Sunday, December 21, 2008


Protest march - general strike in Greece

There were times over the last two weeks when what I witnessed seemed taken from the script of an outlandish movie, the kind where everyone tuts and says, "That is just so Hollywood. That would never happen in real life". William Goldman, the writer of films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid once said that there were things taken from real life he couldn't put in his scripts as nobody would believe them.

Here is a selection of the few I remember from the riots and protests that I covered over the last two weeks.

The two guys wearing masks are ready to charge the bank , all set on smashing the security camera and disabling the ATM. However, there is a young woman there, oblivious to the mayhem around here who is taking out her money. The masked men wait, politely ask her if she has finished then set about the cash machine with hammers.

A march goes past a van, inside two tiny Shetland ponies stuck in a space not much bigger than they are. The protesters, enraged by this discuss what to do. In the end they take down the number plates as the owners to the authorities. Just a few metres behind them riot police approach menacingly.

50 kids, one no more than 10 years old pelting the central police station with rocks as bewildered shoppers seemingly unable to grasp what is happening gawp while pieces of paving stone clatter around them. The quasi - military riot police up against tweenies

Walking along Egnatia Boulevard lit up by at least a dozen fires, acrid smell of tear gas and burning plastic everywhere. Two middle aged bystanders argue over whether the anarchists about to firebomb a bank are doing the right thing. The older, white haired guy, says, :"What do you care? It's not your money".

An old woman buttoning holing a passing masked teen, scolding him about what has been happening. Others join in a passionately debate what has been happening over the last few days.

A smartly dressed woman , shopping bags around her waiting at the bus stop claps and cheers masked protesters marching by. The man next to her shouts out "Shame, shame on you".

Also check out Ishtar79's blog which has a thoughtful account of the events in Greece plus some great pictures that give a taste of what has been happening.

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