ATHENS – The anarchist stronghold neighborhood of Exarchia in the Greek capital is increasingly spiraling into lawlessness, violence and coming apart with little help from the government, some 400 residents wrote in a stinging letter of complaint.
They said living conditions are deteriorating after anarchists have continued to attack the home of State Minister Alekos Flambouraris who lives there with riot police guarding him and having to fend off Molotov Cocktail-tossing assailants a number of times.
The ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, accused of tolerating and implicitly encouraging violence in a bid to re-establish Leftist credentials after repeatedly surrendering to Capitalist creditors and banks and reneging on anti-austerity promises, has ignored the entreaties of residents.
They wrote a similar letter early in the year which was dismissed out of hand and set aside without offering any more security for the residents who have had to endure battles on the streets between the police and anarchists, and seen some suspects almost immediately released after being detained following clashes.
“Exarchia is still part of Athens’s dark zone. Following this year’s November 17 and December 6 anniversaries, we are coming to realize that the situation is as bad as it has ever been,” the signatories said, referring to anniversaries of a 1973 student uprising and the killing of a 15-year-old boy in 2008 by municipal police officers that trigger annual uprisings.
“Hundreds of hooded protesters, of every nationality, were left unobstructed to barge into houses and apartment blocks, to smash doors, to destroy, to vandalize, to intimidate, to steal and build fires on rooftops,” they said.
The residents, whose names are being withheld, complained that cars and motorbikes were wrecked during the riots that also caused serious damage to public buildings and infrastructure, Kathimerini reported.
“Gangs and mafia organizations which include Greek and foreign members are given free rein in the area,” they said, adding that people were being attacked, drug dealers are plying the streets and businesses are regularly raided and robbed with impunity.
“Groups of migrants, often including children, have been abandoned in grim conditions around the area,” they said. “We also have rights. Life belongs to us and our children.” They were ignored again with no initial response.