This year’s 6th of December marked 12 years since the cold-blooded murder by the Greek police of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos in the neighbourhood of Exarcheia. A long period of time in which justice hasn’t been served, to say the least. Even worst, last year the cynicism of the authorities reached to an unseen level – Alexis’ murderer Epaminondas Korkoneas, who has never expressed any regret for his act, was released from prison after serving only 11 years.
But more than that, the significance of this anniversary goes further than simply punishing the murderer. It is part of the long list of atrocities committed ruthlessly by the State and covered by the capitalist media. As such, it stands as a stark reminder of the necropolitics so innate to all bureaucratic structures.
This year the New Democracy government forbade people from gathering at the place where the murder took place. This was in line with the previous prohibitions on demonstrations and gatherings, excused by the government as a measure against the pandemic.
Just like on 17th of November, more than 5 000 cops were deployed all over Athens’ city centre, turning it into a fortress. From early morning whoever was spotted by the police in the neighbourhood of Exarcheia, heading to the place of the murder, was being stopped, and on many occasions detained, although most of these people wore masks, kept distances, and wanted simply to lay a flower in memory of Alexis. Instead, people were crammed into police vans and stations, where no distances were kept, showing us that the real concern of the ND was not public health, but putting an end to a popular anniversary against the State. The account of those detained exceeded 80 people, among whom two of the antifascist lawyers of Pavlos Fissas’ family, who were part of the historic trial that put the fascist party Golden Dawn in jail.
At the end of the day, the government managed to prevent the annual 6th of December mass demonstration from taking place. But despite that, few small-scale gatherings took place outside the city centre.
So far, the Greek government has used the pandemic as a pretext to implement a state of exception where every form of dissent is penalised. People who dared to express dissent were met with violence and detention. It is up to the whole of Greek society to not put up with this new reality before its too late.
Yavor Tarinski is a political activist and author, currently residing in Athens.
Featured image: police at the place of murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos. Via No Borders Network.