Athens, Greece – On the anniversary of his death, riot police occupied the memorial site and desecrated flowers left for 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos, who was killed by Greek police twelve years earlier. Police made at least 62 arrests in Athens and over 150 across Greece on December 6 as the far-right government continues its repression of anti-authoritarians.
Update: different groups have been detained and taken to police headquarters, at least 60 people so far, including residents out for unrelated reasons. In the below video you can see police destroy the flowers a woman left at the memorial. https://t.co/D4ghpNR7x1
— Off The Couch (@xoriskanape) December 6, 2020
Στις απαγορεύσεις απαντήσαμε με ανυπακοή.
(Υλικό από τις δράσεις που έγιναν σε όλη την Ελλάδα και καλύψαμε στο timeline μας. Αρκετές δράσεις δεν περιλαμβάνονται καθώς δεν διαθέταμε υλικό)#6dec #grigoropoulos #antireport #AlexisGrigoropoulos #COVID19gr #Video pic.twitter.com/gSSVBVypVX
— antirinfo (@antirinfo) December 9, 2020
Along with the existing ban on public gatherings (set before the November 17 commemorations), Athens officials closed most of the metro stations and deployed at least 4,000 police around the district of Exarcheia on Sunday. A near-complete lockdown of the streets occurred; though press were exempt, their movements were limited at times.
— Savvas Karmaniolas (@savvaskarma) December 6, 2020
On the night of December 6, 2008, Alexis Grigoropoulos was with his friends when Epaminondas Korkoneas, a special guard member of the Greek police, shot Alexis in the heart, killing him instantly. In his first trial, Korkoneas was found guilty of culpable homicide and was given a life sentence for Alexis’ murder.
Korkoneas had his life sentence overturned on July 29, 2019 after an appeals court confirmed him guilty for the murder, but reduced his sentence from life to just 13 years. He had served over 10 years in an agricultural prison up to that point; he was released the next day.
Every time I write anything about Greece it will contain the phrase “the police in Greece harbors neonazis in its ranks under the tacit approval of the Minister in charge“ and it will be true.
— ʏɪᴀɴɴɪs ʙᴀʙᴏᴜʟɪᴀs (@YiannisBab) December 6, 2020
The killing of Grigoropoulos sparked a massive insurrectionary revolt in Athens with weeks of riots that were the largest in Europe since 1968. Every December 6 since 2008, Alexis has been commemorated in Greece and throughout the globe with a revolting spirit.
On December 6, 2018, we reported from Exarcheia during the ten-year anniversary as heavy clashes occurred between thousands of police and black-clad protesters. Hundreds of molotov cocktails and other incendiary projectiles were lobbed at police from the streets and rooftops, as pitched battles stretched late into the evening. 66 were detained, 13 were arrested. Greek riot police used water cannons, hundreds of tear gas canisters and grenades, and some officers threw rocks at protesters.
Last week, authorities extended the second round of coronavirus lockdowns in Greece past December 6. Over 3,000 have died in Greece from COVID-19, where the lockdown rules are to send an SMS request to the government for permission to go outside, or face a fine.
This year’s commemoration, happening in the midst of coronavirus lockdown orders and the ban on gatherings, meant that most attendees were expecting heavy repression from authorities who have made it their routine to tightly surveil and patrol Exarcheia. According to people living in Athens, what they saw during December 6, 2020 was even more totalitarian than they’d expected.
— Savvas Karmaniolas (@savvaskarma) December 6, 2020
From early in the morning on December 6, riot police took positions throughout Exarcheia, occupying Tzavella Street and the commemoration site for Alexis Grigoropoulos. Journalists, residents, and those attempting to bring flowers to the vigil site for Alexis were blocked by rows of various police forces.
An officer was filmed smashing flowers left for Alexis onto another officer’s shoulder (video released by radiofragmata). Later, officers arrested two people attempting to bring flowers to the site.
At one point during police operations, an attachment of riot police (Unit 11) moved down the pedestrian street of Tsamadou and threw a stun grenade into the lobby of an apartment building (video below).
The ND regime has send their thugs in uniform on the Greek streets today to surpress any commemoration for #AlexandrosGrigoropoulos. Police terror across the Greek territory. Solidarity with all companions on the Greek territory! #antireport https://t.co/9ml1W4mWCk
— Riot Turtle (@RiotTurtle65) December 6, 2020
Mass detention in downtown Athens. Among them health workers, unionists… https://t.co/DoRCWxWKdW
— Keep Talking Greece (@keeptalkingGR) December 6, 2020
After being yelled at to leave by their superior the police left the apartment building, dozens of press recording their movements. A Tweet from independent media collective, Dromografos, revealed the same unit had also beat unionists from the All Workers Militant Front (PAME) during the November 17 march remembering students killed by the military junta in 1973.
«η 11 όλοι έξω» μάθαμε και το νούμερο της διμοιρίας (αυτή με την κόκκινη περικεφαλαία) που ξυλοκόπησε τους διαδηλωτές του ΠΑΜΕ την 17Ν και χθές μπούκαρε στην πολυκατοικία ρίχνοντας κρότου λάμψης pic.twitter.com/tc0BJFx727
— Δρομογράφος (@dromografos) December 7, 2020
In Athens’ neighborhood of Vyronas, about 120 people defied the gathering-ban and marched for Alexis. Reportedly, no arrests or repression took place (video below).
In Chania, marchers were beaten by police and detained. In Thessaloniki, a demonstration broke into chants in memory of Alexis after starting from what looked like people waiting on the bus.
A banner was hung by the anti-authoritarian movement in Thessaloniki saying, “There is no health without freedom and there is no freedom without Decembers.“
The next day, December 7, in response to the police’s desecration of the monument of Alexis Grigoropoulos, people rallied at the site.
— U (@kinimatini) December 7, 2020
Later in the night, helicopters shone lights onto streets throughout Exarcheia. Gatherers were beaten and detained by police. An Amnesty International petition is being circulated at present, calling for the end of police violence.
The next parliamentary election happens in 2023. Until then, the ruling far-right New Democracy government will likely continue weaponizing pandemic restrictions to oppress and diffuse movement-building.
Cover image is screenshot from Perseus999.
Unicorn Riot's Specials From Greece [2018-2020]:
- Shots Fired at Squatted Social Center in Exarcheia, Athens - August 30, 2020
- Mutual Aid to Detained Refugee Women Grows — Coronavirus in Greece Part 3 - May 7, 2020
- Worker-Occupied Factory Sends Soap to Refugee Camp – Coronavirus in Greece, Part 2 - April 28, 2020
- A Country Quarantined, Coronavirus in Greece Part 1 - April 25, 2020
- Greek Government Cuts Power to Worker-Run Factory in Midst of Pandemic - March 30, 2020
- Passing the Point of No Return: Interview with Rouvikonas Anarchist Collective - December 24, 2019
- Attacks on Capitalist Targets on the Rise as Greek Police Increase Violence - December 23, 2019
- Government Deadline of Greek Squat Evictions Draws Near - December 4, 2019
- Greek Police Raid Squats and Evacuate 269 Refugees, Community Symbolically Reoccupies Spirou Trikoupi 17 - September 21, 2019
- 143 Refugees Arrested as Greek Police Begin Exarcheia Raids - August 27, 2019
- OmniaTV, Grassroots Independent Media in Greece - August 14, 2019
- Life-Sentence Overturned for Greek Police Officer that Killed Teenager - July 30, 2019
- Occupy, Resist, Produce: Inside the Self-Managed Factory of Vio.Me. - Apr 16, 2019
- Workers Healthcare Center of Vio.Me., Created by the Workers for the Community - Apr 16, 2019
- Greece: Political Prisoners Pt. 3 – Criminalized by Association - Feb 7, 2019
- Major Clashes Mark 10 Years Since Greek Police Killing of 15 Year Old Alexis - Dec 9, 2018
- Athens Prepares for 10th Anniversary of Teenager’s Death by Police - Dec 6, 2018
- Heraklion’s Autonomous Open Market Generates Solidarity Economy - Nov 23, 2018
- Occupied Urban Gardens Grow Community, Stunt French Gentrification - Nov 21, 2018
- Greek Police Attack Anarchists After Demo for Victims of 1973 Student Uprising - Nov 18, 2018
- Reports From Greece – 13 Part Series – 2017
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Unicorn Riot's Special Reports From Greece :
- Greece: Alternatives to Neoliberal Capitalism – Introduction
- Greece: Action of Solidarity With Squats and Against Evictions
- Greece: Anarchists Defend Exarcheia’s Autonomous Zone From Police
- Greece: ADYE, Exarcheia’s Free Self-Organized Healthcare Clinic
- Greece: Political Prisoners Pt. 1 – Tasos Freed & Irianna Jailed (Τάσος & Ηριάννα)
- Greece: Political Prisoners Pt. 2 – Targeting of Anarchists & Autonomous Groups
- Greece: Networks of Resistance Pt. 1 – ZAD, Bure, Hambach Forest
- Greece: Networks of Resistance Pt. 2 – Infrastructure; ExarcheiaNet & Cooperativa Integral
- Greece: Alternative Economies & Community Currencies Pt. 1 - Athens Integral Cooperative
- Greece: Alternative Economies & Community Currencies Pt. 2 - Kenya’s Sarafu-Credit
- Greece: Alternative Economies & Community Currencies Pt. 3 - FairCoop
- Greece: The House of Women for Empowerment and Emancipation
- Greece’s First Housing Squat for Refugees & Migrants, Notara 26