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Published:January 29th, 2010 14:06 EST
Greek riots, were echoed around the globe, why?

Greek riots, were echoed around the globe, why?

By Chris Carucci

The December 6th riots of 2008 sprang up again in 2009 as various Anarchists, Labor Unions, Human Rights Activists and others began to protest the killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos who was shot by a group of two special police, the shooter being Epaminondas Korkoneas. While this has long since been claimed as the main reason for the riots, it is simply the spark to a much greater cause.

London blockade of Greek Embassy

 

Police statements say that Alexandros Grigoropoulos was about to through a petrol bomb at a police patrol car when Officer Korkoneas shot `warning shots`. There was no evidence present to support this claim by the police. Witness statements refer to the officer "taking direct aim" at Alexandros, who later died of gunshot wounds before he arrived at the hospital. Alexandors was shot at 9pm December 6th, 2008.

Through the global economic decline, Greece has lost a vast amount of jobs within their country, contributing to a large amount of unemployment. The unemployment rate is suspected to be around 10%. Various government scandals. Some of the Scandals are as follows -

2004 - The Greek Government admits that over 100 citizens were wiretapped during and before the Athens 2004 Olympics. The government admitted to this in March, 2006.

February, 2007 - A 280-million euro, 12-year structured government bond with a 6.25 percent coupon, issued in February 2007 by the Finance Ministry and underwritten by JP Morgan, passed through several brokers before ending up with state pension funds at inflated prices. Labour Minister Savvas Tsitourides was sacked and the deal reversed. Prosecutors have announced hundreds of charges from fraud to money laundering, but have not named any individuals.

December, 2007 - Labour Minister Vassilis Magginas resigned after the Greek press said he employed an uninsured Indian family at his country home. The scandal came at a time of unpopular pension reforms fiercely opposed by labour unions. He denied any wrongdoing, saying the Indians were his guests.

SIEMENS - May 2008:

Greece is investigating whether German engineering group Siemens bribed companies and officials to win deals including the security contract for the 2004 Olympics. A prosecutor has filed charges and an investigating judge has launched an inquiry. A German court convicted former Siemens executive Reinhard Siekaczek in July for his role in setting up slush funds used to win contracts. Siemens itself gave a tally of at least 1.3 billion Euros in suspect payments booked as fees.

SEX, LIES AND DVDs - February 2008:

Former Culture Ministry General Secretary Christos Zahopoulos resigned and jumped from his fifth-floor balcony after a DVD showing him having sex with his female assistant was taken to the office of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. What media dubbed the "sex, lies and DVDs" scandal shook Greek society and cut the government majority to one deputy after the temporary resignation of an MP. Zahopoulos survived the fall.

FERRY CONTRACTS - April 2009:

Greek lawmakers decided to launch an investigation into a former minister`s involvement in a shipping scandal after prosecutors passed the case to parliament. Ruling party deputy Aristotle Pavlides denies any wrongdoing in the case, brought to light by a ship-owner who testified that the minister`s aide demanded bribes to grant a contract to run subsidised Aegean island ferry routes.

VATOPEDI SCANDAL - September 2008

Merchant marine minister George Voulgarakis resigned amid mounting criticism from within his New Democracy party over property transactions, including a land swap between the state and the wealthy Vatopedi monastery where his wife acted as agent. He insisted no laws were broken but the finance ministry annulled the deal and a judicial investigation showed deputy ministers were involved in the land swap which media said cost taxpayers over 100 million Euros ($131.9 million).

Parliament set up an investigating committee in October. The same day, one of the prime minister`s closest aides, Minister of State Theodore Roussopoulos, resigned over his suspected role in the land deals. In December, the parliamentary investigation failed to reach an agreement on who was responsible for the scandal and took no further steps. 

The rioters quickly established strongholds within Greek universities, as police are not allowed to step foot on the grounds. It was reported that various Anarchists were stock piling petrol bombs, cement blocks, and gathering other supplies. Such schools that became the head quarters for Greek Anarchists are On 10 December, Alexis Kougias, who served as the defense for the officers, stated that ballistics showed it was a ricochet that had his Alexandros. Later Ballistics reported that it was indeed a ricochet, however the shot that had hit Alexandros was directed at the ground - not the air, thus disproving the statement of the officer of it being a `warning shot`. Alexis Kougias attempted to show that Alexandros was a "troubled" "deviant behaviour" and `inappropriate` child by stating that he had taken part in `riotous` activities after a local football game. The defense went a step further by stating "the victim did not show the expected behaviour and personality of a 15-year old adolescent".

 

Alexis Kougias`s defensive memorandum led to the Athens Bar Association to initiate disciplinary actions against him due to various school Administrators, as he attended a private school, testified to Alexandros not being a deviant youth. Four eyewitnesses testified for the Prosecutor virtually disproving all of the officer`s statements. One officer was charged with murder, the second for aiding.

Further demonstrations held in solidarity with the Greek Anarchists took place in various cities

such as Istanbul, London, Paris, Brussels, Rome, Dublin, Berlin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Amsterdam, Barcelona, The Hague, Copenhagen, Bordeaux, Seville, Nicosia, and Paphos.

 

It must be understood as to why these riots occurred, without proper knowledge into the political history of Greece, their current trials, we are not suitable to accurately judging their situation, the largely coincides with our own U.S Administration. We must be vigilant in understanding that the Greek population is in full discontent, and that this is simply not a `few hundred` Anarchists wreaking havoc on the city, clearly Athens and it`s second largest city, Thessaloniki, have enough riot police to control such a small crowd of `youths`. It is clear this is widespread discontent on a larger level then portrayed.

Article on the riot, it`s damages, and main areas of protest January 29th.

-- Credit to Renee Maltezou for the information and texts in regards to the Government Scandals. --