Taken at the 11th Anti - Racist Festival, Thessalonik this weekend.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Green activists in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki clashed with riot police during their attempt to hold a naked bike ride in order to protest excessive car use. Senior police officials, however, had warned that anyone not wearing clothes would be arrested and so the ride went ahead with the protesters clothed in beach wear and body paint.
According to protest spokesperson, Kostas Terzopoulos Thessaloniki is the dirtiest city in Europe especially in term of pollution and that excessive car use leads to massive problems with air quality and noise pollution.
Problems began when riot police closed the main road leading into the city and forcibly arrested an English protester who they claimed was naked. Amidst tense scenes the hundred or so cyclists eventually persuaded the riot police to let the bike ride continue.
Later cyclists closed the main Tsimiski St with a sit down protest in order to demonstrate against the detainment of their fellow protester who was, according to police authorities set free. They condemned the police handling of the ride as heavy handed and out of all proportion.
The Greek police force has a chequered history as far as the handling of public demonstrations and has often been the target of complaints and law suits over excessive use of force. Last September English teacher and NowPublic contributer, Craig Wherlock was hopitalised by riot police for taking pictures during a peaceful march.Whilst in November 2006 Cypriot student, Augustinos Dimitrios was savagely beaten by plain clothes officers. Despite the fact that the incident was captured by TV cameras and shown on national TV no officer has been charged with a criminal offense.
Following the example of other cities green activist organised a naked bike ride to highlight the problems caused by excessive car use in Thessaloniki. However, the public prosecutor threatened to arrest anyone who demonstrated without clothes.
The riders complied with his request but that didn't stop the riot police turning up in force and arresting a English Cypriot protester for allegedly being naked.
Video from Thess.gr
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I bumped into Stephan as I was going through Aristotelous Square and after catching up on news and stuff I asked to take his photograph. Check out his website and video.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Still, the good news is that there are interesting images to be found in the most unlikely of places and most importantly there are right on your doorstep. No need to jet off to exotic locales when you can find something to shot from your everyday life.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
One of the things I like to do is buy books with the works of famous photographers in order to draw inspiration and if possible, copy their style in order to incorporate it into my own. One book I bought recently is Vietnam Inc. by Philip Jones Griffiths, a Welsh photographer who covered the war. In 1971 he published his book of images which was a damning indictment of what America was doing in Vietnam.
Here is a Magnum podcast which includes interview footage of Griffiths intercut with pictures from the book. Be warned some of the photos are harrowing.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I took this picture at a demo in which people were protesting rising cost of living. As is the case with many places in the world oil and food prices have gone up dramatically in the last few years.
However, the situation in Greece has become desperate as the cartels and monopolies that control so much of the economy have used the current international climate to hike up prices at a far greater rate than in other European countries.
On the other hand wages have remained more or less static for the best part of decade.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I was taking pictures in the centre in an abandoned building near this guy's shop. He popped out of his place and politely asked me what I was doing and after I had explained I asked if I could take his picture.
Uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ on 18 Jun 08, 6.01PM EEST.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
"And the winner is...... just let me fumble with the envelope for a moment or two to create a false sense of suspense......."
I just thought I'd post a few more pictures of Lydia at her last school play for the folks back in England. Still, me and Lydia shall be flying north in a week or so, if all goes according to plan and I don't fall foul to any snags in the paperwork I'm wading through.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Woken at 7am by the sound of yet another digging crew churning up the road outside my place I decided to take the hint and get up and do something more productive than moan about noise pollution. So I wandered around the city, took in a Dali exhibition, visited a church and bumped into friends and had a coffee. So, once again thanks to Theodora P and family for their company.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
As often happens at the this time of year there was a lightning storm over the bay. I went on the balcony to take few snaps. Well, it was either that or see the Euro football championship, which is about as interesting as watching grass grow for me.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
As school has finished I have more time on my hands so that means I get to catch up on things I missed during this last frenetic winter. Lydia was in a school performance today and so I was able to attend her Oscar winning performance as a forest elf in her school play.
Tonight Greek TV (ET 1 at 10.00pm) will show a documentary made by the Reportage Horis Synora team (Reporting Without Borders) on police violence in Greece. When they were making the programme a film crew came up from Athens to interview me on my experiences at the hands of the riot police last September (see here for more details). For the dreadful crime of taking pictures of the police during a peaceful march I was attacked by them and detained. As a result I was left with a broken nose, dislocated shoulders and other various injuries that took up three pages in the medical report I received.
Still, compared with many other cases I got off lightly, I was released quickly and in the police department I was taken to (in an unmarked van with four uncover cops - not an experience I recommend) I was not beaten, which more than I can say for many.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
Yesterday I took the opportunity to go to The Voice of the Socially Excluded conference which was held at the Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki. This was a two day event which gave various social groups such as drug uses, ethnic minorities and immigrants the chance to voice their opinions to a wider audience .
Genti Guri, an immigrant from Albania who has been in Greece for nine years spoke of being imprisoned in the country as he is obliged, like so many others to get a residence permit every two years. No problem there you might add but the procedure is long, complicated and expensive, riddled with corrupt official on the take. As a result the process can take up to two years every time, during which the person may not leave the country even for such crisis such as a death in the family.
Others such as Mustapha Serwan, a disabled immigrant originally from Afghanistan and Larisa Iasonidou, an ethnic Greek from Armenia both told of the problems faced by people trying to life in a country where who you know rather than what you know is the main determiner in getting a job and in fact, virtually every aspect of public life here.
However, the most heartrending moments were delivered by Alexandros Karasiadis, a member of a team of Greek lawyers and human rights activists who have been investigating what can only be termed Greece's hidden gulag in which asylum seekers are held for months in absolutely appalling condition in warehouses and old cow sheds with no heating, running water, access to legal services or even a phone, for that matter.
Then the immigrants are often deported from the country without the opportunity to even apply for asylum. Not that that would help much as less than three percent of such cases are approved. The border police's casual brutality and the unwillingness of Athens to follow European law or even its own legislation has drawn criticism from Amnesty international, the United Nations and many other European countries such as Germany and Sweden which have refused to return younger immigrants to Greece due to numerous allegations of ill - treatment.