The government crash test took place last night at Exarheia in Athens, known as a cesspool of anarchy, when riots broke out in protest against the government’s agreement with the Eurogroup following the presentation of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis’ reforms list. This time, however, the police took a different approach thanks to the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) government’s stand against excessive police brutality. As a result, 300 anarchists took to Patission Street throwing molotov cocktails and makeshift bombs without any arrests or use of chemicals.
The young hooded rioters burnt four cars, dozens of garbage cans, broke the windows of two jewelry shops on upmarket Voukourestiou street in central Athens as well as a confectionary store and insurance company at Panepistimiou Street and banks lining Stadiou Street. Added to their tally were broken telephone booths and damaged bus stops left vandalized in their wake.
The violence began at around 6 p.m. as 300 anti-establishmentarianists gathered at the protest rally organized by the ultra-leftist ANTARSYA group. Two groups of Riot Police watched them discreetly, having received orders to hold back from the use of chemicals or responding to provocations. The police merely observed the young vandals and didn’t even close down Stournari Street.
60-70 hoodlums entered the iconic Polytechnic. The Riot Squad then moved in and a chase began. When the police were attacked by the hooded protestors they used a small amount of chemicals. The situation calmed down shortly after 11 p.m.
There may have been no arrests, however the Civil Protection Ministry is pleased with the outcome of the situation. In such cases there is usually exacerbated violence, use of dangerous chemicals and an escalation of tension, however this time the police did not enter into a race or respond to provocations that usually result in a worsened situation.