Soon, I hope to post a two-part analysis of the attacks on property during the 12th February protests and riots. As part of that analysis, I will look into state use of: agents provocateurs (who pretend to be part of a group, then lead its members into activity); and false flag attacks (where one person/group assumes the identity of another, then commits an attack, so that the other person/group gets the blame).
So, here are a few of many, many examples of police brutality, and police collaboration with thugs, fascists and agents provocateurs in Greece.
I do not want to associate the Greek police in general with these immoral acts. For instance, the recent antiquities gang bust was excellent in investigation and conduct. However, police misbehaviour is a deep-rooted, widespread and serious problem in Greece. It affects protests; sometimes it causes riots; and sometimes it comprises the violence. Thus, police misconduct must be considered a real possibility.
There is a mass of photographic and video evidence of police brutality; some call it state repression. For example:
- In 2008, Greek police beat Albanian youths and made them beat each other.
- In 2009, police officers poured cold water over a homeless person in winter, and abused and threatened him.
- In 2010, motorbike police drove into and over pedestrian citizens.
- In 2011, riot police assaulted journalists and photographers; Greek police even tried to kill Loukanikos the Riot Dog.
- In 2012, when Greek riot police use ‘tear gas without reason in order to dispel/disperse the people [Δακρυγονα χωρις λογο για να διαλυσουν τον κοσμο]’, when they use so much that they repeatedly run out of tear gas (as it did in 2008), the only thing that can still shock Greek citizens is ‘with what ease and style the pig sprays [unarmed, elderly hero of the resistance against the Nazis and the Junta, Manolis] Glezos [με τι άνεση και στύλ το γουρούνι που ραντίζει τον Γλέζο]’ with tear gas. They also tear gassed another unarmed, elderly Greek legend, Mikis Theodorakis. Both Glezos and Theodorakis needed emergency medical attention.
(One of the best sources for evidence of police brutality is Athens Indymedia, when the Athens Indymedia website is not down. There were ‘cyber attacks on Athens IMC server’ on the 12th of February. And on the 17th, ‘the Rector of Athens Polytechnic School warn[ed] the public about power outages in university buildings on ‘maintenance’ grounds! So, they… found a way to gag athens.indymedia.org, cutting the electric power’ to the server; it was down for a while, but it is back up now.)
Thugs, fascists and agents provocateurs
All over the Web, there is evidence, spanning years, that ‘koukouloforoi and cops are a parea (a company/circle of friends) [Κουκουλοφόροι κι αστυνομικοί, μια παρέα]’. (Koukouloforoi are hoodies, hood-wearers, mask-wearers; a koukouloforos is anyone who covers their face during a protest.) For instance:
- In 2008, anti-police activists photographed “koukouloforoi rioters/’anarchists’ [κουκουλοφόροι ταραξίες ‘αναρχικοί’]” hanging around with uniformed cops and plain-clothes police; then jointly arresting a ten-year-old [κουκουλοφόροι ‘αναρχικοί’ κοινώς ασφαλίτες συλλαμβάνουν ένα δεκαπεντάχρονο]”. And when there were protests against the unprovoked police murder of an unarmed child, 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos, Reuters caught a knife-wielding far-right thug threatening the protesters at the Athens Polytechnic.
- In 2009, PaokAntifaHooligans videoed ‘cops and Nazis working together [μπάτσοι και Νάζι δουλεύουνε μαζί]’.
- In 2010, blackathina videoed a gang of koukouloforoi police officers dragging an unarmed man down the road; at the end, a police walkie-talkie-holding koukouloforos spotted the citizen video journalist, and she had to run.
- In 2011, Tyler Durden showed police and koukouloforoi/agents provocateurs jointly preparing and ‘working together [συνεργάζονται]’ to disrupt and break up peaceful protests. Alter News (Άλτερ Ειδήσεις) documented senior police officers preventing junior officers arresting/attacking a koukouloforos undercover cop. Citizens videoed an armed koukouloforos ahead of a procession, initially standing with other koukouloforoi who were stoning the riot police; then, as the demonstration approached, giving orders to both the other koukouloforoi and the riot police.
- In 2012, KosNews24 photographed ‘koukouloforoi with [Greek] flags hanging around with the riot police [κουκουλοφόροι με σημαίες παρέα με τα ΜΑΤ]!’ Athens Indymedia showed that, when protesters hunted down people with their faces ‘covered with hoods [καταλυμένα με κουκούλες]’ (some of them with weapons), the protesters found them at Acropolis police station; and the riot ‘police protected them [αστυνομικοί τους φύλαγαν]’.
(Athens Indymedia has also published proof of police collaboration with violent groups.)
Greek citizens like Rena Farao (@me_Rena) point out ‘for all those who do not believe that the scum are cops: we hear about “hand-to-hand combat” but there is not one koukouloforos injured, only the little people [Για όσους δεν πιστεύουν πως οι μπάχαλοι είναι μπάτσοι: ακούμε για “μάχες σώμα με σώμα” αλλά κουκουλοφόρος τραυματίας κανείς, μόνο κοσμάκης]’.
The police’s use of parastate elements is so prevalent and persistent that a standard protest chant, ‘cops, pigs, murderers [μπάτσοι, γουρούνια, δολοφόνοι]’, has been adapted: ‘cops, pigs, koukouloforoi [μπάτσοι, γουρούνια, κουκουλοφόροι]’.