Things getting heated outside Chitirion theatre last night.
Yesterday evening in Athens, a few hundred religious folk, among them members of the nationalist party Golden Dawn, gathered outside Chitirion Theatre in the centre of the city to protest the staging of Corpus Christi, a passion play that portrays Jesus and his Apostle friends as gay men. According to news reports, things quickly got heated enough for the police to intervene with chemicals, but then again that is hardly noteworthy in a country where people will very soon start mistaking tear gas for rain.
Last night's story rather revolves around a single man – maybe a gay man, probably a man who blogs, but all that matters to the Golden Dawn, really, is that he is a man who got in their way – who found himself in the middle of the commotion outside the theatre and proceeded to livetweet whatever was happening. He did so in Greek, but I thought it I'd translate his tweets for you:
"I hear the party outside Chitirion Theatre has started. I'm gonna make my way there for a bit of Twitter reporting."
"The Special Forces have blocked the street. There are hundreds of people here, protesting about Chitirion."
"The cops won't let me through. Do I look like a Christian?"
"Pay attention to what I post from now on. RT everything."
"I got to the theatre's entrance. Golden Dawners and priests are tearing up and stepping on posters of the show."
"I take out my phone to take a video for the blog. Five Golden Dawners and one cop surround me."
"They ask me, 'Are you a journalist?' I say, 'I write for LIFO' [a free press magazine] thinking this would save me some trouble. The exact opposite happened."
"They drag me to the side, the call me a faggot, a queen, they tug at my beard, spit on my face, punch me in the stomach."
"The cops are right next to us. I shout at them, 'They are hitting me, will you not do something about it?' One responds, 'I didn't see anything. Please move to the side.' He's got three stars on his chest."
"Someone throws a lit cigarette in my pocket. A lady standing next to me sees it and warns me in front of the policeman. He pretends to not have listened."
"I begin to feel afraid. I move away from the entrance. They start shouting, 'That's right, you fucking faggot, run, better go give someone a blowjob.'"
"I return so I can see what is happening from a distance. A well known Golden Dawn MP follows me. He punches me in the face twice, and throws me on the ground."
"While on the ground, I lose my glasses. The Golden Dawner is kicking me. The police are literally two steps away. Their backs are turned on us."
"I call out to the cop, 'They are punching me, do something,' repeatedly. He moves away, with his back still turned to me."
"The rest of them, old men and Golden Dawners are openly making fun of me next to the Police Chief. 'Cry, you fucking faggot, you nancy boy, you little girl, you queen.'"
"A lady that owns a restaurant next door finds my glasses and takes me with her, so she can give me some ice. My face is swollen and red."
"We pass by ten of cops who are just hanging out. I tell them, 'It was right there. At the theatre's entrance, they beat me up.' Most of them ignore me and one of them sends me kisses, sarcastically."
"The restaurant lady gives me some ice for my face and shares her memories of the dictatorship. She says she is more afraid now [than she was then]."
In the end, Manolis is picked up by a friend of his and is taken home. He kept on tweeting for the next couple of hours to let people know he was alright but shaken and scared, to thank people for their messages of support and encourage them to never hide. At some point, however, he also confessed that he had changed his Facebook handle and that he is considering not pressing charges as he doesn't want the police to have any information on him.
This is the sad reality of Greece these days: Everyone, no matter where they come from or what they believe in, is just constantly afraid. And even sadder, it seems that in the aftermath of attacks like this one, they have good reason to be.
Follow Elektra on Twitter: @elektrakotsoni
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