Twelve days of riots have wracked Greece as thousands of students continue their protest against what initially was anger over the death of a fifteen year old killed by a policeman, but it is now not quite clear exactly what students seek other than continuation of riots. Protestors hung two huge banners across the Acropolis which urged “Resistance.” It is becoming increasingly clear students are engaged in creating a sense of anarchy. The rampage through Athens which destroyed hundreds of shops and smashed banks represents something deeper than the death of a boy. We are witnessing a generation which has lost faith in the intelligence or capacity of elders to create societies based on human justice and equity. The enormous growth of wealth among those on top of society has angered young people.
One group battered their way into a TV studio which was broadcasting the prime minister’s speech to urge youth to take to the streets, “stop watching, get out onto the streets.” And, “free everyone who has been arrested.” The anarchists do not have any concrete plans to build a just society, they simply know what drives them to distraction. In a sense, the inability of youth to articulate a future is no different than adults who are stumbling in confusion on how to fix broken economies.
Police from Stockholm and other Swedish cities are being sent to Malmo to handle a growing tension in the southern city which has been wracked by riots over the past two days. After two nights of intensive rioting, police requested assistance in order to quell the disturbance. Emotions have been running high in Malmo’s immigrant district of Rosengard after police forcibly removed three squatters from the basement offices of an Islamic culture center. The premises had been occupied since November 24th as part of a protest against the landlord’s decision not to renew the association’s lease for the space which it has occupied for fifteen years.
The riots have grown with intensity with each passing night. Police were pelted with Molotov cocktails and bomb threats were made to local businesses. There are reports rioters were joined by left-wing extremists from outside the area who go by the name of “autonomists.” The fire department has refused to enter the area torn by riots.
The Malmo riots most probably have nothing to do with Greek youth, but reflect tensions arising from the arrival of African and Muslim immigrants who are encountering discrimination by native born Swedes.
The presence of Romas in many European nations invariably arouses the ire of right wing fanatics and bigots who have never abandoned Nazi-style approaches to dealing with people who are different from themselves. A gathering of the neo-Nazi Czech Workers Party nearly turned into a massacre of Romas due to efforts of police. About 500 thugs gathered in the town of Litvinovfor a march when they suddenly made a turn and headed for the Roma section of the community. Mob members were armed with Molotov cocktails, machetes and pitch forks which they intended to use against innocent people but were prevented due to the presence of about 1,000 police. In the melee about 300 Roma men also were present ready to defend their community against mob violence.
The gangsters who term themselves a “worker’s party,” threw flaming bottles and attacked police who stood in their way of carrying out violence. A police spokesperson said, “we discovered weapons–sticks, guns, pitchforks, machetes and other things in the cars of extremists and also Roma people.” A growing tragedy in Europe is the rising hatred against Romas. After all, they are a minority and have some differences.