Greece’s newest network of anarchist urban guerrillas, the Direct Action Cells (DAC), has claimed an arson attack on a construction company’s Thessaloniki offices in the early morning hours of January 1st, 2022. The “Casus Belli Cell” released a communique on the same day, stating that a Molotov cocktail attack against the offices of PRAXIS EE Technical Contractors was in retaliation for the previous evening’s eviction of a 34-year-old squat in the Aristotle University’s School of Biology building. A separate attack, in which the Agios Pavlos cathedral in Athens was targeted with an improvised incendiary device (IID) also on the morning of January 1st, 2022, has yet to be claimed, yet bears all the hallmarks of previous DAC operations.
As a part of an ongoing policy of the New Democracy government to uproot squats across urban spaces in Greece, and reintroduce police to university campuses, the “Hangout Biological” squat on Aristotle University Thessaloniki’s (AUTh) campus was evicted early on the morning of January 1st. Police escorted workers, who breached an outer wall of the squat with sledgehammers, gaining entry to the classroom and seizing various equipment, from fire extinguishers to doweling rods with anarchist flags affixed to them. The space had been squatted since ca. 1988. In response to the eviction, a newly declared cell of the DAC, the Casus Belli Cell, attacked the offices of PRAXIS in Thessaloniki, which has been awarded a €1.3m redevelopment contract by AUTh. The attack claim accuses the university rector of collaborating with the Mitsotakis administration’s law-and-order policy regarding Greek university campuses and beyond.
(Eviction of the “Hangout Biological” Squat in AUTh)
From the claim:
The academic community officially opens its arms to militarism and repression, with the rubbish of the rectory sending its excited thanks personally to Mitsotakis himself. This is the AUTh: a matrix of collaborators of repression in which the officials of the uniformed Republic are hatched […]
We take responsibility for the arson attack on the building of the construction company Praxis, at 49 Kromnis Street in Kalamaria shortly before the change of time. Praxis is the contracting company that undertook the demolition work of the occupation. We will strike each one individually that accompanies the repression against the liberated territories and the world of struggle.
Our attack is the first reflexive movement of practical solidarity in the world of struggle that defends to the end the squatters and the self-managed areas of struggle, solidarity and attack. A message of strength, support and complicity with each comrade and comrade individually who insists on denial, on questioning, on war. You will find us by your side in every moment of conflict, in every roadblock because we are not finished. We are preparing a new cycle of attacks in the war of attrition, organizing new Direct Action Cells. And in this war we call on every struggling initiative to take action, sharpening the confrontation quantitatively, qualitatively and operationally. We respond to war with war […]
-Direct Action Cells
-Casus Belli Cell
Prior to this, most DAC attacks in Thessaloniki have been claimed by the local cell, the Organization of Anarchist Action, who have specifically targeted high-ranking members of the Hellenic Police.
Separately, a blast shook the Omonia neighborhood of Athens in the early morning hours of January 1st, as an IID was detonated outside of the cathedral of Agios Pavlos. The device was said to be fashioned from “gas canisters,” which would suggest but not confirm a DAC attack, as the DAC cells in both Athens and Thessaloniki have made frequent use of a unique IID construction employing butane gas canisters. Despite the similarity of methods to those of DAC’s, it should however be noted that the Greek Orthodox Church is a popular target for a variety of groups operating domestically in Greece. Furthermore, the DAC’s Athens cells seem to favor executing multiple attacks before releasing batch claims which attribute responsibility for multiple similar attacks employing IIDs with the familiar butane canister construction, or Molotov cocktail barrages and are often filmed or photographed by the perpetrating cell. As of now, there is no connection between the Agios Pavlos attack and a local Athens cell of the DAC.
2021 was the year of the DAC’s operational debut, and their attacks have been consistent in terms of methods, targets, and rhetoric found in their accompanying communiques. The group’s primary strategic aspirations are to develop a network of “revolutionary violence” not just in Greece, but throughout the world, encouraging ideologically aligned members of the hard-left and anarchist movements to carry out attacks on targets of “state and capital”. So far, they have been successful in establishing this network throughout mainland Greece, from Athens up through Volos and Thessaloniki. Whether the network spreads across Greece to include, for instance, communities on Crete, or even further into Europe where such groups have sympathies, such as in Italy or Germany, remains to be seen, but so far has not been realized.
(Typical IID construction in Greece)