Monday, May 25, 2009

Arrival in Greece

We had a weird situation leading up to our arrival in Greece. Maria had been arrested and was still in jail until the morning of our trip and I didn't think that she would make it... but she pulled through and ended up arriving just before the plane left. When Maria and I arrived, we met two other folks who had heard about our trip from a friend in Iowa and had decided to chill with us.

Once everything was situated, we took a bus to Syntagma square and met with Joe (another of the Iowa crew) and Evi, a Greek Anarchist, who led us to a giant squat. It is apparently one the of the largest squats in all of Europe. It fits 20-30 people and the walls are covered with spraypainted political graffiti and posters. One of the squatters, a former communist and now present anarchist by the name of Stratos gave us a rundown of the current political situation in Greece.

There have been some small confrontations with fascists, but he is convinced that many of the immigrants can defend themselves against the weak nazi movement. He is more concerned with the growth of squats in Athens and the seizure of space for public activity. Apparently there are many squats in Athens alone and even more around other parts in Greece. Large and provocative protests happen at least once a week. In addition, there is Political Grafitti everywhere including spraypainted slogans, anarchy signs, hammer and sickles, and other stuff all over universities and building walls. There was also a strike going on on the path of the bus we took. While things have "died down due to it being summer", the level of activity is still very high and we are all very impressed. Tonight we are going to Exarchia to see the big activist scene around the Polytechnic and to hang out and drink with activists.

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