Like a miracle picture in the eyes of the Greeks, the visitors, and anyone who happened to find himself in Athens during the 6-7 of December weekend, Santas ran through the city with festive cheer Sunday morning, a few hours after the same city, in the same streets had become a war field as protestors torched the downtown with Molotov cocktails. In the morning it was all clean and ready for the first ever Athens Santa Run, and smiling, the 600 “Santa Clauses” gave the street a festive feel again.
Santas geared up on Sunday morning to run the 2.5-km race down Panepistimiou Street in order to raise money for the Athens Municipality’s children’s parks. There was a tiny young Santa taking part, just 3 months- old, and the oldest was 84 years of age.
Well over 211 people have been detained after an all-night battle that took part following protest rallies held to commemorate the shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos by a policeman in 2008. Athens turned into a war zone after 8 p.m. with riots breaking out in the streets around Exarhia, the Polytechnic and Omonoia.
Shops were set on fire ,citizens were damaged. Over hundred people were arrested. It was the anniversary of the killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, who was 15 at the time, during the ex-New Democracy governing in Greece, that usually brings since 2008 thousands of anti-state demonstrators on to the streets each year the same day. But this year, the tension has been intensified over self-proclaimed anarchist who witnessed the killing in 2008, and is now on hunger strike over the Greek authorities’ refusal to let him attend university classes. Nikos Romanos, currently serving a sentence for robbery but is now in hospital in a critical condition. Romanos, whose clinical condition is very critical, is reported to be insisting on attending classes in person. “I won’t back down”, he said. “Struggle until victory or struggle until death”.