Athens: Night street fight in the neighbourhood of Exarchia

At about midnight on Saturday, September 8th, a group of comrades who were in Exarchia heard that about 100 meters away from the neighbourhood’s square, on Stournari street and opposite the entrance of the Polytechnic School, clashes had started between two groups of people. We walked down there with others to see what was going on, not understanding exactly who were the ones fighting each other. Asking people on the street, we found out that drug dealers had tried to push their disgusting business in the area, backed by secret police. Note that, since a few months, the police try to transform the neighbourhood into a drug trafficking area once again – as it was in the not so remote past – and Stournari street frequently turns into a scene of street fights between drug dealers and people who live there or visit the area.

When we arrived at the height of Bouboulinas street, the invasion had been repelled by a group of hooded and masked young people, and the first barricades consisting of burning rubbish containers had been erected. From then on and for a couple of hours, traffic on Stournani street was cut and dozens of hooded activists, including various migrants, were throwing stones, bottles and various objects against the MAT anti-riot police squadrons that appeared at side streets and responded by firing tear gas.

At about 1.30am, around a hundred people rushed from Stournani street to the self-run park located on Navarinou and Zoodohou Pigis streets, passing through the main arteries of the neighbourhood. Arriving at Charilou Tripouki street, new barricades were set up with burning trash bins and an attack was launched against the MAT from outside the university education faculty. The anti-riot police managed to make us retreat, running along the length of Zoodohou Pigis street, in the direction of Strefi hill. Despite this, new barricades were erected at the corner of Valtetsiou and Charilou Tripouki streets, also cutting traffic at this point. After remaining at Zoodohou Pigis for some time, and considering that things were quite relaxed, we moved again to Stournani street, to see that there was a lot of action there and that the street battle was ongoing, with continuous attacks and counterattacks between the pigs and the resisters. A couple of guys who tried to take photos were rebuked by hooded youths and the photos they had taken were erased.

Few of the slogans that were chanted during the confrontations are listed below:

Rage and conscience, negation and violence, we are going to plant chaos and then anarchy!

Freedom to the Cells of Fire (CCF)!

Freedom to all those in prison cells!

Anarchy, destabilization, direct action, insurrection!

Only bursts of Kalashnikov would do justice and make you [cops] come to your senses!

Solidarity is the weapon of the peoples; war against the bosses’ war!

The insurgents are right, and not the snitches and those who kneel down!

By the way, at around 3am the intensity of the confrontations had dropped significantly, and we bade farewell to the battle-scene heading to our beds for a well-earned sleep.