Thousands descended on the coastal suburb of Faliro for the funeral of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, who was shot by police on Saturday and thus initiated days and nights of rioting and violence that has transformed Athens into a war zone. Before the funeral ended, young men and women were hurling stones, iron bars and marble slabs at the police who fired back with tear gas. It is estimated in Athens alone, more than 200 stores, 50 banks and countless cars have been damaged in the wild explosion of anger. Shops have shut down and hospitals report a surge of wounded people. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who holds a one seat majority in Parliament may be forced to hold a new election and most probably will go down to defeat since the nation’s youth has lost confidence in his ability to direct the nation.
At the Athens Polytechnic, a center of youth, men and women broke up marble slabs and prepared fire bombs and promised to turn the unrest into “an uprising the likes of which Greece has never seen.” One young man commented, “this is not just about the kid, it’s about our dreadful education and economic situation. It’s our belief and hope that this is the beginning of a rebellion against the system.”
Union leaders are prepared to strike and close down airline flights and ferries. Is this the first example of young men and women rebelling against the system which has created an economic mess?