Monday, October 11, 2010

The Aghios Pantelaimonas Residence Association Up Close

Not exactly the scariest right-winger
I've ever seen...because she's not one.
The Aghios Pantelaimonas Residence Association does not strike you as a band of right-wing nationalists. They don’t even seem comfortable leading a protest.

If anything this middle-aged bunch looks more like Oprah’s Book Club.

(And you can decide which group is more militant.)

Monday night, the Association held a “secret” demonstration – or as secret as you can make a demonstration – to keep away the right-wing group (read: Chrysi Avgi) that had attached itself to the association’s protests against the deterioration of the old city center, largely pinned on migrants. A group of about 20-30 men and women, only two of which looked younger than 35, marched through the neighborhood from an Everest café on Patission Avenue with white picket signs and planned to stomp all the way to the Greek Parliament, about 5 kilometers away. (After about an hour of zig-zagging through “Ag. P” they decided to take a trolley.)

The group tried to make it clear who and what they are against: mafia, Dublin II, government indifference and, most notably, fascists.

The sign on the right says "The
neighborhoods of the center
will not become Guantanamo."
Marina Vixou, wearing a flattering red jacket, I might add, worked the bullhorn with those old-time crowd favorites like:

“Chrysi Avgi is calling the Ghettos of Athens because of government indifference.”

“Our neighborhoods will not become Guantanamo.”

“Greeks, foreigners, we all despise Dublin II.”

The signs in the crowd read:

“MAFIA OUT!”

“Fascism, never again.”

After actually attending the group’s rally (sans right-wingers) you find that their positions are pretty reasonable. Dublin II has made Greece the prison of Europe. Years of legal limbo and government indifference to the root causes of migrants’ problems led to the festering of drug and counterfeit goods peddling.

Right-wing groups are certainly looking to capitalize but this Association shows no interest in cooperating.

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