June-July 2021: News Roundup Part I
Greece, Turkey, Germany
(June-July News Roundup: it’s been a while since one of these was published, so this news roundup will have a bit different format than those previous, and will be divided into two separate parts.
Mid-June saw fresh police incursions into the famed squat in Berlin, Germany, Rigaer 94, and large clashes erupted in the neighborhood between supporters of the squat and the police. A Turkish nationalist violently attacked HDP offices and murdered a party member. Two Greeks in Scotland and three more in Athens were arrested over links to an arcane eco-militant movement. At the end of June, a string of firebombings throughout mainland Greece were claimed by units of the Direct Action Cells. On June 29th, a member of the Conspiracy Cells of Fire, a member of Revolutionary Struggle, and a third associate of theirs were sentenced for their January 2020 arrest on weapons, terror and bank robbery charges.
July began with the arrest of fugitive Christos Pappas, second-in-command of the defunct neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn. Incendiary attacks across Germany were claimed by various groups, one reportedly causing over €150,000 in damage. By mid-July, the Direct Action Cells claimed another spate of attacks in Greece, and another group of anarchists attacked the vehicle inventory of a Ford Motor Company dealership in Volos. On the weekends of July 14th and July 21st, large far-right demonstrations took place in Athens against the COVID-19 vaccines, resulting in clashes with police on the 21st. Also towards the end of the month, anarchists belonging to the Direct Action Cells published the names and addresses of 21 police officers in Thessaloniki. A Dutch group calling themselves “Revolutionary Resistance” claimed an incendiary attack on a police motor pool. And to cap it off, the Direct Action Cells targeted a power plant in Volos with a device fashioned from jerry cans full of petrol and large fireworks.)
(German police outside of Rigaer 94)
June 17—German riot police entered the famous Rigaer 94 squat in the Friedrichshain borough of Berlin after breaching the door with a saw, under the auspices of conducting a fire safety inspection throughout the building. Residents of the squat and its supporters fear the move preempts an impending forceful eviction. Large daytime clashes broke out in the streets between supporters and police, with individuals pelting police from makeshift barricades and even rooftops with various missiles. Over sixty police officers were reportedly injured. Police eventually withdrew from the area and Rigaer 94 remains squatted, for the moment.
Rigaer 94’s sister squat, Liebig 34, was forcefully evicted by police in October, 2020, following larger demonstrations and clashes. It was briefly reoccupied, and fireworks were set off from the rooftop, but it was again evicted and today remains vacant. Anarchist and autonomist groups throughout Europe have carried out numerous attacks on private and state property in solidarity with both Liebig 34 and Rigaer 94. Two days prior to the police’s recent incursion into Rigaer 94, Greek anarchists released a communique claiming the firebombing of a vehicle belonging to the German Würth Group, in solidarity with Rigaer 94.
(Onur Gencer in Afrin)
June 17—Onur Gençer, a 27-year-old ultranationalist and member of the Turkish neo-fascist Gray Wolves movement walked into the Izmir office of left-wing opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and tried to set the building on fire. When he failed to do so, he moved through the offices until locating 38-year-old party worker, Deniz Poyraz, whom he kicked and stabbed repeatedly before shooting her to death. According to Turkish authorities, Gencer’s intent was to kill members of the banned guerrilla movement designated a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the United States, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
HDP is often accused by Turkish nationalists of being a political front for the PKK, and their offices have been violently attacked on multiple occasions in recent years. 2015 was a year of constant assaults against HDP rallies and offices ahead of a contentious vote, in which the ruling AKP party lost its majority in parliament by just 18 seats. In June of 2015, a bus carrying members of HDP was raked with bullets by unknown gunmen, killing the driver. A month prior to that, HDP offices in four of Turkey’s largest cities were attacked, including in Istanbul and Izmir. A day before polling on June 7th, a bomb went off at an HDP rally in the Kurdish heartland city of Diyarbakir, injuring dozens of people.
Following Onur Gencer’s June 2021 assault, HDP offices in Marmaris were attacked by a man with a shotgun who walked in and discharged over 100 rounds. No one was injured, but the assailant had previously attacked the same offices in 2018.
Gençer has pictures on social media of himself in Turkish-occupied northern Syria. In one taken in Manbij, he holds an MPT assault rifle, likely lent to him for the photo by a Turkish soldier. There are other pictures of him giving the Gray Wolf salute, as well as practicing his pistol skills at an indoor shooting range.
June 18—Two Greek nationals, were arrested in Edinburgh, Scotland, in connection with the placement of an undetonated pipe bomb outside of a castle in 2018. The pipe bomb had been claimed by an esoteric, nihilistic eco-militant movement founded in Mexico, called Individuals Tending Towards Savagery (ITS). Greek daily newspaper, To Vima, reported that on June 18th, a 35-year-old male and a 32-year-old female were arrested in the Scottish capital, the result of collaboration and intelligence sharing between Greek counterterrorism police and Police Scotland. They were not together but were instead arrested in separate locations across the city.
The two individuals are allegedly connected to a Greek cell of the “multinational zero-sum organization” (To Vima’s interesting but accurate characterization) ITS, known as the Iconoclastic Sect. The Iconoclastic Sect claimed responsibility for two 2018 bombings targeting a church and a university campus in the Athens boroughs of Kolonaki and Zografou, respectively. No one was injured in either incident. A week after the Edinburgh arrests, Greek police raided an apartment in central Athens and detained three individuals suspected of involvement with ITS. After the July 15 Edinburgh arrests, Greek police told the press that they had three individuals “under their microscope”. It is uncertain if those arrested in the raid were the same being watched by Greek police at that time.
As recently as February 2020, a cell purporting to be affiliated with ITS claimed the firebombing of parked vehicles in mainland Greece. The cell went by the name, “A Bunch of Nihilistic Lunatics”—not an extraordinary name in Greece for its seemingly over-the-top construction. Though the attack was real, as with many events said to be linked to ITS—some of which never even occurred—claims of links between this attack and ITS are questionable.
(June 18th clashes, Heraklion, Greece)
June 18—A group of individuals attacked a squad of officers belonging to the Hellenic Police’s standing riot force, the MAT or “Matzides,” on the island of Crete’s capital city, Heraklion. In the very early hours of June 18th, the group ambushed the unit of officers in Heraklion’s Xenia Square with fireworks, stones and other missiles while chanting slogans before setting barricades alight and dispersing.
According to the unnamed group’s claim, the attack was prompted by intensifying police harassment in Xenia Square, and was in solidarity with the Rigaer 94 squat in Berlin, Germany. Crete is itself home to one of Greece’s oldest squats, Rosa Nera. (In September of 2020, Rosa Nera in Crete’s second city of Chania was evicted by police. It was re-occupied by activists this summer and remains squatted currently.) Greek and German anarchists customarily reciprocate one another’s calls for solidarity as squatted spaces simultaneously come under attack in both countries.
(Yannis Michailidis, aka “The Syntagma Archer”)
June 29—Greek anarchist and formerly accused member of the Conspiracy Cells of Fire (CCF), Yannis Michailidis, was sentenced to 26 years in prison, along with two female comrades, each sentenced to two years and six months. Michailidis and company were arrested in January 2020, after police had been surveilling their Toyota SUV for days. They were pulled over while riding together in the vehicle through the northern Athens suburb of Agia Paraskevi. Michailidis had multiple weapons inside the vehicle with him, including a modified Kalashnikov-pattern rifle, a Scorpion vz. 61 machine pistol, a Makarov and a CZ 75 handgun, along with a handheld radio and disguises.
Yannis Michailidis originally gained attention from the media at the height of Greek austerity protests in 2011, where he was seen in front of Greek parliament in Athens’ Syntagma Square, wearing a gas mask and firing a recurve bow at riot police. He has since been known by the moniker, “The Syntagma Archer”. Michailidis was arrested after the bow incident, and later released on restrictive conditions. He then partook in an armed clash with police in the Athens borough of Pefki, in which a comrade of his engaged in a shootout, striking one officer before being shot himself, while Michailidis made off with a patrol car, later stopped and arrested at a road-block. Notably in that incident, Michailidis did not choose to brandish either of the police service weapons left in the patrol vehicle. Following a second release from prison, Michailidis took part in a pair of back-to-back armed bank robberies and was once again arrested in 2017. In July 2019, Michailidis managed to escape from the agricultural prison where he was interred in Tiryns. He was on the run, liaising with fellow Greek anarchists and moving between safe houses, until his most recent arrest in 2020.
One of Michailidis’ female comrades is also a noteworthy member of Greece’s robust urban guerrilla scene. Konstantina Athanastopoulou was arrested in 2017 for harboring one of the romantic duo that comprises the de facto head of Revolutionary Struggle (RS)—perhaps Greece’s most serious urban guerrilla outfit outside of the infamous Marxist-Leninist terrorist group, the Revolutionary Organization—17 November. Athanastopoulou had taken in fugitive Pola Roupa, partner of RS’s Nikos Maziotis, and hid her from police before her apartment was raided in 2017. Both Roupa and Athanastopoulou were arrested and Athanastopoulou was charged as a member of RS. She later disappeared, following conditional release from prison, until her arrest along with Michailidis and their other female comrade in 2020.
In a statement published just before his sentencing, Michailidis rejected the criminal proceedings against him, yet accepted all responsibility for the weapons, as well as the charges placed on his female comrades which they incurred during their mutual arrest.
(Home of Yannis Pretenderis)
June 30—A cell belonging to Greece’s newest network of revolutionary violence, the Direct Action Cells (DAC), targeted the home of journalist and well-known TV persona Yannis Pretenderis with an improvised incendiary device (IID)—likely fashioned from butane gas canisters. Around 4:00AM, the Core of Rebellious Violence placed the IID outside the reinforced gate of Pretenderis’s home in the Athens borough of Neo Psychiko and detonated it. In addition to extensive damage to the gate, two private vehicles parked nearby were also damaged by the blast.
The DAC released a claim for the attack a few weeks later. In it, they accuse Pretenderis of being a “most loyal mastiff of the corrupt economic and political elite that rules this place with arrogance and impunity all these years.” The claim further accuses Pretenderis of having given a platform to prominent members of Greece’s now-defunct neo-Nazi party-cum-militia, Golden Dawn, up to and during their electoral success in 2012. The claim signs off with a message of solidarity to Greek political prisoners, as well as those in Italy and Chile.
June 30—Thessaloniki-based crew of the DAC, the Organization of Anarchist Action (OAA), put out a batch claim of three attacks that occurred in mid-to-late June. All three attacks took place in the Thessaloniki area and targeted the Agia Sofia Metro construction site, offices of the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization, and offices of Greece’s public power utility HEDNO. Most if not all three attacks involved the placement of gas canister IIDs and resulted in varying degrees of property damage.
According to the claim, the attacks were in response to company negligence resulting in the injury or loss-of-worker-life while on-the-job. HEDNO in particular has made a popular target for Greek urban guerrillas this summer, after three utility workers came in contact with a 20,000 volt energized line and died.
(Golden Dawn’s Christos Pappas)
July 1—Number-two man of the Greek neo-Nazi party-cum-militia Golden Dawn was arrested after months spent on the run as a fugitive, following the mass prosecution of the party as a criminal organization. Christos Pappas, along with fellow members of Golden Dawn, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his participation in what prosecutors deemed a violent criminal gang, despite significant representation in the Greek parliament. The party’s downfall came after its leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, was determined by prosecutors to have directly ordered the 2013 assassination of anti-fascist rapper, Pavlos Fyssas.
During his time on the run, among other theories as to his whereabouts, the idea was floated that Pappas had escaped to either Serbia or Serb-dominated parts of Kosovo with the help of both Orthodox priests and criminals of the 1990s Yugoslav wars. In reality, he was hiding in the home of a Ukrainian woman with Greek citizenship, located in the busy northern Athens borough of Zografou. The Ukrainian national apparently had local political aspirations of running for office on the ticket of nascent far-right party, Fatherland for the Greeks. Fellow imprisoned member of Golden Dawn and infamous member of parliament, Ilias Kassidiaris, founded Fatherland for the Greeks some time into Golden Dawn’s prosecution. The Ukrainian woman was sentenced to 30 months in prison for harboring a fugitive, with 13 months suspended.
Pappas is suspected to have planned to travel to Italy with the help of friends and family. Upon his transfer to the maximum-security Domokos Prison, Kathimerini reports that Pappas requested to be put in the same cell as former Golden Dawn Member of European Parliament, Yannis Lagos, who was extradited from Brussels by the Belgian government earlier this year.
Eleven other people are being investigated for aiding Pappas during his time as a fugitive, though no charges have been brought against any of them.
(Florina cache 1:4)
July 3—Greek authorities seized a cache of illegal small arms from a 51-year-old man in Florina, near Greece’s border with North Macedonia. He was charged with weapons violations.
In his possession, among other items, was a WW2-era Italian Carcano M91 carbine, an MP-40 submachine gun, an Albanian Ash-78 Tip-2 Kalashnikov-pattern light machine gun (ID @war_noir), hand grenades of dubious quality, multiple handguns and shotguns, mortar parts, several rounds of ammunition and—most remarkably—what looks to be a post-WW2 Bulgarian Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon (ID @JohnPikpas).
(Florina cache 2:4)
July 7—Unknown individuals attacked the “A49 Highway” construction site in Schwalmstadt, Germany. Five separate pieces of heavy construction equipment were targeted by various acts of sabotage, causing approximately €150,000 in damage. According to authorities, the sabotage occurred over a three-day period, from July 2-5. Among the equipment destroyed was a crane, a crawler excavator and a front-end loader. According to local media, “the water treatment plant was [also] broken into and keys for work equipment were stolen.”
The A49 Highway has been one of multiple construction projects involving either public infrastructure or heavy industry which has been met with militant resistance by German environmental activists. Last November, environmentalists clashed with German riot police in the ancient woods marked for deforestation so that the new highway can be routed through.
In an unrelated attack, urban militants in Berlin’s Tiergarten district targeted vans belonging to the real estate giant Vonovia with Molotov cocktails on the night of July 5th. Though the subsequent claim did not offer a group or cell name, it did note that the action was in solidarity with recently evicted squats, as well as with Rigaer94, still facing eviction. In a year of fierce urban guerrilla activity, Vonovia has been a popular target in Germany and has faced an increasingly intense series of attacks, as the company continues to make large acquisitions across the country. (h/t to @MilNilAn on stories out of Germany)
(Part II to follow…)
 For more on the Golden Dawn affiliated Greek Volunteer Guard in Bosnia, see: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/jan/05/balkans.warcrimes