March 22: it was an ordinary Saturday night in Exarchia district of Athens. People were sipping their coffee unwary, when an alleged black-clad group with arms stormed the busy main square around 22:00 shouting threats against “anyone who dares to carry on attacks on anarchists, lefties or their social centers“. It is confirmed as an act in response to the “troublecausers” who have infiltrated the area. Rumours suggesting the arms carried were identified as AK-47 and that the group abducted 1-2 (?) people remain unconfirmed.
Today, alleged anarchists uploaded a text on indymedia site claiming credit for the incident, condemning any sort of aggressive attitude against local residents and grassroots groups, adding that Exarchia -an area with a long history as a hub of radical political activism- will not be further subjected to any kind of gangs’ activities. It is also explained that they appeared as many, intimidating and armed not only for their personal safety on their way back but beacause “sadly -for those concerned- it appears the only way for them to get the message“.
In 2013 two shooting cases in Exarchia received mainstream publicity. A fatal one, on November 24 that was treated by police as an incident of “clearing accounts” and another -nonfatal- on February 23, where a 19 year old man from Albania was transferred to the hospital suffering ankle injury. Some locals have expressed concerns that such violent incidents are linked with turf-wars among gangs that have also become part of a broader plan to degrade the area.