We raise this update as we have noticed that in the mainstream media and the wider media, the events of the last few days, as well as the solidarity march for the Biologio steki, completely silence the fact that Exarcheia was, is and will be a neighbourhood that fights against gentrification and repression. We want to make it clear that these events are mass actions spontaneously flanked by people and prove that no matter how much Mitsotakis and his whole family want to, Exarcheia will not submit to their vices.
Since this morning, bulldozers and contractor crews arrive in Messolonghiou and proceed to excavate the pavement in order to electrify the new building where a luxury apartment block is being erected. After the work is temporarily halted due to complaints from residents, police forces arrive at the site. In the evening of the same day, a banner is displayed against the gentrification of Exarchia and people cover the holes that the bulldozers have made in the pedestrian street with earth.
The pedestrian street of Messolonghi, despite the destruction it has suffered, is full of people. As a spontaneous movement, several people continue to close the potholes. At the same time some people react to the presence of the potholes and try to open them. Later a Delta group tries to approach the pedestrian walkway and is immediately evicted.
In the evening hours there is a large presence of people on the pedestrian street of Mesolonghi. For one more evening patrols of the Delta group make a strong presence and are driven out by people who oppose it. At the same time, the approach of police vehicles to the pedestrian street is guarded by barricades and the metal sheets around the building are opened.
The above is a brief review of the social reactions to the investors’ plans to speculate in the neighbourhood of Exarchia through its gentrification and touristicisation. The luxury apartments of the building under construction are not intended for the evacuated immigrant(s), nor for the working class living and working in the neighbourhood, but serve the needs of capital and house a specific income class at the expense of the social base of the neighbourhood.
Exarchia has always been a barrier to the plans of the state, which is why it has been under attack in recent years. The constant presence of all police forces in the neighbourhood, the privatisation of open spaces, the plans to turn the Polytechnic into a museum, the metro station in the only square in the area and the onslaught of tourist capital through hotels and airbnb accommodation are all signs of their attack.
However, the events of the last few days in the pedestrian street of Mesolonghi and the mobilisations in the wider area show that the people who either live or work are reacting to the upcoming alteration of the neighbourhood.
Regulars of Messolonghiou