Athens. Nea Smyrni. It all started at noon on Sunday March 7, 2021 when police officers approached families who had gone out for their Sunday walk in the square of Nea Smyrni, a district in Athens, and started to impose fines, despite the fact that people were wearing masks. When other residents started to protest, the police responded with violence. As residents rushed to help the families, they were treated like enemies. Dozens of additional cops on motorbikes came to reinforce the ones that were already there and started to attack everybody, chasing, beating and arresting 11 people in the grove of Nea Smyrni and around it.
The increase of police violence in Nea Smyrni caused the anger and mass reaction of hundreds of residents, as well as the lie about attack by strangers against police officers, which was spread by the state and republished uncritically by the large parts of mainstream media. A little bit later, about 1,000 residents marched through the neighbourhood with a fromt banner saying “The cops out of our neighborhoods”.
The spontaneous demo against police capriciousness and violence received applause from many balconies in the neighborhood, however, a little bit later, riot cops encircled the demo, which created major tension. As it is not unexpected during a demo against police violence, that was experienced by an entire neighborhood, the cops were treated as invaders and undesirables. Unsurprisingly, based on the information of the state crackdown especially in the past weeks, the demo was attacked by riot cops with flashbangs and chemicals, literally, like an army invading a neighborhood.
The video that outraged Greece: “I’m Hurt”
It was Sunday 7 March 2021. Since everything is closed for more than four months of non-stop lockdown and a curfew that begins at 21:00 on weekdays and at 19:00 on weekends, people were just hanging out in Nea Smyrni square. Suddenly, motorcycle cops circle the square trying to intimidate and scare people away. They single out a family and issue them a fine (300 euros each) for sitting alone on a bench, despite the fact that they had taken all safety precautions like wearing masks.
People, curious as to what has happened, approach the cops, asking them for the reason that they have fined the family, since the family had taken all health precautions. Like mobsters, the biker cops single out one guy and begin to beat him up with solid steel batons (which are illegal for cops) and call for back up. Dozens of biker cops appear and unleash a chase in the area, arresting anyone they see running. The result was 11 people being arrested.
– The rise of right-wing fascism within the greek government –
Even by the elastic standards of what was used to be known as a parliamentary democracy in Greece, the right-wing regime that governs Greece has gradually turned, in just one year and a half in power, into a neo-fascist state.
While Athens is still on lockdown for more than the last 4 months, the right-wing government of “New Democracy” has used that time to act like a mafia organisation, settling scores with its perceived enemies, the greek people, human rights, and freedoms.
In a violent legislative crescendo, the government has managed to establish a junta-like police State, using the pandemic lockdown as a period to quash rights and freedoms with no resistance by the people, (since the right to protest has been indefinitely revoked), that no other greek government even thought to destroy, since the military junta regime was overturned in Greece back in 1974.
From establishing police stations inside the greek universities to the banning of gatherings and protests above a certain number of people and the ban on the freedom of journalists to move freely and report the news, and their plan to criminalize anti-establishment speech and lyrics in songs and art, the ironically self-proclaimed “New Democracy” governing party has decided the hiring of thousands of new policemen as the answer to everything, even the pandemic.