This article originally appeared on VICE Greece
If the streets of central Athens could speak, this Sunday they'd have been mumbling, "Leave us alone, for fuck's sake."
It's February 2016, and demonstrations take place in downtown Athens every single day. Doctors, farmers, lawyers, civil servants, even policemen—everyone is demonstrating against an overhaul of the country's pension system demanded by international lenders and imposed by the local left-wing government.
Everyone, except the 4,000 people who turned up at Athens's Propylaia earlier this week. These guys were protesting the new Greek ID cards, which will come with a microchip carrying the holder's NI number. But as it turns out, microchips and NI numbers are instruments of the devil—at least according to the country's Christian Orthodox fanatics, conspiracy theorists, and thriving far-right community. So those brave few got together to protest in the city center, holding religious icons and Greek flags.
I decided I should try to talk to a few of them. The first person I approached—a tall nervous man in his 40s named Anthony—told me that if we tolerate microchips in our ID cards, in a few years Greeks will need chips implanted under their skin in order to get into supermarkets. The second—a lady from the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, who was attending the demo with her husband and her son—took time out of her day to explain to me why all journalists are slaves to Satan. A third gave me an impassioned speech about how the New World Order will soon demand that we all type our phone numbers into cash machines if we want to get any money out, which isn't that scary.
In short, it all felt as if a few thousand YouTube comments had suddenly come to life and decided to take a stroll around Athens on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
See for yourself in the photos below.