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  The Violent Mobs of Keratea: America’s Future

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Posted on April 30 2011 7:00 pm
Rob Taylor has a Master of Arts degree from Wesleyan University. He blogs at Greenville Dragnet.

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A week ago, with little attention from the Trump-obsessed American media, one of the most important stories in the last years of Western Civilization happened in a small town outside of Athens, Greece. After months of rioting and mayhem, Keratea residents agreed to a “truce” with authorities wherein riot police would withdraw from Keratea and cede control of the city to the violent mobs.

The Greek state has ceded control of an entire city to rioters. If this isn’t newsworthy, nothing is.

But the American media has barely covered this story which is surprising since it is about “the people” rising up against the government in a Wisconsin (or Egyptian) style protest. The conflict began when residents of Keratea were told that a new landfill would be built in their area. In the volatile country, already rocked by civil unrest caused by their economic near collapse, this sparked rebellion almost immediately:

As unemployment rises and austerity bites ever harder, tempers seem to fray faster in Greece, with citizens of all stripes thumbing their noses at authority. Some refuse to pay increased highway tolls and public transport tickets. There has been a rise in politicians being heckled and even assaulted. Yesterday, in Thessalonika, scores of activists were arrested after violent clashes with police.

The anger is most palpable in Keratea, a town of 15,000 people 30 miles south of Athens which appears to have spun out of control. The state’s attempt to start work on a planned landfill site on a nearby hillside in December caused locals to set fire to construction vehicles and erect massive roadblocks on a road that bypasses the town and runs to the capital. It’s a fight that has galvanised the town, from the mayor and the local priest to shopkeepers, farmers, schoolteachers and teenagers.

Over the past four months, locals have developed increasingly inventive roadblocks to stop contractors from getting to the site. They have parked trucks across the street and built piles of rubble and dirt. Apparently in it for the long haul, they have erected a wooden hut by the side of the road to serve as protest headquarters, complete with campaign posters, news clippings and children’s drawings of the riots. Their latest move was a nocturnal expedition to dig a shoulder-deep trench across both lanes of the road. That was one step too far for the authorities, who, on Thursday, sent in workers – protected by police – to repair the damage.

Within hours, the confrontation degenerated. Masked youths hurled firebombs and rocks at riot police, who responded with rubber batons and repeated volleys of tear gas. A police helicopter circled overhead. “The town is out of control. Business activity has stopped,” said Yannis Adamis, a resident and mechanical engineer. “The stores are closed. The sirens are blaring, the [church] bells are ringing, people are on the streets. This cannot continue.”

In nearby streets, gaggles of teenage girls, cut lemons held to their noses to ward off tear gas, mingled with young men in balaclavas, stocking up on rocks to throw at police. An elderly man wielding a shepherd’s staff stormed past. “We’ve learned at the age of 60 about Molotov cocktails,” he thundered through his gas mask – an accessory sported by young and old alike. He would give only his first name, Panagiotis. By the end of the night, more than 20 people – including three riot policemen – had been treated in hospital. Just after midnight, a police officer’s home was attacked with firebombs, leaving three cars destroyed. The officer and his wife, who is also in the police force, and their four children were home at the time but unharmed, police said.

The state has lost its monopoly on force in Greece, but more importantly, the state is no longer considered a legitimate authority. The people of Keratea stopped the state from moving forward in its business of keeping the Greek infrastructure updated. Think about this for a second: the people of Keratea were willing to burn families alive to keep a landfill from being built. And after 129 days of anarchy the state capitulated to their demands and more. They ceded control of an entire city to a disorganized mob of people who tried to set fire to a family because the parents were police officers.

Next: why the media isn’t giving this story the coverage it deserves —>

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