Athens: Bus fare evader dead after scuffle with ticket inspector

In the night of August 13th, a ticker inspector inside a moving trolley bus pressured a 19-year-old to hand over his identity card and pay a fine for not having a ticket, threatening to take him to the nearest police station should he not comply with his authority. After some moments, the bus driver intervened in the argument in favor of the inspector. The passenger resisted the bullying, and there was a scuffle. Then suddenly, the bus door was opened and the young man either jumped off, or (more likely) was shoved out of the vehicle. He was fatally injured from the fall on a sidewalk. Despite the teen’s body lying on the ground covered in blood, the ticket collector went on threatening other passengers who were furious at what just happened, and he even demanded a woman be arrested by the cops.

The following is a communiqué by the open popular assembly in Peristeri district, where the deadly incident occurred:

Monday, 19 August 2013

The State, SS, cops, inspectors take someone’s life for a ticket.

On 14 August 2013, news of the death of Thanassis Kanaoutis caused a spontaneous gathering in Peristeri, where the tragic incident took place. The 19-year-old lost his life during inspection on a trolley bus of route 12, after he was bullied from a ticket inspector because he had no valid ticket —what resulted in the passenger’s fatal leap from the moving vehicle. People who gathered nearby, at Dimarchiou Square, decided to call for a protest march on the same day.

On 16 August 2013, the 19-year-old’s funeral took place at the Peristeri cemetery, and the ceremony soon became a protest in the neighbourhood. More than 2,000 people took to the streets shouting slogans, and factually showed their opposition to the plans of Domination seeking to turn the whole of society into an inspection camp, a jungle where even the loss of human life is treated as collateral damage.

After the burial ceremony, the gathered crowd returned to the place of the fatal incident. When the demonstration arrived in Dimarchiou Square, large numbers of protesters remained there. Approximately 200 people (most of them school students) continued to march toward the Aghios Antonios metro station, expressing their anger with direct actions, erecting barricades and setting dumpsters on fire.

Soon thereafter, people were chased by MAT anti-riot squads and DELTA motorcycle units through Panagi Tsaldari Street, Ethnikis Antistaseos pedestrian road, and the surrounding alleys up to Thivon Avenue.

There followed an orgy of state repression, with anti-riot cops beating and arresting people indiscriminately. Ten protesters were brought to the Athens police headquarters, paying the price of participating in the march. Given this fact, a rally was held outside the police headquarters in solidarity with the detainees. At the same time a PA’s gathering (mikrofoniki) took place close to where Thanassis Kanaoutis was murdered, and people began to regroup at Dimarchiou Square. Shortly after 23.00, anti-riot squads encircled the assembled protesters and detained more individuals (the total detentions were 30 by then), while DELTA police motorcyclists were conducting checks, and forced people that sat on benches to leave the square. A few hours later, all detainees were released without charges —except one person, whose detention was turned into arrest; he was indicted on two misdemeanors.

In a showdown, repression forces stayed at Dimarchiou Square and its vicinity until morning hours, attempting to terrorize the local community. The town remains in a state of emergency, facing the State’s effort to prevent people’s presence in the center of Peristeri district.

On Saturday afternoon, August 17, plainclothes cops and DELTA, MAT, DIAS units were present everywhere. However, a crowd began to gather once again on the street of the deadly incident. Repression forces demanded the assembled people to leave; in addition, cops announced they would proceed to arrests should demonstrators occupy the location, as this would constitute a criminal offense of “obstructing public transport.”

The crowd went to Dimarchiou Square. Despite strong police deployment, they started a spontaneous assembly against state repression, discussing how previous days had unfolded. All assembled individuals required our free presence in the square, free public gatherings at the murder scene, free access to all that belongs to us, without inspectors and repression over our lives. We exchanged views and suggested ideas for undertaking action during the next period. Due to the incident’s severity, we are determined to continue our daily gatherings at Dimarchiou Square and resist state repression.

If we don’t resist in every neighbourhood, our cities will become modern prisons.

Open Popular Assembly in Peristeri