Unprecedented violence against elderly demonstrators and dystopia images in downtown Athens on Tuesday: Riot police squads and water cannon trucks march like an occupation army in main avenues of the Greek capital. The Ministry of Citizen Protection deployed over 6,000 officers to impose “law and order” during the anniversary of the Polytechnic School Students’ Uprising on 17. November 1973.
Under the pretext to “protect the public health from the pandemic”, traditional festivities and marches have been banned. Not even more than 3 people are allowed to “gather in public.”
But police went way OTT. Not only they beat lawmakers who are protected by MP immunity and are allowed to go anywhere. They harassed journalists and reporters covering the marches, and even detained one.
“A rain of teargas in Omonia as well. MAT [riot police] and police on motorcycles dispersed the protesters who had retreated to Karaiskaki Square while running. Lots of chasing in the straits. Pushing on journalists, cameras. We have had years to see such repression,” writes photojournalist Savvas Karmaniolas who covers the events and films some of the scariest footage in Athens on Tuesday, 17. November 2020.
Βροχή από χημικά και στην Ομόνοια. ΜΑΤ και μηχανές της αστυνομίας διέλυσαν τους διαδηλωτές που είχαν οπισθοχωρήσει στην Πλατεία Καραϊσκάκη τρέχοντας. Πολύ κυνήγι και στα στενά. Σπρωξίματα σε δημοσιογράφους, κάμερες.
Είχαμε χρόνια να δούμε τετοια καταστολή #Πολυτεχνειο #17νοεμβρη pic.twitter.com/zC8yTI33Qh
— Savvas Karmaniolas (@savvaskarma) November 17, 2020
Reporter Tony Rigopoulos who also covers the events is been detained, verbally and physically harassed fined before is released a few hours later.
Ενημερώνω όλους τους φίλους ότι αφέθηκα ελεύθερος έχοντας λάβει κλήση με το πρόσχημα ότι φορουσα αντιασφυξιογονα μάσκα και όχι χειρουργική. Αρνήθηκα να την υπογράψω και γι αυτό δεν έλαβα το αντίστοιχο απόκομμα.
— Tony Rigopoulos (@tony_rgps) November 17, 2020
He writes that although he identified himself to police as journalist, he was fined under the pretext of wearing a gas-mask and not a surgical one. He refused to sign the fine paper. He later wrote about his experience (here in Greek).
“It was a traffic police who approached me asking where is my mask, despite that I was wearing a gar mask to protect myself from the tear gas. ‘That’s not a mask, fine 300 euros, the policeman stated asking for my ID and swearing at me with vulgar expressions like “son of a wh*r* and demanding I turn off my mobile. He took me to the headquarters and there also my journalist ID was not recognized. At a point, he approached me and threatened me ‘what you know is not valid here.”
Several groups kept flocking ot the city center and marched to honor the anniversary of the Students’ Uprising.
— Keep Talking Greece (@keeptalkingGR) November 17, 2020
Tear gas, sound and flash flares were a matter of time and police.
As expected riot police went with brutality against demonstrators many of them who were members of the Communist party.
Union of Communist party KKE, PAME, posted pictures of police violence saying “it was a miracle that there were no victims.”
Χάρη στην ψυχραιμία των διαδηλωτών δε θρηνήσαμε θύματα. Με ιδιαίτερο μένος στοχοποιούσαν συνδικαλιστές, ορμούσαν αδιακρίτως σε νεολαίους.
Οι νέες κατασταλτικές δυνάμεις με τα μηχανάκια, με τα χρυσαυγήτικα σύμβολα πάνω στα κράνη τους, λειτουργούσαν σαν αγέλες μέσα στο πλήθος. pic.twitter.com/9wL6V3sZ2V
— Π.Α.ΜΕ (@PAMEhellas) November 17, 2020
Police detained 7 KKE members who were later released.
It should be noted that the “protesters” were not the usual “rioters who attack police and throw molotov cocktail bombs” during demonstrations, but unarmed, harmless and often middle-aged or older people, members of the Communist party.
— Ιαν (@VePZVughT9Iapw2) November 17, 2020
Speaking at the Greek Parliament later, KKE MP Nikos Karathanasopoulos bursted “the political m*l*ki* and nonsense has its limits.” He was responded to a MP from nationalist Greek Solution who claimed that “members of the left had violated the legality.”
According to state broadcaster ERT, police detained several people exiting the metro station of Sepolia suburb in western Athens, considering that they had participated in the protests downtown. Another 100 people have been taken to Police Headquarters.
IN a statement issued late afternoon, the Ministry of Citizen Protection said that some 1,500 people in otal participated in the “protests” in Athens.
Clashes between protesters and police are reported from Thessaloniki and other Greek cities. There is tension between police and demonstrators in Patras .
IN every footage and pictures from the anniversary commemoration, protesters were wearing masks and kept social distancing measures. However, police did not comply with the measures. Several Greeks posted on social media, pictures of police officers groups hanging around in full equipment but without masks.
Police lined up behind 7 members of MeRA25 who held a sit-in asking to be allowed ot march to the US Embassy. The sit-in lasted over one hour.
PS The recent excessive demonstration of authoritarianism, repression and state violence may not end well…