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by Peter Moskos

December 8, 2008

More on the Greek riots

The BBC has a good story about the Greek culture of "No."

And also goes into something I should have explained, namely why November 17 is a day of protest and why students are key: :
On 17 November 1973, tanks of the then six-year-old [American supported] military dictatorship burst through the iron railings to suppress a student uprising against the colonels.

The exact casualty figure is still unknown to this day but it is believed that around 40 people were killed. The sacrifice of the polytechnic was so significant that the post-junta architects of Greece's new constitution drafted the right of asylum, which bans the authorities from entering the grounds of schools and universities.

That is why places of learning are the springboards for the current wave of violence and it also explains why many of the riots are in university towns.

Students and pupils have effectively been given carte blanche to carry on protesting, because their professors have declared a three-day strike.

Greece also has long history of students going on strike. As an American professor, I find that very amusing. Also, it is illegal to have a private college or university in Greece. The state has a legal monopoly on post high-school education. That's a shame. It's why a lot of Greeks travel abroad to get a better education.

Expect things to calm down by Thursday when the professors' three-day strike ends.

1 comment:

PCM said...

More from the Kathimerini
Epaminondas Korkoneas, the 37-year-old police officer who is alleged to have shot the teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos is a special guard, a force that was created in 1999 but fully inducted into the police only this year.

Special guards were intended to take on more menial tasks, such as guarding buildings, so that regular police officers would be able to take up other duties.

Speaking to Kathimerini, the legal counsel of the Attica Police Officers’ Union, Vaios Skambardonis, said that police officers are advised that they should only use their revolvers if human life is in danger.

However, footage of Saturday’s shooting, captured by a witness on her mobile phone does not appear to show Korkoneas and his colleague coming under any kind of threat.

The blurred, dark images appear to show the police officer standing at some distance from the 15-year-old and other youths.

There appear to be no signs of the police officers coming under any kind of attack.

Korkoneas has been charged with murder and illegal use of a weapon while his colleague has been charged as an accomplice.

Their next appearance in court is in some doubt as the lawyers assigned to defend them have refused to accept their case. This has been interpreted as an indication that the officers’ argument that they were acting in self-defense was not convincing.