06.12.2008 - 07.12.2008 19 °C
Yesterday I took a walk to a book store just north of Syntagma near Omonoia. It was a busy day, the streets filled with shoppers, Christmas decor lit up, the aroma of roasting chestnuts filled the air. All through Syntagma people were joyous as Christmas music drifted from inside the shops. I was enjoying one of my last weekends in Athens. The presence of riot police did not phase me as they are often a common sight when there is any sort of protest in the city. Protests are common here. They are typically peaceful. Sunday morning dawned bright and while many shops would not be open I thought it might be a good day to do one of my "walkabouts" that I frequently do. Photograph some street scenes, see if I could find some cats, enjoy a bright, sunny Athens day. I decided instead to come to the center and do some my work, get a load off my back so I could enjoy my last two weeks here. A good decision. I learned when I got here that violent riots had broke out in the city last night after a 16 year old boy was shot by police. A group of teens allegedly were throwing rocks at a police car when they were confronted and one was shot. I am not sure if the teens actions were in relation to the protest or not. Athens has its share of what they refer to as "self styled anarchists" and it is hard to say what prompted them to have this interaction with the police. As a result violet riots took place in Athens and Thessaloniki. Businesses were targeted, windows smashed, cars overturned, firebombs tossed. Reports say several police have been injured. I have to assume certain areas of Athens are a mess today. The US Embassy has issued a warning to American citizens to not venture toward the center of the city today. There were protests regarding immigration planned for today and the Greek government has urged those protesting to stay peaceful. Let's hope and pray that things calm down in Athens today. The families of those involved could use our prayers as well.