Chronology: December 6-25, 2008
Saturday December 6, 2008: Two cops confront a group of young anarchists on Mesollogiou Street in Exarchia, Athens. Cop Epaminondas Korkoneas shoots and kills fifteen-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos. Within an hour people gather and soon begin clashing with police. Some anarchists quickly make the critical decision to occupy the Polytechnic. Attacks on police, banks, and luxury stores spread to Patision Avenue, Ermou, and to the universities Nomiki and Pantio. Friends of Alexis fight off police attempts to enter Evaggelismos Hospital, where his body has been taken. Seventy luxury shops on Ermou are smashed and burnt to the ground, and a seven-floor megastore is torched. People in the cafes and bars hear the news and join in.Anarchists also occupy ASOEE university and leftists and anti-authoritarians occupy Nomiki, the law school. By the end of the night, much of the city is filled with tear gas, police have been chased out of many neighbourhoods, and multiple police stations have been attacked. News of the killing and the riots spread throughout Greece via internet and cell phone. Starting within just a couple hours of the murder, major spontaneous protests attack police stations and banks in Thessaloniki, Iraklion, Chania, Patras, Ionnina, Kavala, and Volos. Smaller demonstrations occur in Rethymnon, Komotini, Mytilini, Alexandropouli, Serres, Sparta, Corfu, Xanthi, Larissa, Naxos, Agrinio, and countless small towns.
December 7: In Athens a demonstration of over 10,000 people immediately turns into a riot causing major property damage, burning down many corporate and luxury shops. Police attack with thousands of tear gas canisters, but are frequently chased away sometimes even being routed by rioters. Riot police try to occupy Exarchia and residents pelt them with stones and flower pots, More banks and police stations are burned. Police are only able to carry out seven arrests throughout the day owing to heavy and generalised resistance. In Thessaloniki 1,000 people break away from a protest march of 3,000 and attack a police station. After the leftists leave the march it continues to attack government buildings and another police station, setting up barricades and burning luxury stores. Police attack the university and theatre school occupations. Police and demonstrators alike are injured in the fighting. In Iraklion and Patras there are demonstrations of 600 and 1,000 people, respectively with the anarchists forming large blocs at the end as usual. In both cities many banks are attacked, causing the leftists in Patras to leave the march. In Corfu several hundred people protest. After demonstrators clash with police, a dozen youth from KKE (the Communist Party) and PASOK lock the university and refuse to let the protesters in, leaving them at the mercy of the riot police.There is also a large, violent demonstration in Ionnina involving 1,000 people, it is attacked by police, who hospitalise three. Other protests and actions occur in Mytilini, Ithaki, Larissa, Pyrgos, Karditsa, Kavala, Xanthi, Volos, Serres, Sparta, Kozani, Arta, and Naxos. In some cases in small cities, groups of as few as ten people carry out bold actions like attacking police stations with molotovs and dispersing before they can be caught, as occurred in Pyrgos. In Kozani an anarchist demo of just eighty people besieges the local police station, kicking out journalists and building barricades. In other places, events unfold rather peacefully as in Sparta where anarchists occupy a university and set up an infopoint.
December 8: Many schools and universities are closed this Monday But rather than stay at home, students occupy their schools or take to the streets. In Athens alone, thousands of students march on and attack police stations all over the city Meanwhile, anarchists at the Polytechnic battle police for hours and burn down all the computer stores on Stournari Street. More than 200 arson attacks occur across the city and the huge, decorative Christmas tree on Syntagma Square is burnt down. Cops open fire on rioters with live ammo. Many police stations, banks, government offices, ministries, luxury stores, and corporate chain stores are smashed or burned completely Dozens of cops are injured. In Piraeus all the police cars parked at the police station are destroyed by local high school students. In Thessaloniki students and extreme Left organisations hold multiple protests, and occupy the Lawyers Association building to use it as a counter-information center. Police stations and government ministries are attacked with stones and molotovs, and a student march down the principal avenue, Egnatia, destroys every bank on the street, along with many other stores, while burning Greek flags. In Patras, anarchists occupy a local TV station to broadcast counter-information. In Iraklion, a march of 2,000 people forces police to retreat, and at night the city is engulfed in rioting, in which many Roma, hooligans, and poor people participate alongside anarchists and students. Most banks in the city centre are torched. Thousands of people, mostly students, march and riot in Chania, Larissa, Rhodes, Nafplio, Chios, Egio, Veria, Kavala, Agrinio, Aliveri, Alexandroupoli, Chaldiki, Giannitsa, Syros, Ierapetra, Kastoria, Korinthos, Kyprarissia, Pyrgos, Corfu, Xanthi, Kilkis, Trikala, Serres, Tripoli, Mytilini, Kalamata, Moudros, Lamia, Kozani, Florina, Edessa, and elsewhere. In each place between 50 and 2,000 people participate, and actions range from blockading the police station and pelting it with garbage, to pelting police with molotovs and rocks and burning down banks. In several cities, youth with the KKE try to protect the police or prevent the occupation of universities.
December 9: Cops provoke the massive crowd at Alexis’s burial, shooting tear gas just as he is being interred, leading to more fighting. At the time most of the anarchists in Athens are at the funeral, yet heavy street fighting is simultaneously being carried out by non-political people throughout the city. The ASOEE occupation successfully repels a MAT attack. Thousands of prisoners throughout Greece boycott meals for the day in commemoration of Alexis, even though they are recovering from their hunger strike. Anarchists expropriate food from supermarkets to feed the university occupations or to distribute it on the streets. Multiple police stations across the city are attacked. Immigrants are hunted by police and fascists. Fighting and protesting continues in other cities and towns across the country There are major protests in Thessaloniki, Patras,Volos, and Ioannina, that are brutally attacked by police trying to stop the uprising. In Thessaloniki and Patras cops and fascists work together to attack the anarchists and the occupations.
December 10: The General Confederation of Greek Workers calls off the general strike it had already scheduled months earlier for that day Tens of thousands of people gather in the streets anyway and fighting with police resumes throughout Athens. Many workers, including air traffic controllers, walk off the job, bringing transportation to a halt. Police are increasingly assisted by fascists in Athens, while in Thessaloniki members of the KKE unmask and beat a rioter. Protests, occupations, and riots continue in other cities and towns throughout Greece. A group of about 100 Roma attack a police station in the Zefyri suburb of Athens. Total damages up to that point are estimated at fifty million euros, 554 buildings have been attacked, and twenty-seven cars set on fire. By the end the total cost of damages would quadruple.
December 11: The city hall of Aghios Dimitrios is occupied by residents. Throughout Athens students hold assemblies or fight on the streets alongside anarchists. In the afternoon, twenty-five police stations throughout the city are besieged and multiple undercover cops are put in the hospital. One hundred twenty schools in Athens are occupied by their students. Police request more tear gas from Israel; they have run out. In Piraeus anti-authoritarian students manage to kick the KKE out of the university so they can occupy it. In Thessaloniki a march of about 600, mostly anarchists, is attacked by police, but residents join them and the protest swells to 3,000, repelling police. Five thousand protest in Patras. Demonstrations, actions, and occupations continue to occur in other cities and towns.
December 12: In Athens Flash FM radio is occupied but the signal is quickly cut. A government building in the Chalandri neighbourhood is occupied and turned into an infopoint. The old city hall in the same neighbourhood is occupied to house an open popular assembly Students organise a massive march in the centre of Athens.They are attacked by police and fight back. Outside Parliament there is a peaceful sit down protest. Police attack the Nomiki occupation and are repelled by the people. Many cops are set on fire. All over the country open assemblies are held in university occupations. The city hall in Ioannina is occupied. At night a massive, peaceful, candlelit protest is held in Athens in commemoration of Alexis.
December 13-23: Thousands of actions, too many to count, occur across Athens and in many other cities and towns, including occupations, counter-information. The large scale production of pamphlets and texts speaking to hundreds of themes to counteract the lies broadcast by the media commences. Protests, propaganda work, supermarket expropriations, actions to liberate the public transportation, assemblies, attacks against specific targets, and direct communication with society on a diffuse and massive scale continues.
December 16: A group of artists and anarchists occupies NET the major public television station in Athens, interrupting a speech by the prime minister and broadcasting a message urging people to turn off their TVs and take to the streets.
December 17: The central building of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) in Athens is occupied by anarcho-autonomous base unions, supported by anarchists and libertarians. Roughly six hundred people participate in their assembly every afternoon.
December 21: The occupation of the GSEE ends.
December 23: Three thousand protesters march through Athens. In the afternoon a riot police bus is shot up with automatic rifles in Zografou, a neighbourhood of Athens. Bulgarian immigrant worker Konstantina Kuneva is brutally attacked by unknown assailants, probably in retaliation for her activity organising fellow precarious cleaning workers and her association with the GSEE occupation.
December 24: Several hundred anarchist stage a peaceful march through Athens.
December 25: Christmas is exploited to the maximum extent as a social symbol of peace, tradition, the atomisation of social life into the private sphere, and consumption. In the official narrative Christmas marks the definitive end of the revolt; however arson attacks targeting banks, car dealerships, and government officials in multiple Athens neighbourhoods as well as in Ioannina promise a continued struggle.