Friday, June 5, 2009
Back in Exarchia
Today Maria and Ian ventured back towards Exarchia while Joe looked for a Greek Gym that had so far eluded him. En route to Exarchia it was clear that Greece was bracing for Sunday's European parliament elections (this picture on the left is one of the Communist Parties near the University of Athens) (The one on the right is an Anarchist group protesting the elections a block away). The center right wing New Democracy Party also had giant ads up everywhere. People are worrying that the Extreme Right wing is going to win seats in the election, while some of the Anarchists are trying to urge a total boycott of elections.
As always, Exarchia proved an interesting trip as there was new Graffiti and political posters and flyers everywhere. We wondered into a community center that we had heard serviced immigrants. Inside we found all sorts of literature and three classrooms set up to teach Greek. One was in use for Arabs and another for North Africans. Apparently the funding for the location came from the teachers who volunteered their time. The center is open every days for lessons in Greek and meetings for immigrant rights groups. It is also connected with immigrant detainee struggles and for immigrant LGBT and childrens issues. Apparently this center is associated with leftists (they werent specific but I think she meant it was associated with one of the trotskyist parties or the KKE (stalinist). There are also other ones run by far leftists and Anarchists.
There is a massive Gay Pride Rally being planned in Athens and we saw lots of of "Queer Revolution" tags spraypainted all over walls. Also the neighborhood adjacent to Exarchia was covered in Antifa messages. Apparently a group calling itself "The Antifa Panthers" or "Antifa Group 3" is based out of there. We found that out just as it became apparent that the Fascist group Golden Dawn struck another place. They stormed the International Press Center in Athens where a ceremony was taking place for the first Macedonian to Greek dictionary. It is important because the fascists do not consider Macedonians different from Greeks and them having a "separate language" is considered anathema. They smashed several film cameras, destroyed the film, and assaulted attendees. ALL THIS OCCURRED RIGHT AFTER WE SAW THEM THE OTHER DAY! Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) is a dangerous organization that will get whats coming to them one of these days.