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Friday, 12 July 2013

Police attack on a demonstration for K. Sakkas (and my arrest for a video) - by @_giant_

By @_giant_, re-posted from Omnia TV and translated from Greek by @potmos

On Wednesday, July 10, a demo near the Acropolis was arranged in order to inform people about Kostas Sakkas’s hunger strike.
During the march, in which were about 150 people, slogans were written and leaflets were distributed, mostly in English, since the place is mostly a tourist destination.
When the march was stopped from continuing towards the Acropolis by police forces, it went on to Thissio through the pedestrian road, without an incident.
After a while, under the pretext that slogans were being written on walls, the march was attacked by a motorbike-mounted police force (DELTA), and arrests were made.
People protested the arrests and were attacked with flash-bang and teargas grenades.

From this point on, my personal account of the events:
All four flashbang grenades were thrown and exploded right at my feet, possibly deliberately, since I was holding a camcorder. I was stunned and for a short while I couldn't hear anything. I knelt briefly on a step outside an ice-cream shop. Then I realized that behind me they were arresting people, while a girl with a camcorder was verbally and physically attacked (later on I found out it was @Kinimatini). I turned my camcorder to that direction immediately, trying to capture the police violence.
At that point, one of the “DELTA” policemen came to the ice-cream shop and grabbed me. Then I threw the camcorder to other people in the shop, in order to save the shots. Shouting, cursing and beating, they threw me down, beside the other arrestees. When they made sure there are no more cameras, they started beating and cursing not only us, but also other people who were protesting the situation. Finally, a cop found my camcorder. As I learned, they threatened the shop’s employees and also a woman who was in the march.
While cursing me, they gave me the camcorder to keep in my bag, and they tied my hands intentionally tight with two plastic handcuffs, behind my back. Then, a riot police squad arrived and put us in patrol cars, taking us to Central Police Headquarters in Athens. There they took off the handcuffs. Mine were so tight that they couldn't cut them off without a small cut on my wrist.
At that point cops from the bicycle-mounted DELTA squad arrived. They took me away from the other arrestees and asked to see the videos in my camcorder while insulting me. I asked if this is legal, and they scoffed me. When they saw the video from their attack on us, they were celebrating: “Oh, we fucked them good!” and “you are such assholes that we fuck you and you post the videos to YouTube by yourselves” and also other similar, gang-like comments. After a while, they opened my bag, checking its content and making comments about illnesses in connection to some medicine I had with me, etc. Finally, they took my bag and camcorder to the Head Officer’s office.
In total, we were 13 people in there. I realized that almost everyone was beaten, had torn clothes, etc. They took us one by one into the office for our details, and they took also our mobile phones.
Then, a plainclothes officer led me to a separate office, where he forced me to delete the video. The DELTA cops were meanwhile asking all the time whether the video was deleted, obviously not wanting the record to be publicized.
After a while they returned our personal belongings, and released everyone, except two people that were accused (they were set free on the next day).
Since my hearing has not recovered, I visited a doctor, where I was diagnosed with acoustic trauma in both ears. Luckily, it doesn't seem to be serious and my hearing is expected to recover within the next 10 days.
P.S. 1: I only consider important that such events are documented, for historic reasons and for better understanding the reality. I do not wish to make a victim out of myself. I just think that we live in a sui generis war, in which I have chosen side.
P.S. 2: So long, coppers! You won’t be able to destroy my footage. All these expenses for our arrest were in vain. This is the video you tried to hide from publicity:

Update (12 July 2013): For the record, I went yesterday to a doctor for a more thorough examination. As of now, I can’t hear low frequencies with my right ear. I got a prescription with lots of cortisone, and I will go for another check next Tuesday. In the end, as the doctor told me, it’s debatable whether and when my hearing will fully recover.

You'll also find below @kinimatini's video, who ended up with a surgical collar for filming it.

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