On 24 February, members of the Greek Association of Conscientious
Objectors were the target of a hand grenade attack, and only survived
unharmed by sheer luck. According to the press release of the Greek
Association of COs, at around 10 pm, while an open meeting against the
new armaments plan, hosted by the Greek Association of Conscientious
Objectors, was in full progress, an unknown person threw a hand grenade
at the building in which the meeting was taking place - the Migrants’
House at 13A Tsamadou Street in Exarchia - and then run away.
"Those of us that were inside at the time heard a loud knock at the
window and then a strong explosion. The perpetrator tried to throw a
hand grenade inside the meeting hall through the window. Fortunately,
there was double-glazing and only the outside glass broke, bouncing off
the hand grenade into the pavement, just outside the building. From the
explosion, some glass windows in the surrounding buildings were broken
and damage was caused in the pavement. But thankfully, and only due to
sheer luck, no one was harmed, against, apparently, the clear intention
of the perpetrator to kill."
The building known as the Migrants’ House houses a number of left,
feminist, homosexual and immigrant groups, apart from the Greek
Association of Conscientious Objectors. A short time before the attack,
Greek language courses for non-native speakers were taking place, as
every day, attended by tens of immigrants.
War Resisters' International issued a statement of support for the Greek Association of Conscientious Objectors, an affiliate of War
Resisters' International. In the statement, WRI says:
"The War Resisters' International is extremely concerned about this
particular attempt to kill Greek antimilitarists and the general rise
of fear and insecurity in Greece, specially for activists in Greece.
The spirit of December 2008 (when the killing of Alexandoros
Grigoropoulos provoked mass protests throughout Greece) is obviously
still alive among different activist groups in Greece and WRI supports
their struggle to end the circle of violence. The rise of extreme right
wing groups which spread fear and threaten the very life of people
cannot be tolerated. Not anywhere in the world, not in Greece.
The War Resisters' International calls upon Greek authorities to
undercover the perpetrator and unmask the motives behind this terrible
The War Resisters' International calls other antimilitarist and
pacifist groups to express solidarity with Greek COs in their struggle."
In their press release, the Greek COs vow to continue their struggle.
They write: "The revival of extreme-right or para-state terrorism,
which we seem to be witnessing, can frighten only those who are already
frightened, therefore not us. As it is obvious and as it happens in
such cases, the Greek Association of Conscientious Objectors will
continue and intensify its action, especially now that we realize how
much this action annoys them. We did not need a hand grenade exploding
outside our building to realize how murderous nationalism and
militarism are and how determined we are to oppose them. The
militaristic attitude that we experienced yesterday is incompatible
with the liberation movement while antimilitarism is one of its basic
components. We stand determined against those who invest in the terror
of the setup military tension in the Aegean Sea seeking to justify a
new armaments race, against those who invest in terrorism, racism and
xenophobia, nationalism and militarism."
Sources: Greek Association of Conscientious Objectors: No more military armaments, no more hand grenades, Press release, 25 February 2009; War Resisters' International: public statement on the bomb attack on Greek COs, 26 February 2009