Allow me to tell you a few words about what happened last night here
in the city of Patras (aka Patrasso) where I'm living and working
(teaching at the University). Police forces accompanied with members
of extreme rightist groups and supported by a crowd of presumably
irritated local shop-owners were dispersed in the streets and alleys
of the city center, chasing protesters, mostly young people, busting
and injuring them and arresting a good number of them. The involvement
of extreme rightist groups has been confirmed by a public statement
made earlier today by Andreas Fouras, Mayor of Patras.
This happened yesterday evening after a number of protests have taken
place during the day and while most of the young people who have been
participating in the protests were standing quiet in front of a
University building in the center of the city. At the same time there
were still some burning barricades in a few streets, where previously
a number of demonstrators have been clashing with police, while the
wildest part of them was breaking the windows of some banks and a few
shops of cell phones and telecommunication accessories.
During the subsequent police chases, because many among the protesters
were University students, the cops were escorted by few members of the
student organization DAP of the governing party of Nea Dimokratia who
were trying to identify suspects among young people walking in the
streets and gesturing toward those they were considering to be
Everything started last Saturday night, when a 16 years old kid,
Alexandros-Andreas (aka Alexis) Grigoropoulos, was cruelly shot dead
by an angry cop, against whom the kid and his two friends had just
thrown a bottle over the police car and they were shouting a few words
against the police patrolling of the Athens area of Exarchia. Since
then, for four days up to now, the city of Patras together with all of
Greece has been shaken by turbulent and wild protests and riots. In
these events people have been protesting against police violence,
state authoritarian oppression and demoralizing terror, the
aggravating standard of living, the coming recession under the current
financial crisis, the precarious and uncertain conditions of work, the
disparagement and retrenchment in the public education system because
of neoliberal policies adopted by the government, the discriminations
against foreign immigrants and weak subaltern people and so on.
In a nutshell, these protests were completely spontaneous - with the
exception of today's demonstrations in all Greece previously decided
on by two major trade unions in order to protest against the measures
of austerity implemented in the governmental budget for the new year -
there were no calls to participate from any organization at all.
People, mostly youngsters, were gathered on their own in squares and
streets almost everywhere in Greece in order to express their
indignity and rage for the loss of Alexis and to call for social
justice, freedom and respect for human bare life endangered by planned
precarious models of work and the threat of an authoritarian
imposition of de-democratizing political processes.
In memory of Alexis and against social injustice everywhere in the world.