Our Flemish correspondent VH has compiled a collection of material about the Greek riots, which have spread to cities across Europe in the past two days.
From The Telegraph:
Greek protests spread with arrests across Europe
Anger over the fatal shooting of a Greek schoolboy by a policeman has spread across Europe with protests as far afield as Moscow and Madrid.
Demonstrations against the killing were seen in cities across the continent with left-wing radicals and other sympathisers taking to the streets.
In Spain, 11 protesters were arrested and several police officers injured when clashes took place in Madrid and Barcelona.
In Copenhagen, 32 people were arrested when their protest in support of the Greek protests turned violent.
In neighbouring Turkey, about a dozen left-wing protesters daubed red paint over the front of the Greek consulate in Istanbul.
Around 150 people belonging to a Danish underground movement took to the streets, throwing bottles and paint bombs at buildings, police cars and officers. In Moscow and Rome, protesters threw petrol bombs at Greece’s embassies.
Journalists came under attack for the first time in the riots, with a Russian news crew assaulted by a mob of about 50 youths, some of them reportedly drunk.
A correspondent and a cameraman for Russian television channel NTV were injured in the confrontation, which happened while they filmed clashes in Exarchia, a crucible of student radicalism.
In Athens, around 40 youths threw stones at riot police near university buildings in the volatile Exarchia district where 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos was shot dead on Saturday.
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They were met with volleys of tear gas and three arrests were made, police said. Overnight, students hurling petrol bombs and stones again battled riot police in Athens, in a continuation of the worst riots to have hit Greece in more than 30 years.
There were similar clashes in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where more than 80 shops and 14 banks were damaged, with students continuing to occupy university campuses.
Despite the turmoil that has rocked Greece since Grigoropoulos was killed, embattled Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said he would fly to Brussels to attend a European Union summit. His conservative government has a parliamentary majority of just one seat.
Corruption scandals and attempts at economic reform have made Mr Karamanlis’ administration deeply unpopular, but he has so far resisted calls to resign and call early elections.
Epaminondas Korkoneas, 37, the police officer accused of shooting the teenager, has been charged with voluntary homicide and “illegal use” of his service weapon. He was ordered to remain in custody by an Athens magistrate.
His partner, Vassilios Saraliotis, 31, was charged with being an accomplice and will also remain in custody. The pair have been held since Sunday.
Under questioning by a magistrate, Mr Korkoneas said he had acted out of self defence when a group of youths began throwing firebombs and other objects while threatening to kill him and his partner.
His lawyer said the bullet which killed Grigoropoulos showed signs of having bounced off a hard surface, indicating that the boy was killed as a result of an accidental ricochet.
Greece has a history of clashes between the police and left-wing, anarchist groups.
A student uprising in 1973 helped bring an end to the country’s military dictatorship a year later.
But the scale of this week’s violence has left the country in deep shock as Greeks count the cost of the destruction.
The Athens Chamber of Commerce said 435 businesses had been hit during the violence, with 37 completely gutted, estimating the damage at GBP 44 million (50 million euros).
Under the headline “Greece in self-destruct mode” the conservative daily newspaper Kathimerini said in an editorial: “This is a country with a state that is in a shambles, a police force in disarray, mediocre universities that serve as hotbeds of rage instead of knowledge and a shattered health care system. It is also on the brink of financial ruin.”
The call for a “solidarity” demo from Indymedia in the Netherlands:
TOMMORROW AT DEN HAAG — SOLIDARITY ACTION
@ — 08.12.2008 23:01
TOMMORROW A SOLIDARITY ACTION IS GOING TO TAKE PLACE IN DEN HAAG.
WE ARE GOING TO MEET 18.00 at DEN HAAG CENTRAL AND WE ARE GOING TO DECIDE ALLTOGETHER THE KIND OF THE PROTEST.
PLEASE FORWARD IT TO ALL SQUATS, OR DUTCH PEOPLE THAT YOU KNOW. WE NEED YOUR HELP AND THEY NEED OUR SOLIDARITY.
A teenager murdered by the Greek police!
We stand in solidarity with the struggling people!
On December 6th two police officers murdered Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15 year old teenager, by shooting him right in his heart. At first, both government and police claimed that the police officers were attacked, which turned out to be a lie. The Media despite their effort to distort the facts and reproduce the government and police propaganda didn’t manage to succeed. Witnesses say that, right before the incident, the policemen provoked the group of young boys and a verbal conflict followed but at no instance were the policemen attacked or physically threatened. […] This event occurred at a time when the reactionary plans of the government force the majority of the people to live in the worst conditions possible, without rights, condemning them to live a life of unemployment and poverty.
[…] This murder is another incident in a long series of police brutalities. But it is far more than that. It is another instance of the violence which is created by the world-wide economic system. Other incidents include the murder of the suspected terrorist Brazilian plumber in the London subway and the death of the French youth that triggered the massive French riots, but the list is longer and more multifaceted. A social system based on the principle of individual profit cannot but create violence, everywhere present whether visible or hidden.
- SOLIDARITY TO THE COUNTRY-WIDE ONGOING DEMONSTRATIONS
- DOWN WITH THE MURDERERS AND THEIR POLICIES!
- THEY WILL NOT PREVAIL!
- IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF EVERYONE ARRESTED IN SOLIDARITY ACTIONS WORLDWIDE
- THE PEOPLE AND THE YOUTH WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!
200 people (a lot of greek students but also local anarchists and socialists) gathered tonight in de dutch political capital den Haag and marched towards the greek embassy where they were stopped by riot police, no arrests were made.
in a seperate demonstration in the student town of nijmegen 30 people protested in the city center and before the local police HQ.
From Anarchist Strategy:
Major riotting in Greece: Strategy
Small comment…this is the first time I’ve ever seen Exarchia referred to as “heavily policed.” Exarchia is notoriously the anarchist controlled (To an extent) neighborhood in Greece and from what I’ve heard from numerous sources, police are usually afraid to walk around there and often they sit on the perimeter of the neighborhood and anarchists throw shit at them. Just wondering what led you to believe that the opposite is the case.
Exarchia probably IS the most heavily policed area in Athens. Every night there are at least 2 groups of riot police on some streets (especially outside the offices of PASOK, the 2nd biggest party) because of the great anarchist and leftist movement in the area. Yes, it’s not “sane” for police to go in the neighborhood and that was how this thing started and how a 16 yo boy is dead now. However the fact that they are regularly attacked and that people try to push them out doesn’t mean that they’re not there.
I see how Not to approach a police line… what’s a better tactic? Small, mobile groups? Or the ‘five finger’ technique from Germany?*
Not24601, I think that the “how to not approach a police line” video is very telling of other protest groups in Greece not related to the anarchists. In that video, you see all the people at the front of the march holding red flags, so I’m guessing they’re a communist (Not sure what kind) orientated group, trying to look all tough like “we’re going to march right through the cops!” whereas this is something the anarchists would rarely ever be seen doing. They seem to tend to be smarter than that and always on the offensive, trying to keep police away from them by way of projectiles, which this group seemed hesitant to do, and only seemed to after they were repelled with pepper spray and learned their lesson.
The people marching in the video “how to not approach a police line” is the political youth of the communist party of Greece. They are notorious for this “fake” attacks. It is fake because they have no intention to attack the police or come to any conflict, they just march like that, get some tear gas and then walk back. After that, they can safely go home, while the politicians of the Greek communist party can then brag of being “revolutionary”. They have no intention of having any conflict with the police, this is just an impressive show. As for the next scene of the anarchists throwing rocks, again it is unclear if this is part of the show. Usually anarchists don’t run along with the communists, let alone 3-5 of them.
As of Exarchia. It is indeed a heavily policed area. But not with regular police, but with special forces of riot police. However, regular police is not able to just walk around there, they need the protection of the special forces. A cop car cannot just drive through, it will be attacked. […]
VH notes: The Five Fingers is a tactics to break through a Police-line by making it spread out and cause disorientation. It is well described in a story on the G8 riots:
On arrival, the crowd of around 4000 began to move along the road in the direction of their secret destination. As soon as the front of the demonstration met the first line of police, the so-called ‘Five-Finger-Tactic’ came into play.
Rather than trying to push through the line of police in front of it,
- the first of the five ‘fingers’ left the road and went out into the field to the right of it, attempting to move around the line of police, stretching their resources as far as possible. The line of police retreated to try and remain in front of the first finger, which was making its way rapidly across the field.
- As it did so, the remaining four fingers moved forward with it.
- Once the line of police stopped, the second finger moved again out of the road and into the field, this time to the left. Again, the police were forced to retreat and to spread themselves out over a greater distance.
- This process repeated itself, with the fingers alternately moving off the road to the right and then the left.
- As planned, all five fingers (and the 4000 people within them) were able to either move around the lines of police, or else flow through them once they had been forced to spread themselves out so far that large gaps emerged.