December 2008 was due to happen and at the same time a complete rupture with Greece’s recent past – it is precisely the combination of the two that made these events so unique. With social tension mounting in the years that followed the extravagant overspending of the 2004 Olympics; with public debt sky-rocketing, speculators and private investors turning rich overnight, the largest segment of the Greek society got a sample taste of the model of wide capitalism being introduced in the country. On the night of December 6th, 2008, when Alexis Grigoropoulos was assassinated by armed police thugs Epaminondas Korkoneas and Vassilis Saraliotis in the Athens district of Exarcheia, people already had a million reasons to take to the streets: not only was it an assassination of tremendous symbolic value (a 15-year old boy assassinated by police in Exarcheia, Athens’ most subversive neighbourhood); it was also, quite simply, that by that point people had had enough. The spark turned into a fire: for the following three days, Athens saw unprecedented scenes of rioting and street-fighting with the police. Public buildings were targeted, occupied. Symbols of state and capital were smashed to the ground. In the weeks that followed, the riots turned into a revolt; universities were occupied and controlled by hundreds-strong assemblies; corporate media were occupied across the country from the revolted who wished to transmit their own, un-mediated message.
Largely thanks to the immediacy of networks of counter-information, news of the revolt – and then, the revolt itself – quickly spread out of Athens to Thessaloniki and virtually all other major cities in Greece. These same networks carried the message of the uprising outside the Greek state’s borders; before 2008 came to an end, more than 200 solidarity actions had taken place in cities across the world.
You may read a chronology of December 08 in Athens (written on 1/1/2009) and Thessaloniki (written on 31/12/2008) by TPTG