Teenage Riots in Athens (Part 3/3)

Uploaded by vice on Aug 1, 2012


Our first day inside the Greek riots have been ridiculous.
While the locals have considered it a mild version
of what they're used to.
To me, it felt like civil war.
Old women who pat a teenage and a kiss on the back as
militarized police threw rocks at our heads.
Everything seemed backwards.
Today, though, George Papandreou was taking the EU
austerity bill before Greek parliament.
It seems certain to past and, as it did, the blood on Athens
streets seemed certain to boil.
The feeling was that something had to change.
The system was broken.
They were paying for the wasteful corruption of the
establishment and they refused to be
governed by them anymore.
The rhetoric was exciting.
Very easy to get swept up in.

When we got there, though, the sun was shining and everyone
seemed pretty chill.

By the mid afternoon we were wandering aimlessly through
the square when, in a moment, the mood changed completely.
Anonymous bombs began exploding as the unified
atmosphere of the day before evaporated.

Just like the previous day the Communists, led by PAME, had
been protecting parliament, refusing to let anyone,
including anarchists, through their lines.
Eventually, the anarchists frustration boiled over.
And a massive street battle between Communists and the
Anarchists began.


It seemed as though the workers militant front, PAME,
had sided with the police.
You remember PAME?
The nice guys in the van?
Well, they charged us, and the rest of the crowd, with
massive mallets.
Spreading terror as the police spread tear gas.



While this was going on, Parliament finally passed the
austerity bill.

Let's face it.
It's confusing being in a riot.
I saw PAME beating up protesters and
trying to kill us.
But, frankly, I was shitting myself.
So maybe I'm not the best judge.
I saw a country tearing itself apart.
But not everybody agrees.

As the sun set on Thursday, news began to spread that a
man had been killed.
First people were saying that he was an anarchist.
Then that he was a Communist killed by anarchist rocks.
Eventually everyone seemed to agree that the man had died of
natural causes.
Which I think means that he was literally scared to death.

The austerity bill was predictably passed that day.
But the chaos outside parliament wasn't ignored.
Days later Papandreou dramatically announced a
referendum on the bill, only to change
his mind hours later.
Eventually, the prime minister would step down, while plans
for a coalition government were drawn up.
Leaving the country looking more screwed and
confused than ever.
While we were there the riots felt like a revolution.
Or a Civil War.
In reality, though, it was just a taste of the political
and social chaos that would follow for Greece.