlis for a Papandreou again, is it?

Are there any young bloods available?

by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 07:30:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The best case scenario if recent polls are to be trusted, is a coalition government between PASOK and the new Green party. But there are no polls done after the riots and the one that's underway shows (reportedly) that conservatives are bottoming out while the left (syriza) is benefiting from the fact that a. it had put the youth problem at the center of its political focus years ago and b.ND, KKE and LAOS all target the party as complicit with the rioters, which is such odious bullshit, that it has created an inverse effect especially among the younger voters (where SYRIZA's strength is anyway). But Syriza won't co-operate with PASOK unless there is some sort of minimum program with basic safeguards which PASOK won't agree with (i.e. SYRIZA wants the renationalization of some banks an increase in minimum wage and a withrdawal from Afghanistan). All this is speculation - we'll wait and see what the new political landscape will be after the riots.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 08:32:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's face it: the culture of corruption has caught up to the people. Lax tax collection, no land registry, huge bureaucracy, crooked deals everywhere. That rots the core of the country. People who left the country can remember getting taken badly for decades afterward.

In the USA, it only took 8 years of cronyism and corruption to completely tank our economy and send people fleeing to protect themselves.

One wonders how Greece operated this long at all given the noxious mix of government and business.

With high corruption comes a level of cynicism that eventually corrodes the nation's well-being.

by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:03:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm, even if not exectly at Greek levels, I'd say cronyism and corruption flourished at federal US level before Bush, too. (Not to mention state and city level, if poemless is to be believed. And not to mention the fact that the way lobbying and corporate campaign finance was/is a legal pastime in the US, corruption and cronyism were effectively legalised.)

Though, for Greek conditions, perhaps the better US parallel is the post-Civil-War period: that was thorough and lasted for decades.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:10:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't say I quite agree. of course there is corruption everywhere, but things like cheating on taxes are largely frowned upon and self-policing, until that time it becomes obvious that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. That frays the social fabric and causes ordinary citizens to wonder if they're being taken for suckers. Prior to Bush, this feeling was not so widespread.
by Upstate NY on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 10:45:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes, it has caught up with people especially since there is no "corruption divident" and clientilst promises don't add up to what they used to.

The cynicism and the corryption has come back to bite its originators. The new underclass, in all its shapes and forms, isn't smiling. Really I can't emphasize strongly enough how different the composition of the violent crowd is from the usual anarchist mobs.

I also add that there is accumulating evidence that some of the protesters are on the police payroll. Stelios Kouloglou, a respected journalist and head of the independent online tvxs report that they saw young men with helmets, hoods and wrenches, chatting and mingling with the police outside a down-town district. There's a blurry cell-phone photo as evidence along with the eye-witness testimony here:



The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:23:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I recall correctly if I say that Greece has nominally proportional representation, but biggest party/pre-election coalition gets a ton of extra seats?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 04:12:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. It's pretty much proportional among the parties that are above the 3% limit, for 260 seats. The other 40 go to the winning party. In the election after the next (you can't change the election law for the next election) the bonus will become 50 seats.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:02:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
talos:
we'll wait and see what the new political landscape will be after the riots.

firestormed cities, or riots don't end at all.

horrible, that the right's stormtroopers could be the only membrane between order and mayhem.

isn't the word 'anarchy' originally greek?

they were the first to invent democracy, perhaps they will now be the first to reinvent it.

great work to be done...here are the smouldering ashes, what will be the phoenix?

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 07:02:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the first time that the Police are not backing one of their own in public.
 

This is a watershed!  It may be too soon to know what it means, but watch closely!

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sat Dec 13th, 2008 at 03:47:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A policeman has been charged with murder, even tho' they're sticking to the ricochet idea.

I presume they're hoping that making the charge will damp down the riots.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 03:39:48 PM EST
An update. The strike and the unions' demonstrations went on relatively without incident. Afterwords there were some fighting between protesters and police, but none of the blind large-scale looting and destruction (if one doesn't count the trash bins). There is fighting between a lot of people barricaded inside the Athens Polytechnic School building and the cops outside, ditto in Thessaloniki. But the protests seem to be more localized in the "traditional places". Possibly a respite after the blind rage of days past, but not a stop: 100 schools are occupied and 15 university buildings all over Greece, and tommorrow, the high-schoolers are planning sit-downs in major roads. But it seems that it might be starting to calm down.

The defendant (his slimeball lawyer probably) published a shocking attack against the dead pupil that left everyone aghast. Soon enough the accusations started to collapse (he tried to present the deceased as a problem child that was expelled from his previous school - something that the school promptly refuted angrily).

Yesterday, Panathinaikos palyed for the champions league at home. Alexis was a fan of the club, and the teams supporters turned the match into a tribute (and so did his team passing to the cup's 16 phase). All the banners were about him, against the police (the chant of "cops, pigs, murderers" was sung many times), and the cop's lawyer was booed when he entered the stadium.

A sign of changing Zeitgeist/love of banks: today I listen to skai radio, Athens most popular news radio, with a center-right slant. The presenter talks with the mayor of Ioannina (in NW Greece) and the conversation gows something a lot like this (from memory):

Presenter: Mr. Mayor the crowd there is more civilized, as we saw. They didn't touch a single person's shop. they just burned a couple of banks and attacked the police station
Mayor: Yes, we didn't have these sorts of problems here. The kids were behaved. They just torched two banks and threw rocks against the police, but they left the shops alone...

Brilliant.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 06:44:29 PM EST
Teacher Dude reports from Thessaloniki.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 07:36:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Teacher Dude's Grill and BBQ: What a day - Greek riot updates
Strangely, around the riot police were groups of masked men throwing stones into the university, something that did not seem to bother the cops next to them at all. I keep on hearing rumours members of the far right Xryse Aygh movement are getting involved but I can't confirm this.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:15:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His video:

It's very bad quality. He writes

Notice the civilians wearing gas masks and throwing stones at the anarchists in the university just meters from where the riot police are standing.

...but while I can make out the civilians with gas masks, I couldn't recoghnise any instance of stone throwing.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:33:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is one of the best diaries I've ever read on the site, and that's saying something given the usually high quality of writing.

What I take away from this is that the financial crisis is exacerbating long-festering political, social, and economic problems and inequalities. The sense of precariousness and hopelessness that neoliberal policies have created are causing a loss of faith in the political system and leading more to riot - but riot without direction, without a plan, without a goal. Such scenes have been played out before in Europe in recent years and the commenters are right that we're likely to see it again, and soon.

That makes it all the more important for us to articulate a clear alternative to the present policies. One of my own concerns is that the range of social democratic policies offered in both North America and Europe haven't yet adapted to the current crisis.

Another world is possible, but do we have a clear idea of what it looks like and how we can get there from here given present circumstances?

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 09:41:12 PM EST
Talos has often written great diaries on Greece - check this one out from earlier this year, on the political scene in Greece:

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2008/2/25/122842/209

This is one of the best reports on the current Greek situation I've seen - kudos to Talos (et al)!

I love Greece, I hope this sorts out for the best...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sat Dec 13th, 2008 at 12:40:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This "Nation" article is right on the money:

The New Democracy government is no dictatorship. It is something far more ordinary, amorphous and insidious: a corrupt, incompetent administration with nothing left to offer its demoralized citizens. The summer before last it spectacularly failed to stop an inferno of forest fires; eighteen months later, little progress has been made with the rebuilding and reforestation. The government's only vision for an economically viable future is to sell what's left of the Greek landscape to developers. Ministers line their pockets with bribes and property deals--the latest involving major illegal land swaps for the Mount Athos Vatopedi Monastery.


The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:29:08 AM EST
Now that I look at the list, the question really is: why didn't this explosion happen sooner?

Well you have answered it all in your first few paragraphs. This outburst needed a catalyst. It is unfortunate that the death of a teenager turned out to be the missing agent in this explosive mixture.

I do not have enough knowledge on all the underpinnings of Greece's social woes but the problems seem to be dating from quite a while back. The endemic corruption and issues of mistrust in some of the country's most essential institutions (i.e. the ones where this virtue should be at the core of their ideology, and warrant their deeds), were not tackled with enough seriousness and willingness and it is now backfiring violently!

However, I do not condone such acts of violence, and I have nothing but contempt for the ones who happily destroy and loot shop outlets.

The Greek government has come to a stalemate. Maybe it should resign or call for early elections; as a way to abate the contagious fever spreading in the country.

Regarding the parallel to the French riots of late 2005; they are commonalities in the violent displays of discontent, but great sociological and even ideological differences between the two movements. First, the French "Banlieues"' uproar was almost exclusively conducted by disgruntled youth, living in marginalized patches of suburbs (sometimes the whole suburb was marginalized!).
They were revolting against the police, whom they accused of pushing two teenagers to their death, and also protesting against their low living standards. They also held a deep grudge against French political elite and society for the latent racism they experienced whenever seeking jobs.
But the movement never spread to high school nor university youth from non-immigrant background; by this I mean those whose parents are not from African descent.

And I believe the little thread connecting these two entities was given a hammer blow when during the "Anti-CPE" demonstrations of 2006, the youth who were not from African descent were caught in between police's repression and aggression from peers from Banlieues; the same people who were rioting the year before. So it seems these groups have in fact little in common except their age.

The same groups could be better connected in Greece. But I also believe the police is more feared in France (among youth not from Banlieues) than it is in the cradle of Western Democracy.

Anyway, Greece is part of the E.U. as far as I know; has its government been advised by other countries in the region? Has it been debated among member countries?
That could be interesting to know...

Eddie.

by Eddie on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 07:13:37 AM EST
This would indicate that the crucial factor was not the killing of a teen, but the killing of a white privileged teen. Since every teen who is not white and privileged knows they are more - not less - likely to be killed, this killing thus created a common cause wider then killing some teen on the bottom of the social scale.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The events unfolding and the public perception of the rioters, the movements, they are now... extraordinary.

First of all the event created (as far as I can tell) a bridge between immigrant and non-immigrant school kids. It has acted as a uniting experience for many. Then you have the fact that conservatives on the street can't blame it all on the "anarchists". Their children and grandchildren are participating in the riots too and they know it.

Greek tv showed a video in which passers-by of all ages, shouted-off an attack of the riot police against teen-age protesters swore at them and pushed them away from the students. 70 year-olds among them.

Then there was the incident late last night in which hooded rioters holed up inside the polytechnic came out "armed" with rocks and boards and beat the shit out of two thugs that were looting a nearby shop and returned to the builiding. "This is a political act" they said "we won't tolerate jukies, petty thieves and assholes".

It's quiet relatively speaking in Athens, and the attacks have moved to the suburbs against police stations - with the exception of the Korydallos area near Pireus, where Athens' main prison is, and where students clashed with the police in anticipation of the transfer of the special guard under custody. The Mayor of the municipality stated that the riot police incited the reaction by throwing tear-gas at a peaceful demonstration.

There seems to be developing a great discoursive divide: On the one hand SYRIZA (think Besanceneau + PCF) is saying we don't condone the violence but we understand it - but on the other side (the right) even suggesting that there is something to understand makes you complicit. The right (along with the stalinist CPG for its own purposes) are accusing SYRIZA of "winking towards the anarchists and covering them", so stupidly that I wonder if its a ploy to send voters to SYRIZA so as to weaken the rival Socialists...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 10:04:11 AM EST
I've been following your story but ...

how much of these events has an "economic" element?  Is it all about the killing of one person?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 10:10:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how much of these events has an "economic" element?

46.55%.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 11:16:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very Impressive.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 11:28:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See the last paragraph. It certainly isn't about one person. It's the end result of 15 years of neoliberal measures in the name of "modernization".

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 01:08:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Australian police just last night killed 15 years old boy in Melbourne...he had a knife...they couldn't shoot in his legs, because they said they are trained to shout straight in to the body in these situations. Who the hell trained them this way? How can someone with knife be a threat to someone with gun?
This happened in one of those skating parks and he was just a 15 years old kid...it was obvious to the police.
Don't they have a soul?

 

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 02:44:50 AM EST
A knife is perfectly deadly to someone with a gun who doesn't fire it. As I understand it, shooting in the legs (or whatever) works well in movies, but not so much in real life.

On the other hand, as a rule of thumb, when you find yourself using a gun to subdue a 15 year old you've already fucked up.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 02:53:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Long sticks or tasers sound sufficient to neutralize someone with a knife...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misčres
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 06:32:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll let you do the long stick bit, if you don't mind?

Taser might do it, if they carry them.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 06:35:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When using a taser, you have to make sure your subject is being uncooperative and not just faking it because of a diabetic seizure. Of course, this warning applies doubly in Missouri where police this week subdued with a taser a seizing diabetic who had spun off the road.
by Upstate NY on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 08:28:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't like tasers much either. Tasers are still deadly weapons, just less so than guns.

Irish police are still mostly unarmed. They don't get killed by violence much.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 08:37:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't support them.  

Don't use them.  

Nothing in the police tool kit corrupts faster.  

If the law can not stop them (it could, but it won't):

Then there is no cure but to kill those that do use them.  Remember, clean death (it's your honor, not theirs, they have none):  Head shot is best.  

But be cool:  We're not there yet.

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sat Dec 13th, 2008 at 03:26:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know...but it was a kid...He had an argument at home and yes he had knife. Today's kids live (very often) in terrific circumstances. Parents divorced (if ever married), they do not have exemplar in family, they have all kinds of confusions, socially, psychologically, etc...
I feel sorry for them. Society did not find way to deal with those anomalies that modern way of life and too much of personal freedom (and not enough responsibility) brought. But they are just poor kids (before they become junkies, criminals, etc...
I understand that being a policeman is dangerous job (and hard one) and they may not have sufficient salaries for that...but here in Australia they openly say that they are trained "shoot to kill". On TV tonight, one of them said that they are not out there to disarm anybody...it's not their task...their task is to "shoot straight in body"...to kill. I can be a policeman that way, just give me a gun. And yes they kill...kids; disturbed people, mental patients...and they are offered counseling instead of proper training and other solutions but guns...
As for me this is outrages... Why would I feel compassion for "upper class" kid in Greece (which I do) and not for disturbed kid in Melbourne. They are both dead and we don't have an idea what would happened in their future if they stayed alive...
I saw on TV someone written "Murder in the name of law is still murder". I agree...
And Colman, wait for your kid to be 15 and you'll find out how hard it is nowadays...and how hard it is to be a parent of 15 years old...I wish you all luck in this.
Poor mothers and fathers that lost their kids in Greece and Melbourne...that's all I can say....


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 08:56:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The intended meaning of my final paragraph was that if you find yourself drawing a gun on a disturbed 15 year old you're probably not much of a police officer. On the other hand, I don't know the details. Maybe by the time it had reached that point the kid was too far gone and they couldn't safely retreat. Of course, it should never have got that far.

Since a police officer isn't supposed to fire their gun unless it's the absolute last resort to stop someone killing someone else (or the officer) the shoot-to-kill policy makes perfect sense: guns don't hurt people, they kill  them dead. That's what they're for.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 09:03:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here:
http://www.sbs.com.au/


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 09:17:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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