Tag Archives: Alexis Grigoropoulos

Greek demo dress code: plain clothes

An interesting video was filmed last night during the extensive riots that took place after the demo in honour of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos who was assassinated by a policeman on December 2008.

Greek demonstrators often mention the existence of plain clothes policemen and the infiltration of agent provocateurs in demonstrations in Greece. I too used to believe that this was some kind of a conspiracy theory until I started attending demos after 2009. International media have been reluctant to report on this (with some exceptions) with correspondents finding it difficult to believe that such totalitarian practices are still being used in an EU country.

But this video, filmed last night in Exarchia district of Athens and posted on YouTube by Sto Kokkino radio, shows clearly a big number of what would otherwise look like “a band of hoodies or violent rioters” passing by a team of riot police, heading towards the district’s square where anarchists had set up barricades.

The Greek government does not acknowledge the use of such practices, nor is it expected to comment on the issue after the publication of this video.

Upd: Here’s a second video from the same place/time (Thanks Janine Louloudi).

Merry crisis

Some photos to “celebrate” the day… This is Christmas 2011 in Greece.

“Naked Christmas” by bleeps.gr (photo by G. Nikolakopoulos)

Season’s Greektings by Greek illustrator Spyros Derveniotis.

Season’s Greektings by Spyros Derveniotis

 Daniel, a British Erasmus student in Athens, sent me this photo – it’s a motto that has been around since the 2008 killing of Alexis Grigoropoulos by a policeman, an assassination that caused a rioting chaos in Athens for more than a month. Daniel took this photo in Panteion University.

Photo by Daniel @ Panteion University

Here’s another photo from the same door (not that it makes more sense, I just found it by chance)

Merry Crisis @ Panteion University

This is a graffiti on the external wall of Athens University’s old building (now mainly used for graduation ceremonies). I think the graffiti has been taken off by now.

Merry crisis @ Athens Kapodistrian University

The motto inspired a stencil artist too. The location is unknown.ste

Merry crisis stencil

If I am not mistaken, this graffiti was on the external wall of the Central Bank of Greece, at Panepistimiou street.

Merry crisis @ the Central Bank of Greece

Here’s a video from the city-sponsored Christmas tree in Syntagma square, back in 2008. Its burning was an unforgettable view. For almost a decade, the city’s mayors were proud of wasting thousands of euros to build “the tallest christmas tree in Europe”. This shallow megalomania that only needed a spark to show the void spirit of our corrupt politicians.

At first, people decorated the tree with garbage bags.

Then the tree was set on fire.

As you can see, that night, riot police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. It was a very moving view.

Finally, here’s a video by Ross Domoney, with a short historical background on the Alexis Grigoropoulos’ assassination and footage from this year’s demo which commemmorated the killing.

Exploring Revolt in Greece from Ross Domoney on Vimeo.

Plainclothes justice

The majority of foreign journalists with whom I have worked with here in Greece found it very hard, if impossible, to believe the role (if not the existence itself) of plainclothes policemen during various demonstrations in Greece. When I’d first mention their existence they would think I’m some kind of hardline leftist who sees parastatal ghosts around him all the time. At times I would be in a position to show them one of the photos that have been circulated in Greek websites and blogs, but still, it wasn’t that impressive. So here’s a video from yesterday’s demonstration which commemorated the 3rd year from the assassination of 15 years old Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police man 2010. [Update: Thanks to my friend M.B. who pointed out to me that the video was from the demonstration of the 15/12/2010 general strike – I have hastily embedded the video and mistook it as a yesterday’s incident because of its Youtube upload date. The point of the post remains the same. Apologies.]

In the video several plainclothes policemen hang around side by side with riot police. At some point a bunch of hooded plainclothes policemen approach a teenager and proceed in his arrest. The teenager says “I was at my university school”. Here’s the incident from a second mobile phone recording.

There have been many occasions where protesters have accused plainclothes policemen of causing the typically Greek (and radically vain) “molotov cocktail” violence in order to justify tons of tear gas spraying by riot police which have repeatedly dispersed powerful and peaceful demonstrations in the past.

I don’t care if this kid has actually done something wrong – I just don’t like to live in a country (remember that “cradle of democracy” cliche?) where plainclothes policemen simply have the power to arrest people in this way.

Not in my name, “gentlemen”.

PS: I wonder what the Minister for Citizen Protection (sic) has to say about this video.

Update: Read also “Plainclothes justice 2.o