Exarchia, Athens: Text by anarchist Yannis Dimitrakis (3/8)

On August 2nd, nearly 45 cops from various police units stormed Exarchia square, detained anarchist Yannis Dimitrakis from a café on Tsamadou Street where he was having his coffee, and then transferred him to Athens police headquarters. After several hours, the comrade was released. Here is a text he wrote the next day about his detention:

The following incident is definitely not going to surprise many people – as such incidents have become part of an everyday life that is full of similar events.

Of course I am only referring to yet another incident of violence and repression, quite aggressive towards me, an outcome of the accelerated activity of fascist gangs/DELTA and DIAS police motorcycle units in the centre of Athens but also wherever the long arm of the law may reach.

The story has highly vindictive features since my abduction, from a coffee shop in Exarchia square on August 2nd, 2012, was allegedly a mere ‘typical’ preemptive detention and identity verification – as they themselves claim – but just as we moved away from familiar glances and walked down some unfrequented alleys of the area, the issue of debts was raised. Not any given amount of money I owed them but apparently a kind of peculiar price I had to pay because of the fact that I am an anarchist and moreover – according to them – one who shoots police officers.

So, exercising their most vulgar insults and threats against me, a drove of contemporary Tagmatasfalites [WWII security battalions of collaborationists], always backed by the State, were settled on the corner of Vassileos Irakleiou and Bouboulinas streets awaiting for a transfer vehicle to take me to the police headquarters (GADA), under the protection of the anti-riot police (MAT) squad that as a rule camps daily there.

Even if they followed procedure in a context more or less known up to this point, my three-hour detention in the corridors of the police headquarters was embellished with the use of physical violence in large doses, while my hands were tied behind my back, thus the scenery was catapulted into a state of violent cannibalism worthy of the reputation that accompanies security battalions.

And yet if I frequently refer to these specific – and other – repressive forces as “security battalions”, this is not because I intend to excite some people’s emotional and volitional impulses by retrieving images of atrocities from the past, but because partly in reality they act similarly to those abhorrent subjects and partly because it was them who constantly reintroduced the issue of the Civil War in 1946–49 with their catchphrases.

The 9th Mountain Commando Battalions (LOK) Division of the National Army paraded before us, a division responsible for various massacres against guerillas and others during the period 1946–49. Grammos and Vitsi were referred to as places of overwhelming defeat of the Democratic Army [two mountains in northern Greece where the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) suffered heavy losses in 1949 battles and the remainder of DSE forces had to flee to Albania, as the Greek Civil War was ended in military terms]. Reference was made with great pride to their paramilitary role and their – sponsored and thus not truly uncontrollable – action, etc.

Silly details, that nevertheless reflect the situation of increased polarization that exists today in society, but also how this polarization – of course, not excluding the subjective factor – leads solidly to the formulation of clear dividing lines and camps, where everyone has to choose a side.

Concluding, I would like to emphasize that no one would need to refer to such an incident, which occurred for the umpteenth time, to demonstrate the role of police and its disposable human resources, and in no way do I personally think it was an incident beyond logic, let alone legality.

This listing of circumstances is intended to inform and not to protest or denounce the form of conflict in a short-term future between those who fight for the overthrow and revolution and those who will use their claws and teeth to defend their interests and privileges in the existing regime.

Personally, I have no answer to give to the bullying and threats of uniformed security battalions and their superiors, other than to continue to strive undaunted and more dynamically for the total and sweeping defeat of the rulers of this world.


Yannis Dimitrakis
August 3rd, 2012