Last time (04.10.2012) the people protesting the “blasphemous” play “Corpus Christi” promised to return with more support (some claimed that they would be complemented by Golden Dawn members; Greece’s resident ultranationalistic, if not fascist party). Yesterday afternoon they made good on their promise.
News agencies speak of a crowd of around 50-100 people gathering outside the theatre; among them the Golden Dawn MPs Elias Panayotaros and Christos Pappas (the same one who brought the Elder Pastitsios issue to Parliament). The reports speak of 4 MPs of Golden Dawn, but the other two are not mentioned by name and I didn’t see any of them in the videos.
Unlike last time, things got quickly out of hand pretty quickly.
|In this video a protester yells that the play is “high treason”, that the hollies of Greece cannot be blasphemed against and that they will not allow it. Then the crowd starts yelling “Greece means Orthodoxy”. Then a man is chased away while being called a “son of a bitch”, presumably because he wants to get in (I cannot make out who he is; if a Greek viewer knows him, lemme know)||In the above video, like last time, there were the same protests with hymns and the national anthem, but this time the crowd was a lot more eager to test the patience of the SWAT team squad that was there to protect the theatre. When the attempts to force the police line failed, they reportedly threw yogurt at the entrance of the theatre (a common gesture of disapproval in Greece).|
Elias Panayotaros also made a statement to the press (video on the left), saying that they attempted for the second time to stop the play (which suggests that the reports of Golden Dawn members present last time might not have been exaggerated), denouncing the play as blasphemous, the director as “quote-albanian-end quote”, the playwright as a fag, atheist and antichrist and claiming that “Such plays in Greece, no more”. He then denounces the use of violence by the police against some elderly people present in the demonstration. (Gee, thanks dude, but I’d rather not have you nor anyone else for that matter control what I can and cannot watch.)
Earlier (on the right, after the 15” mark) he had been far less eloquent, yelling at the actors and possibly at the press, calling them “actors my ass”, “fucking faggots” and “fucking albanian assholes”.
There were several people who had gathered to see the play, among them members of parliament of left wing parties; P.Tatsopoulos and V.Katrivanou from SYRIZA (the Opposition) and N.Bistes, M.Repousi (from DIMAR). They were prevented to enter the theatre with threats that if they did, the crowd would as well.
N.Bistes also made a statement claiming that such incidents are shameful for democracy and that Greece will not return to the practices of the military junta of the ’70s. He also mentions that the play is perfectly legal, since the restraining order case was dropped last week.
I’ve also read a report that the other Golden Dawn MP, Christos Pappas, is being indicted for releasing a person that had been arrested during the demonstration.
Amongst all this, a man known as “Manolis” (who was there gathering information for the LIFO website) was assaulted by the crowd. He claims that he drew the crowd’s attention for taking pictures and the hostility escalated when they learned he was a journalist and accuses the police for ignoring his pleas for help when they started beating him. You can read his tweets here.
Before leaving the protesters thoroughly congratulated themselves for managing to ruin the premiere of the play. By 10 p.m. EET things had calmed down and the actors managed to leave through a backdoor, since the front door had been vandalized and the lock destroyed, so it couldn’t be opened.
In response to all this pro-censorship atmosphere, the Hellenic League for Human Rights is organizing an event on October 16th under the name “God needs no D.A.”, trying to raise awareness for religious censorship. The subjects presented will include:
- Satire and Blasphemy: the adventures of a right
- The traditional recipes of intolerance
- Who is really protected by blasphemy laws
- Recording the forbidden: art censorship in modern Greece
- Corpus Christi & Pastitsio
- Experiencing Censorship (by Elder Pastitsios and the director Laeris Vasileiou)
I am beginning to wonder if this charade is going to become a weekly thing for as long as the play lasts… And to be honest this is getting a little too spooky for my taste. I had already mentioned that the Fundamentalists’ success against Elder Pastitsios would end up whetting their appetite for more censorship, but I never expected things to escalate this much, this quickly. I’ll try to keep you updated as events continue to unfold from Greece’s Culture War trenches.
Yesterday evening (Friday 12.10.2012) a powerful counter-demonstration was organized and the fundamentalists were numerically, if not morally, overwhelmed. The police arrested 35 individuals, though I have heard reports that some of them got it the police van by themselves (Live your persecution complex in Greece?). The actors were actually able to perform this time. A member of the Atheist Union of Greece said on Facebook: “The play was good, but not blasphemous enough for my taste”
Earlier in the day, the Minister of Justice started an investigation on whether the D.A.’s office was negligent (i.e. if he were informed about the disturbances and why he failed to respond) and if the police failed to perform their duties in the case of the release of an arrestee by Golden Dawn MP Christos Pappas (the MP has been indicted and I’m not certain if his parliamentary immunity can protect him, since the crime was of the “in flagrante delicto” type).
After a couple of successful shows, the director started receiving death threats and his parents starting being harassed as well;
he eventually caved and the play has been cancelled indefinitely. The news report has been retracted; the show will go on, but the schedule will probably change.
The director finally caved because of all the hate and closed down the play today, releasing a letter explaining his decision. They were also influenced by McNally himself, who wrote to them congratulating them on their perseverance, but asked whether the message of the play is lost amidst all this hate.
● Protest by Golden Dawn, religious groups cancels theater premiere
● During A Violent Incident At A Greek Theater, An Elected Official Went On An Unimaginably Vile Rant
● Golden Dawn MP Frees Detainee as Fanatics Storm Theater to Stop T. Nally’s “Corpus Christi”
ARTICLES in Greek
● Μεσαίωνας- Χρυσαυγίτες βουλευτές και πιστοί εμπόδισαν παράσταση που θεώρησαν βλάσφημη [εικόνες&βίντεο]
● ΒΙΝΤΕΟ-ΦΩΤΟ: Επεισόδια στο Χυτήριο – Mυρίζει δακρυγόνο και λιβάνι το Γκάζι!
● Όλη η «περιπέτεια» του Manolis με τους χρυσαυγίτες στο Χυτήριο
● Χημικά και προσαγωγές έξω από το θέατρο Χυτήριο για το Corpus Christi
● Χρυσαυγίτες και λοιποί στο θέατρο «Χυτήριο» εναντίον θεατών…
● Όλη η «περιπέτεια» του Manolis με τους χρυσαυγίτες στο Χυτήριο
● ΗΜΟΥΝ ΕΚΕΙ: Έξω απ’ το θέατρο Χυτήριο, χτες το βράδυ
● Δικογραφία σε βάρος του βουλευτή της Χρυσής Αυγής Χρήστου Παππά
● tsantiri.gr: Επεισόδια έξω από το Χυτήριο
● newsIt.gr Βουλευτής απελευθερώνει προσαχθέντα!
● newsIt.gr Δηλώσεις Παναγιώταρου
● Ν. Μπίστης: «Ντροπή για τη Δημοκρατία» η διαμαρτυρία για την θεατρική παράσταση στο «Χυτήριο»
● «Σόου» της Χρυσής Αυγής έξω από το θέατρο «Χυτήριο»
● Ματ Χυτηριο Θεατρο