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Published on 23 February 2012
Blog Originally published 13 Feb
An amazing detailed account from someone who cares (CiD)
Media and crisis manager Stratos Safioleas (@stratosathens) judged last night’s destruction ‘unprecedented‘. Here, I have gathered together as many of the events as I could, listed in order of place: so far, Agrinio, Athens, Corfu, Herakleion, Patras, Thessaloniki, Trikala and Volos.
Moreover, I’ve grouped them by target as well: parliamentary/party/bureaucratic property; police property; banks; other commercial property; cultural venues; media organisations; personal private property; and other objects.
The destruction has been blamed on anarchist protesters, and on agents provocateurs; and I will try to probe this, and the destruction of cultural property, in detail in another post. But my analysis suggests that banks were the primary targets for destruction (even ahead of politicians’ offices). Still, there are many as-yet-undocumented incidents; there were at least 170 acts of destruction in Athens alone. I would be very grateful for any further information.
Update (16th February 2012): rioters ‘torched’ the entrance of the Numismatic Museum and smashed the windows of a Greek Resistance memorial. These are ugly acts of cultural violence; it is fortunate that the arsonists’ ignorance is only equalled by their incompetence.
Summary of riots’ targets
Athens’ Deputy Mayor, Andreas Varelas, believes that rioters targeted ‘emblematic' 'buildings‘. The cultural policy chief of right-wing coalition party New Democracy, Thanassis Davakis, claims that ‘[c]riminals targeted all that was best in the city of Athens, its neoclassical monuments’.
Of the 71 targets in my records, I believe the rioters damaged or destroyed:
So, nearly a third of all targets were banks; more banks were targeted than government offices. (Technically, more “general” commercial properties were targeted than banks; but banks are one specific institution, whereas the “general” commercial properties encompass a variety.) The majority of targets were either banks, the politicians who support the banks, or the police who protect both the politicians and the banks.
Generally, Greek rioters did not target small businesses, and they did not loot desirable/saleable consumer goods. With much success (considering the floods of tear gas and outbursts of physical violence), they confronted the police; and they smashed the physical embodiments of the international banking industry and the Greek political classes, which threaten them and their families.
ITV News’ Martin Geissler observed ‘[m]assive destruction‘ in Greece’s capital, Athens. Mercury News has a striking photo gallery of riots and fires. Apparently, ta Nea published an infographic map of destruction of the wounded city of Athens (Πληγωμ?νη π?λη η Αθ?να – Ο χ?ρτης της καταστροφ?ς); but curiously it did not put it online.
According to the police, in Athens, 170 banks, shops and cafes were wrecked (and (photo link) ATMs/cash machines, even bus stops), and 45 of those 170 were ‘totally burned down‘; but there are several other estimate, including from the police.(1)
The offices of the Directorate for Restoration of Modern and Contemporary Monuments (on Ermou; η Διε?θυνση Αναστ?λωσης Νε?τερων και Σ?γχρονων Μνημε?ων), which is part of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (το Υπουργε?ο Πολιτισμο? και Τουρισμο?), suffered ‘minor damage [[μ]ικρ?ς ?κτασης ζημι?ς]’.
Update (17th February 2012): rioters stormed Kotzia town hall in order to burn it down; but riot police ‘rout[ed] [προσ?γουν]‘ them before they could. (I only mention this to challenge any rumours. It also shows that rioters tried to target political property, but were sometimes unable to destroy it.)
(There were also reports of fires in the entrance to the Metro station at Syntagma; but they seem to have been defensive fires rather than destructive ones.)
In the 5th May 2010 riots, rioters petrol bombed Marfin Bank, and three workers burned to death inside. Last night, three, or fifteen, more workers narrowly escaped the same fate. They had taken refuge in the second basement of Alpha Bank; but firefighters rescued (‘extricated [απεγκλ?βισαν]‘).
They were truly, incredibly lucky:
- The city centre was almost inaccessible for fire engines and ambulances because of improvised barricades, and the fire department made an appeal to the demonstrators to open the roads. Fire engines were attacked and two firefighters were wounded.
- [Το κ?ντρο ?ταν σχεδ?ν απρ?σιτο για τα πυροσβεστικ? οχ?ματα και τα ασθενοφ?ρα λ?γω των αυτοσχ?διων οδοφραγμ?των, και η πυροσβεστικ? απη?θυνε ?κκληση στους διαδηλωτ?ς να ανο?ξουν τους δρ?μους. Πυροσβεστικ? οχ?ματα δ?χτηκαν επ?θεση και δ?ο πυροσβ?στες τραυματ?στηκαν.]
RegularGrrrl called bullshit on that narrative though: (Tweet)
Naturally, there were many more non-destructive actions, too. For example, the Central Bank was renamed in graffiti, ‘the Bank of Berlin‘.
Other commercial property
Shops were looted and burned.
To continue immediately to Part II click here
Photos, videos and Tweets were not reproduced from the original Blog. Please go to the original source to see/watch and read them.