There’s a place in almost every city that tourists usually don’t visit. It’s usually the place that gives seed to uprising where there were murders and where political extremism reigns supreme.
Exarchia, Athens, Greece
Just a stone’s throw away from upmarket Kolonaki, there’s the inner-city Exarchia on the wrong side of the tracks. An “avaton” is rumored to be hanging over the district, meaning that policemen and certain people such as mainstream journalists, politicians and of course nazis are not welcome in this den of anarchism. The neighborhood is covered with slogans and graffiti that give voice to the walls. Every so often there’s an attack on a politician, his political office or house in an effort to rid Exarchia of mainstream power and police chaises between cops and anarchists are quite frequent. A notorious point in its history was the shooting of Alexis Grigoropoulos, aged 15, by a police officer and this gave spark to riots. Look beneath that however, and you’ll find interesting book stores, second-hand record stores and the best coffee in town!
Redfern, Sydney, Australia
The inner-city suburb is 3 km south of the Sydney business district. Named after surgeon William Redfern who was given 100 acres of this land, the area went down hill when the flower and kitchen gardens made way for Sydney’s original railway terminus. Migrant populations flowed into the area with wave after wave making Redfern their home before moving out as soon as they could. The notorious Redfern Mail Exchange was built in 1965 after 300 people were evicted from their homes after an automatic mail-sorting machine destroyed many letters and gave rise to numerous industrial disputes. In 2004, the Redfern riots began on February 14 outside Redfern station. They were sparked by the death of Thomas T. J. Hickey, a teenager shot by police while riding his bicycle. Redfern’s Aboriginal community rioted.
Harlem, New York City, United States
Originally a Dutch village, it was named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands and it has been defined by a series of boom-and-bust cycles with numerous population shifts. African-American residents arrived in droves in 1905, fed by the Great Migration. Job losses led to a rise in crime and poverty from the Great Depression onwards. The black population peaked in the 1950s.
Brixton, London, UK
Brixton is a residential area with a multiethnic community and a large percentage of African and Caribbean people. The area was the scene of riots in April 1981 when the area had deep social and economic unrest caused by high unemployment, crime, poor housing and no amenities. The police began Operation Swamp 81 aimed at reducing street violence. This meant that they could stop and search individuals on mere suspicion of wrongdoing, but this caused local indignation and gave flare to a riot that resulted in almost 279 injuries to police and 45 injuries to civilians. Dozens of vehicles were burnt and buildings damaged and burnt as over 5,000 people rioted. Further riots took place in 1995 after the death of Wayne Douglas while in police custody. In April, 1999, a neo-Nazi bomber David Copeland planted a nail bomb that exploded on market day. It is believed to have targeted the black community.
El Raval, Barcelona, Spain
The area is notorious for its prostitution and crime. It has a diverse immigrant community (47.4% born abroad) with numerous immigrants from South America, Pakistan, Indonesia and more recently East Europe. The triangle bounded by las Ramblas, Drassanes and Carrer Sant Pau is one to avoid due to its crime rate.
Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea
The area is served by Seoul Subway Line 6, but is avoided by most locals due to the area known as “Hooker Hill.” This is the area where American servicemen visit from around other countries and there is an underground homosexual community in this area that is considered taboo in South Korea.