March-May 2022: News Roundup
A Spring of Anarchist Arson in Greece
(It’s been over sixth months since a newsletter was published on this site, and nearly a year since a news roundup last appeared. Let’s blow some dust off this Substack and get as close as we can to being caught up on Greek anarchist militancy over the Spring of 2022—which will be the sole focus of this article.)
March 2-14—In a communique entitled “Taking Responsibility—Another War is Possible,” anarchists calling themselves the Cells of Anti-Military Action claimed a series of arsons and the detonation improvised incendiary devices (IID) across Athens during a twelve-day period. Overall, four corporate targets were attacked by the group. None of the attacks led to any injuries, but each caused varying levels of property damage.
On March 3rd, the group targeted a company van belonging to the Greek-based international infrastructure group AKTOR in the southeast Athens suburb of Vyronas. According to the claim, the van was destroyed in the attack. The author(s) say that AKTOR was specifically targeted due to a fatal on-the-job incident that happened on an AKTOR work site in April 2021, in which three utility workers were killed and another was injured. They list the names of those killed in the 2021 incident, along with those previously killed while working on AKTOR jobsites.
The claim goes on to make its first of several critiques concerning the wars of states versus states, which along with the anti-war argument at the core of the communique, seems to be inspired by the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine and the response of western states:
War, any form of war organized by states, is an automatic devaluation of order not only by wage and legal criteria but also by simple material and biological dimensions. War means extermination, destruction, death, and when it is officially proclaimed, the general invocation of peace simply digs our pit […] A disciplined working class at the behest of the state and capital is a working class vulnerable, easy prey to their belligerent plans.
Next, the communique claims a March 4th attack on a facility belonging to Kampakas S.A. in the Kaisariani area of Athens, one borough north of their previous attack in Vyronas. According to the author(s), they planted an IID outside of the building’s entrance and in what has become a familiar component of the Greek anarchist tradecraft, ignited the device and fled the scene before it detonated. They claim that the attack led to significant damage to the building’s exterior, but this research has not been able to independently confirm. Kampakas S.A. is a metal manufacturer with fabrication sites in Volos and Xanthi who produces parts and components for the defense industry, among various other industries such as shipping and mining. The claim’s author(s) condemn Kampakas S.A. specifically for their defense industry contracts: “Advertising its direct cooperation with NATO but also being a major supplier of metal components to the Ministry of National Defense, it is one of the dozens of Greek companies involved in the tentacles of the war industry, drawing profits from the war itself.”
The claim then goes on to take responsibility for the March 9th IID attack targeting a facility belonging to Greek power utility HEDNO. This blast did significant damage to the exterior of the building, but it did not breach the commercial roll-up security door over the entrance. Greek anarchists have targeted HEDNO facilities before, such as last summer when Thessaloniki-based crew of the Direct Action Cells, Organization of Anarchist Action, detonated an identical IID outside of their offices there. The claim for the recent attack on HEDNO states:
Energy means war and war means energy. Despite the relentless propaganda of green capitalism and green energy, even the unsuspecting now know full well that the world war industry (as well as the war itself as a part of it) is the most energy-intensive and wasteful industry on the planet in modern history.
Finally, the communique takes responsibility for another alleged IID, this one detonated outside the entrance of ATESE S.A.’s offices in the Mets borough of southeast Athens. ATESE S.A.’s company website describes them as being active in “a wide range of projects and contracts,” many of those being with the defense industry. The claim condemns the company for these ties and alleges to have “destroyed” the office building’s entrance.
The claim concludes by reiterating the anti-war motives for the four attacks, emphasizing the direct role that multiple targets have in the defense industry and indirect role the others have in the general capitalist system. The author(s) then add:
There is no peaceful way out of the war, nor do the new balances of terror guarantee the security of the peoples. The cessation of a military conflict means a military reorganization on the part of the powerful. Exit from the war means the destruction of the war machines and their economy. It means widespread social disobedience to the demands of militarism, class rebellion against any state order. It means fighting communities of struggle, revolutionary institutions of social self-government and self-defense, it means a strategy of constant revolt […]
Sabotage-Solidarity-Revolution. Sabotage in war means making the army of my country (and not only), any form of enemy army, incapable of fighting inside and outside the borders. Interfering subversively and destructively in its human resources, resources and raw materials, forming around it a hostile environment through the strengthening of the revolutionary, anti-state, class war […] The only community, the only war that can stop all wars.
They then sign off with, “Cells of Anti-Military Action, March 2022,” and add that their attacks are dedicated to recently imprisoned anarchist, Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis, member of the now-defunct urban guerrilla organization, Revolutionary Self-Defense (OEA). They state that their acts are further dedicated to three other imprisoned anarchists, two of them in pre-trial detention. “Freedom to all anarchist prisoners of war! We will be back.”
March 12—Anarchists claim to have attacked the City Hall of Kaisariani—a small municipality on Athens’ east side—with Molotov cocktails. Though this exact attack has been difficult to confirm, the alleged attack employed both common tactics and a common target, other suburban city halls around Athens having also been recently attacked by hooded figures with Molotov cocktails. On May 15th, two months after the alleged city hall attack, hooded figures set a Hellenic Police car on fire and attacked a Kaisariani police precinct with Molotov cocktails.
The claim’s author(s) describe ongoing development and gentrification of the Kaisariani borough as a motivation for the attacks, mentioning one project in particular, which would apparently see a shooting range built in some of the area’s vanishing public green space. “The attack is dedicated to the anarchist revolutionary Lambros Founta who was killed by cops on 10/3/2010.” Lambros Fountas was a veteran of the Greek anarchist scene and a member of the urban guerrilla group, Revolutionary Struggle, and was killed in a shootout with police while allegedly trying to steal a car, which Greek authorities claim he planned to use in a future terrorist attack.
The claim concludes:
We send fiery signals of solidarity to the pre-trial detainees Foti D, Iasona R, Thanos Hatziangelou, Pano Kalaitzi, Georgia Voulgari and Harry Matzouridis.
Cops, mayors, politicians have no reason to sleep peacefully.
Until Anarchy ...
-Ghosts of the Shooting Range
April 13—Anarchists calling themselves the Proletarian Cell of Dimitris Christoulas claimed the March 20th IID attack on the offices of Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis. In the early morning hours of the 20th, an individual or a small group crept up to the 5th floor entrances to the Minister’s office where, similar to other attacks we have seen from affiliated groups, they placed another of their gas canister IIDs, igniting it and fleeing the scene before it detonated. Extensive damage was caused to the office entrance and the building’s interior.
Those responsible for the attack begin their claim by quoting the suicide note of a man who became a symbol of the tragedy Greeks have faced over the past two decades. Dimitris Christoulas was a 77-year-old pensioner, former pharmacist, left-wing activist, and someone whom most considered a great guy. In 2012, like many Greeks his age, Christoulas was in a desperate situation. He had financial difficulties since selling his pharmacy in 1994, his health was failing, and once the Greek government slashed pensions for all retired Greeks, he was unable to pay for his medications. He reportedly posted a sign on his door that read “Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay,” before, at the height of his desperation, strolling to Syntagma Square with a pistol and taking his own life just meters away from the Greek Parliament. The suicide note he left behind remains profoundly resonant among many Greeks, and was quoted at the top of the Proletarian Cell’s communique claiming the attack on the Minister of Development’s offices:
The occupying Tsolakoglou government1 literally annihilated my possibility of survival based on a decent pension that for 35 years only I (without state aid) paid for it. a Greek took the Kalashnikov the second one would be me) I find no other solution than a decent end before I start looking in the garbage for my food.I believe that in the near future, one day young people will take up arms and hang upside down in Syntagma Square the national traitors, as the Italians did in 1945 to Mussolini (Loreto square in Milan)
The author(s) of the attack claim go on to call their target, Minister Georgiadis, “politically responsible for the poverty and misery that the people suffer through precision.” They say that their country never fully came out of the financial shock that hit in 2009 and enumerate a series of national scandals among the country’s political class, among other failures such as the ineffective handling of COVID-19, as reasons for a collective grievance against the Greek authorities. “This bastard [Georgiadis] is one of the main supporters and exponents of these policies, utilizing its institutional / political position for their implementation.”
Particularly relevant to many left-wing Greeks will be the author(s) connecting Georgiadis’ offices to a wave of proposed and ongoing gentrification in some of Athens’ most beloved neighborhoods, most notably the downtown neighborhood of Exarcheia—being redeveloped to include a Metro station and a host of dining and shopping locations that most of the locals consider undesirable and strictly for the summer tourists:
A typical example is the neighborhood of Exarcheia where the renovation of the public space is methodically attempted (eg privatization of Strefi hill, metro in the neighborhood square) and the eviction of residents from their homes to create houses, apartments, airbnb, hostels and hotels. units for the benefit of tourism capital, while aiming to uproot the ideological and political character of the neighborhood.
The communique then turns away from public policy in Greece and, interestingly, towards foreign policy and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. After tying in war and war industries to the same capitalist system they have identified earlier as the root of problems in Greece, they condemn both NATO on one hand and “imperialist Russia” on the other:
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the culmination of an imperialist conflict over control of spheres of influence, wealth and trade routes. The severity of the imperialist rivalries could in no way be resolved without war. The US-led Maidan coup in 2014 resulted in the predominance of fascist groups, fully trained and equipped by NATO (Azov Battalion, etc.). Nazi atrocities and persecutions against the militants and Russian-speaking populations followed, culminating in the burning of the Syndicate in Odessa. At the same time, the people of the wider region are being targeted by attacks and bombings and are being forced into poverty and refuge […] For our part, being in a NATO state, we must turn our arrows at our own country, at NATO bases that become bases of war, at preventing the shipment of military equipment, at the cancellation of agreements for the purchase of military equipment.
The author(s) correctly note the energy crisis that the war will cause, for Europeans in particular, and assess that Greek ship owners will increase their liquid natural gas container fleets to import energy from sources like the United States while allegedly profiting off of the war as they continue to transport Russian oil to Europe.
The claim concludes by stating that the people of the world are faced with increased poverty at one end of their lives, and “the war trumpets of imperialist rivalries” at the other. They add that the only answer to the problems presently facing mankind is to form a movement that “will crush the rotten capitalist system that is in deep crisis and will bring the peoples back to the center of history.”
Solidarity with political prisoners
-Proletarian Core of Dimitris Christoulas
April 20—Unknown individuals claimed the April 12th attack on police officers in Patision, in which a patrol passing through the central Athens neighborhood came under a barrage of rocks, paint and phosphate powder from fire extinguishers. The attack was said to be in retaliation for the arrest of two comrades earlier in the year.
According to the attack claim, the two individuals currently serving prison sentences were arrested in November 2021, following a Molotov cocktail attack on the motorcycle-mounted DELTA unit of the Hellenic Police in Piraeus Port. The pair then are said to have attempted escape on a motorbike of their own when they ran into a police roadblock in the nearby Athens suburb of Faliro. The pair are again said by the author(s) of the claim to have evaded the roadblock but were arrested a short distance away following a brief pursuit. A raid was subsequently conducted on their separate homes, which turned up a crate of empty bottles, a bottle of paraffin oil, a couple of computers, a doweling rod and an archaic gas mask. They were charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit arson, manufacturing explosives and possession of explosive and incendiary materials. They are both said to be held in Avlona and Korydallos prisons, respectively.
If the charges listed in the communique are those actually leveled at the two individuals by the Greek justice system, it would line up perfectly with the passing and implementation of a new law regarding the manufacture and use of Molotov cocktails in Greece—long a staple of Greek street politics. The new law states that, in addition exposing oneself up to further charges such as attempted murder, “anyone who manufactures, supplies or possesses explosives or incendiary materials, bombs or devices that could endanger a human being shall be punished by imprisonment of at least three years.”
The anonymous April 12th attackers conclude their claim:
Our solidarity with every persecuted and imprisoned comrade is undivided and unbroken. We will always be with the oppressed and those who choose to resist misery by any means and in simple or complex ways. So on our part on Thursday 12/4 we tried to find ourselves mentally next to our comrades, closing Patision and attacking passing patrols, as well as the occupiers that approached, with stones, fire extinguishers, paints.
For every incarcerated hatred grows, FASCIST KILLERS
Solidarity and immediate release of Fotis D., Jason R.
April 20—An individual or small group of anarchists claimed responsibility for a March 8th IID attack on a courthouse in the northern Athens suburb of Chalandri. According to Greek media, “An explosion from two gas canisters, which were placed by unknown persons, took place […] The explosion caused minor material damage.” An hour later, another gas canister IID was detonated outside of Greek public utility HEDNO’s branch in Pangrati. Interestingly, the attack was claimed by a cell using the operational name, “Children of the Apartment Building”.
In the early morning hours of April 12th, eight days before releasing the claim for the attack on the Magistrate’s Court, another powerful IID was detonated outside of a Chalandri apartment building, “where a high-ranking police officer and in particular the head of state security live.” The blast caused extensive damage to the front entrance and turned the building’s call box near the door into a molten glob.
The communique lists a host of reasons for the March 8th attack, which are common of contemporary left and post-left street militants in Greece. However, in their own words, they have less grand and more simple reasons for this particular attack:
We did not just say "because it is politically necessary". We hit because that's who we are. We hit because that's how we express ourselves. We strike because we are pieces of daily violence and we recognize it without evasions. So, we choose that in addition to recipients we will be perpetrators, thus returning a small part of the violence we receive […]
But we do not forget the position and role of the judiciary. As we do not forget the bosses, the security forces and all forms and structures of oppression.
Briefly, it is also worth noting that the claim makes mention of the war in Ukraine, as is quite common of attack claims from Greek anarchists since Russia’s invasion began on February 24th: “The dilemma between imperialist invasions and NATO interests seems ridiculous to us. If the proletarians have no homeland, for every rebellious subject the word is unknown.”
The attackers conclude the claim by mentioning that the March 8th attack was “dedicated to the memory of the dozens of dead workers, from the labor murders of the last period and to our captive comrades,” and sign off as “The Children of the Apartment Building,” which is a likely reference to the April 12th attack on a much more high-profile target in the same borough of Athens. For now, this is only speculation, however.
April 22—Individuals calling themselves “Revolutionary Virus” took responsibility for the April 10th Molotov cocktail attack on a police station in Patras. The attack caused some damage to the exterior walls of the station as well as to two official Hellenic Police vehicles parked nearby. It reportedly took place around 4:00AM and was carried out by multiple hooded individuals who threw a total of seven Molotovs at the police transfer station.
From the claim:
In the early hours of Monday, April 10, we gave back some of the violence we receive daily from the state and its executive bodies. We attacked in a coordinated and silent manner with fires at the transfer police station in Patras […]
TAKE A RISK AND LIVE
Long live the struggle against exploitation and injustice
Fire in dogs in uniform
Strength to prisoners and those who fight for a better society
April 27—Unknown individuals took responsibility for an alleged attack on a van in Athens belonging to the Finland-based building equipment contracting company, KONE. The claim’s author(s) accuse KONE of cooperating with the prison industry in Greece and abroad—specifically maintaining elevators in prisons, which seems likely given that elevator and escalator installation and maintenance comprise a large portion of KONE’s business. This research was unable to confirm the attack.
The demolition of every prison and solidarity with anyone who is confronted and confronted with state repression is an integral part of the anarchist movement. Every institution and company that promotes inclusion, benefits and profits from it must be in our sights. And to those who weave the thread of revolutionary memory and find themselves trapped because of their choice, we must stand by them, in practice at all times, making it clear that they are an active part of the struggle itself.
Until the demolition of every prison
May 3—Anarchists claimed the brazen April 2nd attack on MAT riot police in the Exarcheia neighborhood of downtown Athens, in which dozens of hooded figures descended on the political offices of center-left PASOK party and hurled approximately 30 Molotovs at MAT police guarding the building, before setting barricades alight in the streets, and clashing with police from the neighborhood’s many alleyways. According to the claim, “The choice of the neighborhood of Exarcheia to carry out the attack was not accidental. The insurgent Exarchate is a reference point for the competitive movement, a neighborhood of politicization, fermentation and insurgency.” The claim condemns the ruling New Democracy (ND) government, placing their grievance regarding ND’s plans to redevelop the neighborhood at the center of their claim.
As many recent claims from Exarcheia have, this one denounces plans to alter the neighborhood into a destination for “alternative tourism,” where truly historical sites such as the Polytechnic campus would be transformed into a “revolutionary museum” with shops and cafes. A planned metro station, for which construction has already begun, as well as the saturation of AirBNBs in the neighborhood—limiting housing stock and driving up rents—are also recurring grievances mentioned in claims from the neighborhood, or from Greek anarchists in general.
The claim further condemns ND’s law-and-order policies, such as the new law on possession and manufacture of Molotov cocktails, highlighting the ways in which these policies compliment the government’s appetite for redevelopment projects in working-class neighborhoods.
In closing, the author(s) give a shoutout to the two comrades arrested following their Molotov attack on police in Piraeus, for whom others have also claimed recent attacks:
This attack, along with all the others, is an act of practical solidarity with the two imprisoned comrades accused of the attack in the Piraeus traffic police, Foti D. - Jason R.
Solidarity to all imprisoned comrades.
Until the demolition of every prison
We make your bills in tow and send them back to you
May 9—A late night Molotov attack, again carried out on the MAT squad guarding PASOK offices on Trikoupis in Exarcheia, was claimed by a group of anarchists. The attack led to the complete destruction of one parked car and minor damage to another, but no injuries were reported and no arrests were subsequently made.
The claim’s author(s) state that the primary motivation for the attack was the 2018 killing of gay rights activist, Zak “Zackie” Kostopoulos. Zackie had somehow become trapped in a closed Omonia Square jewelry store on an afternoon in September 2018 and tried to break through the glass entrance using a fire extinguisher. He appears to be under the influence in the video. When the 77-year-old store owner and a middle-aged associate arrived, they began kicking Zackie in the head, stomping on him as he crawled out of the store. Responding police were also seen beating him on camera, prior to cuffing him. He died a few hours later in the hospital.
The recent attack came as Greeks were watching the trial of Zackie’s killers, both of whom were handed 10-year prison sentences, though the jewelry shop owner’s sentence was commuted to home confinement, “due to his advanced age.” Several recent attacks have been inspired by the trial coverage.
From the May 9th claim:
So, we decided on the night of Friday 6/05 to carry out an attack on the parked squad on Ch. Trikoupi. We have chosen this mode of action as one of the many means of struggle that we use to overthrow the system that killed Zaki and every Zaki, for the quir rebellion and the social revolution.
IN OMONIA EVEN IF A ROBBERY HAPPENED, COPS AND BOSSES MURDERED
OUR STATE WANTS DEAD, ZAKI NOT TO DIE IN LESMONIA
ANGER AND SADNESS - WE WILL MISS ZAKI
-queer (and) anarchists
May 9—Individuals calling themselves the Nightingales of the Flame have claimed the March 27th arson attack on the professional vehicle of Mayor Dimitris Dimourtzidis of Pavlos Melas—a northern borough of Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki. His vehicle was reportedly parked on the backside of the Stavroupoli Town Hall when it was set alight.
According to the claim’s author(s), Mayor Dimourtzidis was targeted due to his right-wing political affiliations, and more immediately for development plans in the Thessaloniki suburb.
In a poor district of the city, with residents who lack basic needs (heating, electricity, etc.), Demourtzidis chooses to ask for and use 10 million Euros for a place that he and his friends will set up for festivals. In fact, this scum had the audacity to sue groups of residents who wanted to oppose his "grandiose" plans […]
For these reasons, at dawn on March 27, we chose to set fire to Demourtzidis' professional car, which was parked at the back of Stavroupoli town hall.
Solidarity and power to those held captive in the hands of the state
-Nightingales of the Flame
May 10—A person or a group calling themselves the “Anti-Government Saboteurs” claimed responsibility for an alleged IID attack on a vehicle belonging to the police somewhere in eastern Athens. Confusingly, the claim’s title states that the attack was in the Ilioupoli region, where the body of the text says the attack took place slightly north in Ambelokipi. The claim also states that the attack took place on April 21st. Though this research has not been able to confirm that attack, someone did detonate an IID in the Ilioupoli area of Athens late on the night of April 27th, damaging the building’s façade as well as some of the retail inventory belonging to a car dealership.
The claim for the alleged April 21st attack states the same ND policies as a motivation for the attack which has been recurrent since 2019, but which has taken on even more vigorous energy as the conflict between anarchists and the Mitsotakis administration is now in its third year.
During these 3 years we have experienced demonstration bans, torture of protesters and prisoners, informal hostage-taking of anarchists with very strict restrictive conditions, mass arrests, intimidation with non-existent DNA and pre-trial detention. The purpose of all these state practices is to completely cut off and isolate militants from social resistance and their physical extermination.
The communique also mentions Vangelis Stathopoulos, who was arrested in 2019 following a raid on his home after he was suspected of harboring fugitive anarchist guerrilla, Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis, who had just robbed a state gambling location with an AK-pattern rifle. Though weapons belonging to Chatzivasileiadis were found in the home, the fugitive was not there. Stathopoulos was given a 19 year prison sentence, and Chatzivasileiadis was charged and sentenced in absentia, until he was caught following another armed robbery in August 2021.
On the night of April 21, we placed an incendiary-explosive device in a police vehicle in the area of Ampelokipi, destroying it completely, as a sign of solidarity with the anarchist prisoner Vangelis Stathopoulos, who starts his appeal on May 18. We believe that state conspiracies and indictments are overthrown through various acts of solidarity.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE TO ANARCHIST VANGELIS STATHOPOULOS
FREEDOM TO THE ANARCHIST DIMITRIS HATZIVASILIADIS WHO IS PROSECUTED FOR THE SAME CASE AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS
TO CHANGE THE FEAR CAMP
THE ANSWERS ARE GIVEN TO THE STREETS OF FIRE
Spring 2022 has been a hot season in Greece and is only heating up as it comes to an end. Noteworthy events in the complimentary worlds of Greek parliamentary politics and Greek street politics mostly involve the Mistotakis administration’s law-and-order policies, as well as its appetite for (re-)development of urban spaces. Ongoing fights over education reform, the future of universities, and the reintroduction of police to Greek campuses for the first time since the Junta fell in 1974 have all been at the center of Greek anarchist attacks this spring. Furthermore, the status of their imprisoned comrades will also remain a motivating factor for attacks. Recently, legendary Greek anarchist guerrilla and alleged member of the defunct Conspiracy Cells of Fire, Yannis Michailidis (aka “The Syntagma Archer”), went on hunger strike, prompting attacks in solidarity. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the response from NATO countries have separately been cited in attack claims as motivation to attack symbols of capitalism and “imperialism”.
On May 26th, anarchists calling themselves the “Subversive Expression Collective” took responsibility for an arson attack targeting the professional vehicle of National Technical University of Athens’ rector. Their claim demanded the immediate release of Michailidis. Also on the 26th, a separate group of anarchists took responsibility for an alleged arson attack targeting post office vehicles. They too called for the release of Michailidis. Finally, on May 27th, a group of unknown individuals released a claim for an arson attack targeting a construction site near the Kaisariani Metro station in Athens. Their motivation for the attack were proposed plans to redevelop Strefi Hill—the largest greenspace in Athens, adjacent to the neighborhood of Exarcheia.
This summer is likely to be even more busy in terms of the clandestine activities of Greek anarchist militants. Police are set to be introduced to campuses by June; there are high-profile court cases ongoing such as the appeal of Vangelis Stathopoulos; there have been weekly standoffs on Greece’s university campuses, especially Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and on May 27th, a group of hooded individuals poured out of the Athens University of Economics and Business to assaults branch of Piraeus bank with stones and hammers before retreating back to the university. The ongoing evictions of anarchist squats, some of which have been occupied for three decades, will continue to add to the brewing conflict. Should Greece experience another major shock like she did in 2009, precipitated by say a food crisis or otherwise, the Mitsotakis administration might see Greek anarchists rolling back whatever gains ND has made on the law-and-order agenda.
Georgios Tsolakoglou was Prime Minister of Greece’s Axis collaborationist government in 1941-1942.