The riots in Greece have made headlines across the world, but what lies behind the angry protests? Mike Asikopoulos is a Polis summer school graduate who thinks that new media has played a crucial role in the unfolding events. Here is his take on events and the part played by YouTube and the blogosphere.
On 12/6, a 16 year old boy named Alexandros Grigoropoulos, was shot by police and dropped dead in Exarchia, an area in the centre of Athens. Exarchia is supposed to be an area where the law has no power and where anarchists traditionally live. On the other hand there are many that deny that. Especially bloggers…
Bloggers that live nearby started writing about the incident, and in about 20 minutes the news spread widely. The networks followed and Greek police posted on its website an announcement stating that an investigation is being held and according to the two officers who were patrolling at that time in that area, they were attacked by 30 anarchists and in fear of their lives, one of the officers shot 3 warning shots.
Immediately, bloggers discovered a video on Youtube that shows that the officers’ claims are false and started posting it on the internet. The content of this video along with some witnesses that called big networks to report that the police officers’ claims are not true, made every Greek feel angry and led to protests in many cities across Greece.
Bloggers continued posting and reported the first riots that took place that night. Well informed, they blogged about all riots that were expanding throughout the city and uploaded the first photos showing anarchists causing extended damages but also citizens protesting peacefully.
On the other hand, all networks insist until today, on focusing in anarchists and their acts. One of the biggest TV networks showed the same video hosted on Youtube, but the sound of the video was different than the original. On the network’s video, just after the shots one can hear shouts and many people cursing the police. All bloggers outraged, posted against all networks and continued informing people of what is really going on in all Greek cities. And the audience seems to trust blogs more than big networks. One certain blog, had 600.000 hits in one day! Quite a big number for a Greek blog.
Although they report all damages, bloggers stress the fact that only looters and hooligans that believe in nothing are to blame for the broken and burnt shops, and that all Greeks should continue protesting peacefully. In addition, all these days blogs are flooded by videos captured by cell phones that show police violence even these days.
There are also videos and photos showing policemen working undercover, dressed as anarchists, starting riots and setting fires and then arresting protesters. In almost every blog, posts and comments show the true meaning of the riots. “I’ll leave Greece” one blogger says. “I’ll leave Greece because even during this crisis, this tragedy, our media focus only on the damages and not on the real problems. The fact that our youth is feeling hopeless, is dreamless”.
This article by Mike Asikopoulos
Here are some links of some photos & videos and some links to the most popular blogs. The original video of the shooting.
The video that the big network (mega channel) showed in contrast to the original
Videos captured by citizens showing police violence: (police shooting 15 times!!)
2 days after the boy’s death. The officials claimed that there were 2 shots and then the video was published)
A sound clip the second night of the riots. A reporter calls a radio station as a witness of 10 policemen beating a girl and a boy 17 years old while arresting them. He claims that the policemen have their knees on the children’s throats and beat them! The reporter warns the policemen that their are broadcasted live on the radio station and asks them to stop! You can also hear other people booing the policemen and shouting “Leave the children alone! They are only teenagers!”)
video showing once again police attacking a citizen with no reason. People that saw what happened start cursing the police!)