In Athens, an anarchist tradition alive and well

In Athens, an anarchist tradition alive and well( Singled out for blame in the wake of riots that broke out in Athens on February 12, Greek anarchists are eager to show that they “are not mere hooligans”. takes an exclusive look at the movement on the ground.

Nikólaos, a 36-year-old Greek anarchist, is reluctant to talk to journalists:

“Let me make it clear: I don’t represent any movement,” he says, making direct eye contact. “What I’m going to tell you is just my personal opinion. I’m not a leader or a spokesperson.”

His goal in speaking to the press is to make people abroad understand that Greek anarchists “are not mere hooligans”.

Nikólaos is seated in the office of Radio-Bubble, a community radio station in the neighbourhood of Exarhia in Athens. Home to numerous soup kitchens, occupied public buildings and squats, Exarhia has been the vibrant centre of Greek anarchy movements for nearly 40 years. In the 1970s, students rose up in revolt against the military dictatorship. Today, graffiti and anarchy posters line the walls of Exarhia’s narrow streets.

“We’re not only in a social war,” he insists. “We’re also in a media war.”

In the wake of the February 12 riots in Athens, news outlets and political leaders were quick to point their finger at anarchist protesters and far-left militants. The same scenario unfolded in 2008, when young Greeks and law enforcement officers faced off hours after the police killed an adolescent in a street protest.

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