Riots in Athens, Day 2

20 Oct

This time I headed down to Syntagma Square earlier in the day. Things were pretty chill. Actually, at Kolonaki Square, the posh place to see and be seen in these parts, people seemed completely oblivious to the fact that 300m away the biggest demonstration in Athens’ history was taking place. People chatted, shopped, banked, and drank the ubiquitous frappe.

As I walked toward the demonstration, I started to see more and more people covering their mouths with their shirts and even more wearing surgical masks. A few hard-cores had gas masks. There were some shouts and chants, but overall things were calm. I did feel a sting in my throat but then it subsided.

The people were normal, of all ages, their masks uniting them. After snapping some photos, I went home. See my photos here.

This evening, the three of us headed out to the synagogue, on the other side of Syntagma, to celebrate Simchat Torah.  We took the metro – which had been opened despite the strike so that people could attend the demonstrations. We had to walk to the station north of ours because Evangelismos and Syntagma stations were closed. The police were afraid rioters would escape through the metro.

We were happy because the metro bypassed the two stops between where we boarded and our destination, making the trip very short. But when we walked out, a woman started gesturing to us and talking quickly in Greek.

“Do you speak English?” We nodded. “There’s a lot of tear gas up there. Don’t go up there with your little one.”

We thanked her.

“Where do you have to go?” We explained that we had to switch lines. She said that would be OK.

The elevator wasn’t working so we went up the escalator but that took us to street level, and not to the platform for the other line, as we had intended. People were running in frantically and yelling at us in Greek, pointing to Amitai. My throat started to burn.

We quickly turned around and took the next train home.

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One Response to “Riots in Athens, Day 2”

  1. Ami October 21, 2011 at 3:53 am #

    Thanks for sharing – I am sure Amitai will have many more Simchat Toras to attend. We went here to Adas Israel, where I teach, and the childrens services were right near the Young Professionals martini party…. I am sure some of the kids snuk out some booze and spike their punch….

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