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Riot Police Attacks Photojournalist in Athens

Greek riot police (MAT)
Riot Police Attacks Photojournalist in Athens. Credit: Athens Indymedia / CC-BY-SA 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons

An award-winning American photojournalist reported an attack by a member of the Greek riot police (MAT) on Monday night in Exarchia, Athens. The photojournalist was on the scene covering events unfolding at the time on Strefi Hill, where residents were protesting in response to projects being launched at the site.

As recorded in videos circulating on the internet, the MAT were chasing down citizens in Exarchia and then attacked the photojournalist, Ryan Thomas, who was covering the events and assaults of Greek police on protesters.

The photojournalist has posted a video of his own assault on his Twitter account. The video is shocking, as it shows Thomas being isolated and the policeman violently punching and kicking him, provoking outrage from citizens who can be heard in the background shouting.

Videos confirm Greek police brutality against photojournalist

During the protest, additional moments of police violence were recorded and posted online. These all depict unprovoked attacks on citizens by the MAT.

Ryan Thomas, 23 years old, has been nominated in the RPS International Photography Exhibition164 2022 and also won third place in the Arizona Congressional Photography Competition in 2016.

The photojournalist is currently based in Bristol, UK. He was born in Wisconsin, USA and holds a graduate degree.

In his curriculum vitae (CV), he notes, among other things, that he covers a range of documentary topics while many of his personal projects are related to protests across European capitals.

Journalist Christos Avramidis also recorded the attack.

Furthermore, journalist Kostas Papantoniou confirms that the MAT were extremely aggressive towards journalists and photojournalists. According to Papantoniou, the reaction of a police officer when he saw a photojournalist taking his picture was typical: “Stop taking pictures of us, what are you taking all the time?” the officer demanded to know.

“[I’ll] take you out…put you in my room,” the officer further said to which the photojournalist replied that he was merely doing his job.

The police officer replied that they (the officers) “know what you do and who you have been with for so many years.”

In fact, according to testimonies, police officers were taking pictures of various photojournalists with their own cell phones.

The protest was the result of construction that had taken place in the morning, starting off planned “redevelopment” on Strefi Hill. These developments have been planned by the real estate company Prodea Investments and are being implemented by AKTOR.

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