Exarchia will either become a paradigm of resistance and revival through solidarity and unity, or a symbol of anger, violence and the disintegration of the social fabric in crisis-stricken Greece. – Al Jazeera
Exarchia is a central Athens neighborhood that has historically been an urban space of resistance and community, and has oftentimes served as stage for conflict between angry youth and police. Situated near the University of Athens and the Polytechnic University, the first recorded student riot took place here over a century ago, and the landscape has continued to be a space of student and youth-led revolution. It received global media attention in 2008 when 15-year-old Alexander Grigoropoulos was shot dead in Exarchia by police and the neighborhood exploded into weeks-long riots, prompting the United States embassy to place a travel ban on the neighborhood.
Exarchia boasts free health care clinics, solidarity squats for refugees, punk bars, record shops and unpoliced public spaces—the police rarely patrol Exarchia proper after the 2008 riots. It is an urban microcosm that gives voice and support to politicized youth, marginalized populations and anarchist/autonomous/leftist ideologies.