Athens police said yesterday that they were pursuing a de-escalation strategy, but the scene that unfolded outside Athens Polytechnic last night didn’t look like de-escalation. As black-clad rioters shouted slogans from behind the university’s fence, police on the other side threw rocks at them, yelling “Come on out, you cowards! Come out and get us!” Neither side seems interested in ending the violence, Der Spiegel reports.
“The police and the Black Bloc are bound to each other in a deep love-hate relationship,” says one local filmmaker. “They both find pleasure in the violence.” Meanwhile, a long-planned march today to protest the government’s economic policies drew only a few hundred people, an “almost embarrassingly small” turnout, reports a BBC correspondent. Police easily deflected the rocks and petrol bombs thrown, and responded with tear gas.