Urban Riots # Athens08

…suddenly people from diverse places and different directions approached the luminous Christmas tree that stood in the middle of the central square. The walking pace became faster as the numerous Magi, a.k.a Wise Men, rushed to deliver their presents in accord with the spirit of the era.

From the other end, police entered the scene, surrounding the tree in a defensive formation. Once more they had to protect the municipal assets and keep the streets safe. And this time they could not  fail…

The riots started on 6 December 2008, when the 15-year-old student Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot dead by two policemen, in the central neighborhood of Athens, Exarcheia. This incident triggered unrests that spread all over the country while solidarity demonstrations took place in numerous European cities.

In the aftermath of the riots many things were written and even more were spoken. The political and social context of the unrests is still open to interpretations; A.G’s name was put in the long list of police militancy that cause to continue the atrocities the Greek Civil War, tracing a thin line that sometimes- especially during a global economic crisis- becomes a chasm. An inefficient state based on bureaucratic and sometimes corrupted mechanisms, fed since its conception by populism and political clientalism is about to explode.

It is when we should search for the warmth of the “Athenian Christmas tree” and happily whistle “burn babe, burn”…

On the Athenian public space and the Exarcheia district as a par excellence contested territory, and the emergence of a new spatial paradigm, the squatted park Parkaki, see AVATON by Ursula and SYNTHETICA.

On the assassination of A.G, the 2008 December events, and the backstage of the policemen’s trial, see the documentary by the team of TVXS (in Greek).

(Thanks to Miltos for the photograph -some of his work presented at todotobe)

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