Αλέξανδρος Γρηγορόπουλος

A year after 15-year old student Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot and killed by police, the streets of Athens are again blanketed by tear gas. Nearly a thousand people have been detained by Greek authorities, and schools have been occupied by anarchists in protest of the violation of academic asylum.

Anarchist flag waving over the Propylaia of the University of Athens. (gmesthos)

Anarchist flag waving over the Propylaia of the University of Athens. (gmesthos)

Protests in memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos (apαs)

Protests in memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos (apαs)

Fight in athens

Protests both peaceful and violent have been taking place across the city over the past few days, and no immediate end is in sight.

Marches against state terror unleashed in the last few days against the movement took place in Athens and Salonica on Tuesday 8/12 amidst government lies and bragging of its ability to detain more than 800 citizens out of which 13 have been charged during the marches in memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

In Athens the protest march called at Propylea at 19:00 found the university asylum grounds once again blocked by long triple chains of riot cops in utter breach of the 16th article of the constitution.

Athens Police

After several people were seriously wounded by a motorized police charge, Civil protection minister Michalis Chrisochoidis responded to criticism of brutal tactics by stating that “Police detentions, when justified, are not illegal in a democratic society. Neither is it illegal for judicial officials to press charges.” He added, “Vandals and hooligans have nothing to do with democracy.”

(Background, previously.)

To Protect and Serve

There were riots in Oakland last night over the New Years Day homicide of Oscar Grant, who was shot by BART transit police at point-blank range in the back while being restrained by officers.

Amnesty International:

When an unarmed man is shot in the back after police put him face down on the ground, it is the time for authorities to demand action, not patience. Days after the incident, the officer still has not been interviewed. The delay in this critical part of the investigation hints at the callousness to the worth of human life to a public that is all too familiar with racial profiling, police brutality and cover-ups. Whatever the final investigation reveals, the bottom line is that there is never justification to shoot an unarmed person, especially one who is restrained. It is an obvious violation of the most basic human rights standards, and a clear cut abuse of power.

(Photos by Thomas Hawk and The Inadvertent Gardener.)

the space between

The dreams have been coming back, recently, in a way I haven’t felt in many years.

Last night I watched a man die.

We were in a store, in the middle of a firefight between cops and robbers. I was crouched between two big freezers, well-covered and out of sight. He was standing in front of me, looking down, oblivious to the arms fire all around us.

We watched each other. We gave everything we were to each other in that moment, because we knew how precious it was.

We had lived this before, you see.

Three nights ago, I watched a man die.

We were in a store, in the middle of a firefight between cops and robbers. I was crouched down against a wall, exposed and in the line of fire. He was shooting at the robbers, along with the men from his station.

I watched him. I gave everything I had to him in that moment, because I knew how precious life was.

It didn’t make a difference, you see.

He survived the firefight, but slipped while attending to one of his men. He fell onto a pile of broken glass from an overhead display, and then the floor was the brightest crimson I had ever seen.

The paramedic did what he could, considering the circumstances. He couldn’t get a vein, he couldn’t open the bags, he couldn’t break the seals. Later, he remarked, “It was like God wanted this man to die, and wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

Last night, I went to the store. I brought my purchase to the counter, and saw the robbers walk in through the mirror in the corner. I knew where I was. I knew what was going to happen. The details might change, but the outcome would be the same.

I started walking towards the back, looking for somewhere to hide. Things were happening faster, this time. I heard a shot behind me, and I knew the shopkeeper was down. I managed to fit between the freezers, and kept my head down.

I heard the police come in. I heard them yell useless words of negotiation. I heard the firefight start.

When I looked up, I saw him standing over me, between the white men with guns and the black men with guns. He had been there with me. He knew what happened. He knew he was already dead.

We watched each other for a lifetime, and there was no space between us.

a wicked law, like cholera, destroys everyone it touches

Drug War Victims:

John Hirko, 21 years old: An unarmed man with no prior offenses was shot to death in his house by a squad of masked police. In a no-knock raid, they tossed a smoke grenade in through a window, setting the house on fire. Hirko, suspected of dealing small amounts of marijuana and cocaine, was found face down on his stairway, shot in the back while fleeing the burning building. When the fire was finally put out, officers found some marijuana seeds in an unsinged plastic bag.

Tony Marinez, 19 years old: Officers conducted a drug raid on a mobile home in De Valle. Martinez, who was not the target of the raid, was asleep on the couch when the raid commenced. Hearing the front door smashed open, he sat up, and was shot to death in the chest.

Alberto Sepulveda, 11 years old: Alberto was killed by a shotgun blast to the back while following police orders and lying face down on the floor during a SWAT raid. He was a seventh-grader at Prescott Senior Elementary School.

(More at Drug WarRant.)