Tag Archives: demonstration

Rebel police?

I just read this announcement by the National Union of Employees in the Police. It’s soooo strange to read something like this. I think the policemen have started to think of the “next day”. It seems that less and less people believe in the course Greece has taken and more and more people are trying to find a place for themselves in the next status quo. It remains to see this change of stance in tomorrow demonstration as well on Sunday’s evening gathering at Syntagma.
The letter is addressed to the representatives of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
The interests of creditors of usurious loans and capitalists who covet our national wealth, can not in any rule of law be put in priority over the basic needs of people. Moreover, the priority of survival of a nation’s citizens, has been legitimized as a priority not only in domestic policy but also in the international community. Moreover, we, nor the majority of the people, are not those who caused this crisis.Because, however, we find once again that you continue the same destructive policies for all of us, we would like to state categorically that under no circumstances we will accept being put to be killed with our brothers.

Be warned as legitimate representatives of the Greek police that we will require to be issued directly to statutory orders to arrest you for a host of violations of the legislation, the act of committing a hearing in accordance with specific provisions of the Greek penal law, such as extortion, the covert promoting elimination or reduction of our democratic polity and national sovereignty, the interference of other essential legal goods of the Greek people, etc.

The full letter (in Greek) can be found at the union’s website here.

Plainclothes justice 2.0

Yesterday I posted two videos from an incident that took place in downtown Athens where plainclothes policemen arrested a teenager. In that video you can clearly see one of the policemen, in a dark green jacket, acting as the coordinator of the whole thing. I kept telling myself that I’ve seen him before. I did some searching and I found this video. It’s from the same day of protests (the General Strike demonstration on December 15, 2010). The incident takes place in the Exarchia district of Athens.

To translate just a couple of things that are said on the video, at 3:40 the coordinator is asked by the passers-by to give his identity. They ask “Tell us who you are. What are you afraid of?” and he replies “What do you mean “what are you afraid of?”… I’m an officer”. At 3:50 he turns to a woman and tells her “Don’t film the issue, I will break your camera”.

Yesterday’s videos where from Akadimias street, in the center of Athens. That plainclothes police team seems to have been pretty busy on that day.

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

Living in Greece at the end of November 2011

I just checked today’s newspapers and they had few exciting headlines. However, yesterday’s front pages would probably cause either panick or depression to a society somewhere in North Europe. As I stood there, watching all the post-apocalyptic headlines, I realized that in some years I will be saying that this is how it was to live in Greece at the end of November 2011.

Firstly, I will begin with the cover of this week’s Economist which has been reproduced, partly or as a whole, by several Greek newspapers.

Economist

“Eleftheri Ora” newspaper, which is a fringe paper that hardly sells a bit above 2.000 copies per day, has chosen to reproduce the whole Economist front page. Oh yes, with no reference at all. This paper is famous for its populist content, full of conspiracy theories, front pages of dead monks whose prophecies are now becoming reality, and so on. Actually I think that a daily translation of the paper’s front page could offer enough material for a separate blog. Anyway, when I think that usually it should be the last one in these posts of translated front pages due to its lower circulation. I only place it first here because of its relation to the Economist’s cover.

Eleftheri Ora

Title: The evil plan of the New World Order’s “Messiah”

Another newspaper which chose to use the euro meteor illustration is Dimokratia.

Dimokratia

Title: The Wehrmacht is approaching Europe

Overhead title: Everyone is talking about the coming financial Armageddon

“Ethnos” newspaper was the only one to reproduce the whole Economist front page, thus indirectly referring the source.

Ethnos

Title: A whole town is sleeping in the streets

Overhead title: Social shock – more than 20.000 homeless around Greece

Eleftherotypia and Kathimerini highlighted the continuing struggle of the Egyptians at Tahrir square.

Eleftherotypia

Title: The extra tax will be paid too by unemployed who worked even for one day (in 2011)

Picture’s caption title: Tahrir square does not succumb

Kathimerini

Title: Suffocation around the euro zone

Picture’s caption title: Egyptians overwhelm Tahrir square

Ta Nea

Title: Run Lucas Run! (a cartoon depicts Lucas Papademos in the body of Pheidippides, the first “marathon runner”)

Overhead title: A 100-day race for the government

Eleftheros Tipos

Title: Last chance for saving the euro

Overhead title: Germany leads euro zone off the cliff

Avriani

Title: Countdown for the euro

Teargas in the Parliament

Most Greek demonstrations usually end up in fron of the Greek Parliament. Sooner or later the riot police starts spraying people with tear gas after the usual and occasionaly suspicious scuffle between anarchists and the police. In the past year I have heard a lot of people shouting “Try throwing ONE tear gas canister inside the Parliament to let them know how it feels!”. Well, this is how it would look like…

Greece presents… the Riot Granny

Yesterday I was having a talk with a very good friend. He’s a cameraman from Portugal and we have worked together on a news feature I did for the Portuguese elections last June. He was telling me that he feels that the situation in Portugal is becoming more and more like what he saw in Greece. I agreed in all but the fact the the Portuguese haven’t seen widespread violence yet. He was a bit puzzled and I explained that since last week’s general strike, I have a feeling that more and more people (everyday people, not just the so-called hooded rioters) have crossed the red line between peaceful and non-peaceful protest. Then I showed him these two photos of the same person.

The second photo was published in the front page of the right-wing Dimokratia newspaper on 21 October. His face is not important and thus I have edited it a bit. It’s interesting though to notice his clothes and wonder what drove this person to join the traditionally violent hooded crowd.

My friend was shocked. Then I showed him an even more extreme video. After Loukanikos, the rebel or riot dog, here ‘s the soon to be famous Riot Granny.