On the 6th of December, 2008 a police officer in Athens shot and killed 15/16 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos. The policeman has since been charged with murder. The boy’s death lead to a series of violent riots by anarchists and other upset citizens in Athens.
Unlike the major media outlets, Vice Magazine got inside/behind the scenes coverage of the riots, and got behind the University walls where the protesters had made base-camp (apparently police in Athens cannot enter University property during a situation such as this).
The rioters in Greece are fighting for change in a government system that they believe to be broken beyond repair. The death of Alex seems to have been the catalyst for the riots, but for many citizens Alex appears to merely be an excuse to fight a system they don’t believe in. Apparently even before the riots began there were an average of two “traffic-choking demonstrations outside parliament” every week in Athens.
ViceLand published the first photos from inside the University walls in Athens (the protesters safe-haven).
And then Vice did a follow up story on how major media outlets stole the photos. One of the photographers also shares his thoughts on the experience.
The photographer also managed to get Interviews with some of the rioters in Athens.
Early in the new year I read a very interesting piece written by BBC News that detailed various angles of the situation in Athens, and made educated guesses as to what the future may hold. It also discussed where the relatively well supported communist party in Greece stood on the situation. I can’t seem to locate that article now. If I do find it I’ll update it to this post.
So far this month it sounds like the situation has cooled down a bit in Athens. There also haven’t been nearly as many news stories on the situation, so perhaps the media is loosing interest.
Here’s a brief update on the situation from January 24th, 2009 via BBC News. Violent protests are still occurring, but I guess it’s not quite to the same degree as it was in December.
Apparently police in Athens just discovered that using tear gas on protesters who are all wearing gas masks isn’t very effective, and have ordered a riot control water canon – presumably like the one pictured below.