Sunday, December 11, 2011

Looking back at 2011 in Greece

This week I received an email from the Guardian asking if I would like to contribute 200 words to an article on this year's events in Greece. Here is my reply.

"Greece has been through such upheavals that it's hard sometimes to separate all the different defining events, since the beginning of 2011 the country has seen changes that would have been inconceivable beforehand.

As austerity measures continue to grind the economy and population into the ground the reaction has been ferocious, with mass protests from groups as diverse as teenage would be anarchists and middle aged taxi drivers, both of whom I saw fighting riot police units in September.

On the other hand determinedly peaceful protests such as the Indignant movement which flourished in Spring were also violently put down in June, leaving people angry, confused and for the time being, without focus.

"Of all the demonstrations that took place in the last 12 months, perhaps the most decisive were those that saw politicians escaping from angry crowds nationwide during the annual 28th October No day parades. TV images of Greece's president being forced to flee in Thessaloniki, set in motion a series of events that led to the fall of the government of prime minister, Giorgos Papandreou, marking the end of a two - party system that has dominated Greek politics since the return to democracy in the 1970's."

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