destruction in #12fgr, #13fgr riots outside Athens shows targeting of symbolic political sites

The other week, I asked what the Greek riots’ targets could tell us about the Greek rioters; and looking at the data as a whole, the answer was tl;dr and quite inconclusive. However, I think that, by looking at events outside Athens, where the places and populations are smaller, it is possible to follow individual groups’ activities and, thus, to draw an outline of the rioters’ identities and intentions. I believe there is clear evidence of intelligent targeting of the symbols of those politically and financially responsible for the crisis.

Targets

In the west, in Agrinio (on the 12th of February), youths attacked a government minister’s office; and (on the 13th) the far-right Christian LAOS’s office, Eurobank, Probank, an ATM/cash machine, the Gold Buyers pawn shop and the Post Office. In Patras (on the 12th), masked youths attacked a political office and a shop; and (on the 13th) the Outraged attacked a PASOK minister’s office. On the island of Corfu (Kerkyra), more than 1,000 protesters attacked the offices of a centre-left PASOK MP and a centre-right ND minister.

In the north, in Thessaloniki, youths attacked a bank, Proton Bank, ProBank, First Business Bank, a travel agency, and the ‘poshElectra Palace restaurant.

In the centre, in Trikala, twenty youths attacked Commercial Bank and Eurobank. In Volos, protesters attacked the town hall, the tax office, the job centre, prefectural (regional) committee offices, Eurobank and the Hellenic Post Bank.

In the south-east, on the island of Crete, in Heraklion (Irakleio), youths attacked the court and two PASOK MPs’ offices.

Numbers

In total, then, outside Athens, on the 12th and 13th of February, demonstrators and rioters attacked:

  1. 13 parliamentary/party/bureaucratic buildings;
  2. 11 banks (and bank facilities);
  3. 4 commercial businesses (of which, the three identified businesses were all associated with wealth or the exploitation of others’ poverty); and
  4. 1 public service (which is both a state institution and a confirmed target for privatisation).

Thus, 45% of targets were political; 38% were financial; 14% were commercial; and 3% were public services.

Analysis

The answer is still (a little) confusing; but it is (slightly) confusing because the rioters’ actions were complicated (rather than because there was both too much general information and too little specific information on the rioters’ actions).

For example, cars were attacked in Patras (on the 12th) and in Agrinio (on the 13th). I think that, in a country with nearly one car for every two people, it is too easy to say that a car is a symbol of wealth, particularly when there is no indication whether the vehicle was a new sports car or an old agrotiko (agricultural pick-up truck); and I think the rarity of destruction of personal private property affirms that assumption.

I think that it is more likely that the violence was ‘fun‘; or, considering the specificity of the youths’ other targets, it is even more likely that they were simply high on an adrenaline rush from the cathartic destruction of the symbolic sites.

Regardless, outside Athens, the demonstrators’/rioters’ targets are clear evidence of intelligent targeting of political symbols; of judicious attacks on the sites of the political and financial groups and institutions that are responsible for the crisis, and of the elites who enjoyed life before the crisis and who have not suffered during the crisis.

Unknowns

Either the community in Athens is fundamentally different from every other community (including the one in the large port city of Thessaloniki); or small, unrepresentative groups in Athens are behaving fundamentally differently – perhaps opportunistically (because violence is fun and/or looting is profitable), perhaps provocatively.

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