ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Social Malaise in Greece

The youth riots that engulfed Athens are a symptom of a society in the throes of decomposition.

The killing on the night of 6 December of a 15-year-old schoolboy by an armed special patrol officer on duty in Exarchia, the bohemian district of downtown Athens and a home base of various self-styled anarchist groups, was the spark that produced the spontaneous and unprecedented in scale student mobilisations and riots that immediately followed and engulfed in flames part of Athens and many other cities throughout Greece, leaving in their wake a rather conservative society in a state of shock and the political establishment in complete disarray.

What really lies behind the demonstrations is the deep-seated frustration on the part of the nation’s youth over a social system structured in a way that caters almost exclusively to the interests of the rich and powerful, unrestrained anguish over the direction of the country in the hands of a most corrupt and incompetent neoliberal government headed by Prime Minister and New Democracy Party leader Costas Karamanlis and whose social agenda consists of dismantling public education and social services and privatising at the same time major and even profitable public enterprises in the name of neoliberal market efficiency, and unaddressed fears about the future.

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