Saturday, May 8, 2010

An enthusiastic history of Greek protest dogs

By Katie Paul

Though there are many weapons available to the street protester, there is perhaps only one for which there is no defense: A really cute friggin’ dog. After Kanellos the Greek protest dog shot to fame when the Guardian published a photographic profile piece dedicated exclusively to him, careful observers started to notice that, hey! There are a lot of dogs hanging with these Greek protesters and, they really seem to want to stick it to the man. True, the dogs’ presence may be due less to any burning desire to fight the power and more to the fact that, well, there are a whole lot of stray dogs in Athens. They can be easily mistaken for one another since they all wear the same collars, blue for boys and red for girls, which are provided by the city with tracking tags when the dogs are vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Here’s where they’ve been spotted in the past.

Joining leftist demonsrators, civil servants, and teachers’ unions, this dog takes on a squad of riot police to protest austerity measures in April, 2010
A dog keeps watch on central Athens as protestors clash with police after austerity measures are approved in March, 2010
This dog sits in front of hundreds of students in December, 2009. They were fighting a plan to allow policing at universities, which was banned in 1974 after the end of a seven-year dictatorship.
Protestors make their way to the Greek parliament in February, 2009 to express their solidarity with arrested comrades. Their canine counterpart expresses his solidarity by eating the police tape.
Farmers offered more than 10,000 liters of fresh milk to passersby in central Athens in April, 2009 to protest low milk and meat prices. This dog happily supported their cause.
Tear gas cannot frighten away this stray, who joined an education demonstration in January, 2009. The march started as a commemoration of the 1991 murder of a professor by right-wingers, but quickly devolved into anti-government riots.
It’s a fine life, carrying the banner, as this dog did during a trade union rally in front of the Greek parliament building in December, 2008
Going where men would not dare, a stray dog runs through streets filled with debris during a night of rioting in December, 2008. Thousands joined the protest after police killed a 15-year-old boy.
A sit-in just isn’t a sit-in without a faithful companion by your side. This dog offered his support to a fellow demonstrator three weeks into the December, 2008 protests.
If you can’t beat ‘em, lie down in front of ‘em. That’s what this dog did in November, 2008, after police blocked dock workers from marching to the official residence of the Greek prime minister. He had just handed off a 35-year contract at the country’s main port to a Chinese firm.
Two dogs walk under a banner featuring the Olympic Airlines logo and the Greek flag during a demonstration against the privatization of state-run airline, railway, and shipping companies in October, 2008
As fast as his four legs will go, this dog stages his getaway from riot police in May, 2001. Protestors were voicing their opposition to a move to upgrade technical and vocation colleges to universities.