Friday 17 February 2012

The state of the city

We had some boring, bureaucratic business to attend to today, and decided to combine it with a visit to the Cycladic and Byzantine Museums.  We took the bus to Academia and then walked down to Omonoia.

There are fire engines still around, and the city smells of burning, but other smells linger too - tear gas?

On Stadiou Street we came upon a group of parents who were protesting, asking for nurseries for their children

Most of the traffic lights in the centre were broken on Sunday. The city is in chaos - we are told that there is no money to have them fixed at present, and traffic wardens are attempting to regulate the traffic

Having finished our business, we retraced our steps and came upon the corner of Christou Lada and Stadiou and one of the casualties of Sunday night

the building is gutted.

All along Stadiou as we walk up towards Syntagma, in every street corner are the homeless: covered in blankets - it is 6oC with a biting wind - lying on the ground, many holding another bundle in their arms, a child also covered in blankets: it is a signt that breaks your heart and a new phenomenon in the streets of Athens.

at the beginning of Vassilissis Sofias we came upon the children featured in the previous post

we turned right into Syntagma Square where more children aged 13-17 were protesting: some sitting down on the ground, most standing

I went up to one group and asked them what they were protesting about.
--   We are protesting for Greece
--    Anything specific?
--    No, just for our country, we want a better deal for the people of this country and for our generation in particular.

That seemed a bit vague to me, so I asked another group who said the protest was against school re-organisation.

We went to the Museum of the Cycladic Art where we looked at some photographs and then moved on to the Byzantine Museum, but that was closed because the staff were on strike.

Retracing our steps towards Syntagma Square, we saw:

police on Vassilissis Sofias,

riot police by the (closed) flower shops

outside Grande Bretagne

by the steps in Syntagma

this is what they were protecting us from - the children who were dispersing and lots of passers-by

here are the police again, with the dog posing in front. This dog became the mascot of the Indignants last spring, never missing a gathering, and it is back, always here.

The girls who were sitting behind me while I was taking this photograph joked about how much the dog loves being photographed

On our way to the bus stop I stopped to take this photograph of the police outside the National Gardens. One policeman came up to me and threatened me telling me not to take any photographs. He had a riot shield, a gun, a truncheon, handcuffs, a tear gas cannister - and this is only what I could see. So I decided not to argue....

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