Thessaloniki, Greece - 1 May 2001
"There is a beach underneath the street”"
A Reclaim the Streets action against capitalism and any form of power took place on May 1st in Thessaloniki, Greece, organized by an open, non-hierarchical meeting of people. It began at 5.00 pm, gathering almost 400 people at a central city crossroads (Tsimiski and Gounari streets) and continued with a moving street party of dancing people with whistles, drums and trumpets in the central city streets. A text related to the bloody uprising taken place in Thessaloniki in 1936 was read outside the old tobacco factory, starting point of the uprising and nowadays transformed into the biggest shopping center of the city, and also home to the USA Consulate.
The moving street party is a new form of protest in the city of Thessaloniki and the cops were obviously at a loss. The police forces moving ahead of the participants were sometimes forced to run, when the party was running forward screaming and whistling, like if chasing them. Without any difficulty, and with double the people it started with, the party took over the most central city street, Tsimiski St. - symbol of the consumer society and also the car’s ideology, with four traffic lines separated with bars from the shinning sidewalk aiming to facilitate the view to the glamorous windows of world-famous fashion shops and banks.
A sound system provided music for the people to dance on the street till 8.30 pm. Participants increased over time and it’s believed that around that time there were more than 1000 people on the street and the neighboring Navarino Square. Happenings, many leaflets with information material, paintings on the street and street football completed the scene. After 8.30 pm the sound system was removed by the organizers as a prevention measure, but participants continued dancing to the music of drums and other instruments with lots of energy and many events happening.
The party lasted until almost midnight. When some people started smashing windows of nearby shops, the cops attacked throwing teargas and the crowd ran away. Four people were arrested.
The street party in Thessaloniki was part of the global day of action against capitalism, scheduled for Mayday all over the world. And the carnival against capitalism continues...
Updated 5 July 2001