Anarchist groups appeared to be gearing up for a showdown with police ahead of Thursday’s expiry of a grace period granted by the Citizens’ Protection Ministry for the voluntary evacuation of anarchist-controlled squats in downtown Athens and Friday’s anniversary of the 2008 police shooting of Alexis Grigoropoulos.
“We have prepared a defense and retaliation plan of pharaonic proportions,” anti-establishment group Rouvikonas said on its Facebook page Wednesday, challenging police to move on squats. Other anarchist groups are also organizing rallies “against oppression.”
On Friday in particular, some 4,000 police officers, as well as helicopters and drones, will be mobilized in the capital, where two rallies have been planned, in the morning and evening.
Downtown Athens will effectively be blocked off to traffic for the duration of both rallies, while central metro stops are likely to be closed. Police sentries will also be posted on the hills of the Acropolis and Lycabettus.
Grigoropoulos was shot on the night of December 6, 2008, by police officer Epameinondas Korkoneas, who was released from prison on July under the more lenient provisions of the new penal code ratified in June. The 15-year-old’s death sparked widespread riots that rocked the Greek capital for more than a week.