Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The truth is out there but not if you read the Greek press

The Greek blogosphere has been full of complaints over the way the mainstream media covered yesterday's Polytechniou Day. It seems there has been a concerted effort to either play down or ignore much of what happened. For example much of Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city was covered in a blanket of tear gas for hours on end as riot police fired round after round of the stuff into the university grounds to supposedly disperse a few dozen protesters.

In addition the clashes between right and left wing student groups in the morning has been less than honest. For example today's Eletherotypia newspaper reported that;

"Επεισόδια σημειώθηκαν και νωρίς το πρωί, την ώρα που άρχιζε η κατάθεση στεφάνων στο μνημείο των πεσόντων, στο προαύλιο της Πολυτεχνικής Σχολής του ΑΠΘ. Ομάδα φοιτητών του Πανεπιστημίου Μακεδονίας που πρόσκεινται στη ΔΑΠ προσπάθησαν να πλησιάσουν για να καταθέσουν στεφάνι, αλλά μέλη νεολαιών της εξωκοινοβουλευτικής Αριστεράς τούς υποδέχτηκαν με πέτρες. Ακολούθησε συμπλοκή στο οδόστρωμα της Εγνατίας οδού που κράτησε περίπου 15-20 λεπτά."

They were incidents early this morning when members of DAP (the student wing of the conservative New Democracy party) attempting to lay a wreath during a ceremony for the victims of the 1973 Polytechnic uprising at the Aristotelion university of Thessaloniki were stoned by members of the student supporters of the extra parliamentary left. The clashes that followed lasted approximately 15 -20 minutes."

Well, I happened to be there at the times and as you can see from the picture above the hundred or so DAP members who gathered opposite the university were hardly dressed for a such a solemn ceremony. Nor do those who wish to pay their respects hurl paving stones, bottles and insults at people attending,

There were clashes but from what I saw many of those inside were preparing to defend the shrine set up inside the campus from attack by these hooligans.

So why the discrepancy in the accounts? I'm not sure if it is just indifference, ignorance or a worry that the newspaper's political line must be preserved irrespective of the truth.

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