Tuesday, May 26, 2009
We spent several hours hanging out in Exarchia last night. A concrete parking lot had been smashed by students and turned into a park, plants and trees were being grown and there was a metal gate around the park that was a makeshift barricade against police intrusion. Riot cops are a common sight in Exarchia due to the uppity radicals who have essentially taken over large parts of the Athens neighborhood. We had to pass about 15 with riot shields to even make our way over to the park. We were told by our Greek friends that 4 out of 7 nights there are clashes near the park at night. Police try to make shows of force and the youth usually throw rocks or molotovs at them. We didn't see any of that while we were there, but the cops were still on edge.
We did walk to the spot where Alexis was shot and saw the plaque that was put up to commemorate his death. There was also lots of political graffitti everywhere to dwarf the stuff we saw in other areas of Athens. A common slogan that was put up during December was "Athens is Burning." There are anarchy signs and posters on nearly every wall we saw in the whole neighborhood. The banks all had been boarded up (due to them being firebombed and smashed during the December Uprising) and they currently had anticapitalist graffiti all over them. Antifa stuff was everywhere! (there was lots of murals of people destroying swastikas and beating up Nazis)
We were really impressed with the neighborhood and we followed our Greek Anarchist friends to an outdoor cafe where we drank ridiculous amounts of Rakia (mostly Tsipouro) and ouzo (which is not nearly as good as Rakia)... though they brought out lots of olives and meats and other foods so as to not kill us. After we got the bill, the waitress decreased it, cause they dont tip there and Exarchia has a way of being anti capitalist. She then brought out even more Tsipouro after we paid, so we drank that. Greeks can drink a ton!...
Anyway... Exarchia is an amazing neighborhood that is radical as all hell!