Monday, October 08, 2012

Merkel enters the lion's den

Zombie nation, Merkel nation . Stencil on the wall of a building in Thessaloniki, Greece

After much consideration I've decided that I'll be going down to Athens to cover the protests planned for the arrival of German chancellor, Angela Merkel to Greece. It's not a decision to be taken lightly as angry protesters are unlikely to be throwing rose petals and messages of good luck tomorrow. Already political organisations from across the entire political spectrum have said they will be calling upon supporters to take part in anti - austerity demonstrations on Tuesday in the centre of the Greek capital.In addition both public and private sector trade unions will be also part of the mix with marches set for 1 pm in Syntagma Square*, opposite parliament and the scene of the many violent confrontations.

For their part, the Greek police has announced, depending on which media source you use, that 6000, 6500 or 7000 officers will be on duty including the notoriously violent riot units known as the MAT. Also 4 water canons will be on standby, marking an escalation in the arms race between police and protesters in Greece.

As far as the foreign and local mainstream media is concerned the visit by Merkel is being hailed as a diplomatic triumph for Greek PM, Antonis Samaras and proof that Germany is determined to keep Greece within the Eurozone. On the internet and in the streets and cafes the arrival of the German leader has provoked a reaction of anger and dismay, being viewed as an arrogant act of provocation at a time when the nation's poorest are being hammered by an public service cuts and tax hikes during an economic downturn unprecedented in modern Greek history. 

Last week's policing fiasco when demonstrating shipyard workers stormed the grounds of the ministry of defence unopposed means the law enforcement authorities and the government will be determined to show that they are in charge of the situation on the streets. In operational terms that means the gloves will be off and a repeat of the violent clashes that marked the mass Indignant rallies last year is a distinct possibility.  

For photographers covering the events tomorrow this list of tips may prove useful.

If you feel you can help out financially (every bit helps, believe me) you can contribute via Paypal using

*UPDATE Greek trade unions have announced that the government has banned assembles in Syntagma Square and told them to choose another spot.

1 comment:

ariadne said...

Good luck!Be careful!AriadnefromGreece!