Varoufakis anarchist stand-off in Exarchia

“The incident happened around 11pm on Tuesday in the Exarchia area, a well-known Athenian neighborhood where anarchists gather and is ravaged by frequent riots and vandalisms.

The Greek Finance Minister was dining with his wife and a friend when several young men went to their table and told them to leave the neighborhood because no government official is welcome there. He was verbally insulted and two men moved aggressively towards him when his wife embraced him and protected him with her body, according to witnesses.

Varoufakis anarchist stand-off in Exarchia

Then Varoufakis stood up and went outside where a group of about thirty anarchists insulted him and threatened to attack. The finance minister told them that he used to live in the neighborhood and he likes it there. According to witnesses, he also told them that they can beat him if they wanted but they will have to listen to him first.

Soon a crowd of about two hundred people gathered around the arguing parties, with many people shouting their support to Varoufakis. Varoufakis talked with his aggressors for about 30 minutes and the incident ended peacefully. According to witnesses, the anarchists told him he is welcome to Exarchia but only when he is no longer a government official.”

source: Apr 29, 2015 by Anastasios Papapostolou

Where The Anarchists Go In Athens

““I haven’t seen so much graffiti in my life,” says Emily Tsai, a tourist from Taiwan. “It’s like a punk Disneyland.” We are in Exarcheia, a neighborhood of Athens that few tourists dare venture into. Its half-dilapidated buildings and spray-painted walls clash with the postcard version of classical Athens. But what it lacks in photo ops, Exarcheia makes up for in dynamism.

This bubble of counterculture around Athens Polytechnic and the National Archaeological Museum is home to a tight-knit community of left-wing intellectuals, activists and artists. And Exarcheia’s inhabitants don’t just talk about socialism, they live it. A “reappropriated” parking lot serves as a communal vegetable patch. There are pay-what-you-can canteens, time banks where neighbors exchange French lessons for hair cuts and a free health clinic for those who have fallen through the cracks of the country’s broken welfare system. Squats and cooperatives thrive among the youth-filled bars.

This spirit of defiance is written all over Exarcheia’s walls — in subtle graffiti like “F*ck the Capital,” or “We Hate the Police” — but the neighborhood has plenty to offer to non-anarchist visitors, and for very little. Historically inclined types can visit the impressive National Archaeological Museum, and adventurous travelers can explore the popular cafes, especially on weekends when youths from all over the city flock in for fun. Meanwhile, bookworms will enjoy the dozens of independent publishers who reprint the works of Russian revolutionary anarchist Mikhail Bakunin and alternative bookstores selling essays on “LSD, Marijuana, Yoga & Hypnosis.”

In 2008, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by police, triggering a wave of riots that made headlines worldwide.

To be sure, Exarcheia has its dark side. While it’s not dangerous for tourists, drug use is on the rise and the violent clashes between anarchists and the police often involve Molotov cocktails. “It’s hard to live in peace when teenagers come here just to get high or you need to run to your car because protesters are setting them on fire,” says Dioni Vougioukli, a journalist who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years.

Since the radical left-wing party Syriza was elected into power in January, fights with the police have decreased. But peace is attracting a tide of trendy entrepreneurs wanting to cash in on Exarcheia’s edginess by opening barbershops and specialty ice cream parlors. They are pushing rents up and threatening to change the face of this countercultural oasis. But it may not be a bad thing. As a Che Guevara quote reads on an abandoned building, “Let the world change you and you can change the world.””

source: Where The Anarchists Go In Athens – Huffingtonpost by LAURA SECORUN PALET, OZY