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Demonstrating in Athens

19 Oct

Today, there is one more bill to be passed, from the “Greek” government,  with more measures and more cuts against the low incomes and so the Greeks are, of course, taking the streets once more. Following the news from the inside (naturally), I came to realize that we have become so used to police brutality, that we expect the same movie to be played again and again and we are dealing with it , with a kind of “blaze” attitude.
It might not be news to us, but since you are only watching the “News”… I thought I should let you know, how this movie really runs:

First there is a calling for a demo. All demos end in front of the Parliament, at Syntagma square.

People start gathering at designated points. Labor syndicates gather each on its own square…(!) and then march to Syntagma – Most of the people go straight at Syntagma square.

Then comes the moment when Syntagma square, gets fully occupied.
People shout, sing and shout some more.

While the demonstration, despite its huge numbers, is peaceful,( though loud…), twenty to thirty people appear, holding hummers, Molotov cocktails (rarely) and marble pieces, wearing hoods and helmets to hide their faces. Those men the Media calls anarchists. We don’t…

The crowds keep them out of the core. People make chains to hold them out.

One of them throws a stone against the police …

That’s the “punch line”!

Instantly, every special police unit ( we shall call them MAT from now on..), circles the demonstration and starts throwing gas and loud noise bombs into the crowds. People panic, get hurt, start running around like crazy, trying to find a gasp of air, but, see, that’s not easy….Not only cause they are spraying  suffocating gas (and not tear gas) that’s not even permitted for war (under the Geneva treaty), but also because every street connected to Syntagma has also been sprayed around a radius of 6 to 8 blocks.
It’s not only for the people that are gathered, to disperse, but also for the people that are coming to be kept away.

In the meanwhile, those 20 to 30 people, keep braking marbles from the square and throwing them at the MAT, while one of the MAT squads stays there, just looking at them,or pretending to chase them, just for the show: The media is recording the “violent incidents”.

Twenty meters away, the rest of the MAT squads ( the only domain of the public sector that has been hiring…non stop..), are too busy chasing thousands of half-unconscious citizens, cracking their heads open with globs, whether they are children, students, old people, women or press corespondents.

You do remember who attacks members of the press, usually, don’t you?

The big outbursts, usually happen at 14:00. Right on time for the news! Someone will  set a car on fire, or break a bank-window. Usually these people run TOWARDS the MAT to hide amongst them, not away from them. There are plenty of videos out there, about this fact and I have witnessed  enough of those incidents, myself.

Am I implying that there are provocateurs, starting the episodes, to give an excuse to the MAT so that they can try to evacuate the square using any means possible? No! I am saying it loud and clear. I could even pick some of them out of a line! Most of us could.. Sometimes we joke..that they are running late today and they are gonna miss the 14:00 o ‘ clock news.Of course they are not alone. They are mingling with hooligans and other suppressed elements that wish to blow off some steam. That serves everyone really nicely.

From that moment on, it’s every man for his life. You might be walking down a street and find yourself on the ground, being bitten by 3-4 MAT officers, while a fifth one is exchanging your bag with a backpack carrying a Molotov.

You might be with your fellow law students, trying to leave the demo, and find yourself surrounded by two-three MAT squads, who identify you as dangerous black-hooded elements and try to, at least, kill a couple of you, while you are shouting you are a student group.

Of course, then, you DO get angry, and you DO try to hit the officer that’s kicking you, back. Then you are arrested for resisting arrest and attacking a peaceful police officer. You are lucky if you arrive at the police station in one piece. Funny, how they never get to catch those 20-30 people, though.. It’s a mystery…

It’s a wonder no one has died yet, though 2 people were in a coma, a reporter lost his hearing (after surviving war- correspondence for 20 years…) and the injuries were so many, that the medical association went on TV and demanded for the brutality to stop, cause they run out of beds.
That was the last demo. The one they didn’t let ambulances in. The one they smashed the med-tent. The one they sprayed inside the Metro station. The one they failed to remove us from the square.
So, here we go again…

They won’t stop. They don’t care. Their bosses don’t care. The bosses of their bosses don’t care.
No demos are allowed. This is not a democracy. People have to be scared. People have to comply.

Thank God, people won’t stop, either. They don’t care, either. They are not watching the news anymore and they have nothing else to lose.

See you at the next demo.

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