Last night at about 0115 I heard an explosion from my room in Piraeus, the port of Athens. I wondered if it might have been a ship crashing into the dock, but my first thought was correct - it was a bomb.
I went to the roof. I was concerned about fire, and assessing if we needed to move. Looking in the direction of the car alarm sounds, I thought I could almost see smoke from a nearby building, just past the closest church. I wondered if someone had taken objection to the very long and loud church ceremonies that had been broadcast on speakers for much of the previous day and night. There was light breeze from that direction. I didn’t smell any more pollution or smoke than usual, and saw no flames.
I decided to go out and investigate. There were already quite a few police cars and cops around the area of the building I saw smoking. One shouted at me to go away - there was a bomb. It seems the smoke was probably dust.
I met a couple of lads who asked to interview me for their youtube news show, which I declined. Otherwise there were surprisingly few people out.
I returned to my room and stayed awake for a while, listening and looking out for any developments. There were still blue lights flashing outside the window.
In the morning I went for a walk to have a look at the site. The entrance passageway to a tall building looked the most affected. A brick wall and the roof were damaged, but presumably nothing load bearing, as the building was still standing, and there were people on the first and higher floors tidying up, sweeping glass. The shop windows on both sides were gone. Some windows in what I presume are flats above on the 4th floor were also broken.
The cats in the park just outside the building were all loafing and seemed subdued. If they were there last night I expect they will have burst eardrums at least.
One of the things I find most interesting about this event is how uninteresting it seemed to be to anyone else. I searched twitter, mastodon, and youtube, and news sites throughout the night, in English and in Greek, and there was nothing.
The first news stories I saw were about 10 hours later in the morning, and they said almost nothing. A report from one of the largest news papers in Greece was clearly written by someone who had not even gone to the site - my favourite comment in this article was, “The large building houses a shipping company, law and insurance firms and shops on the ground floor, according to the authorities”. Apparently they needed authorities to tell them there were shops there.
The article also gave no context, or even speculation as to the reason for the bombing. Is it anything to do with the date, 1312 - ACAB? It’s also a week after the traditional 6th December riots in commemoration of Alexandros Grigoropoulos who was murdered by police on this day in Exarchia.
I speculate it could be directed at any of the companies in the building, for unpaid debts or business rivalries, or it could be an attack on the law firm in the building to disrupt some legal action, or it could be an anarchist group. This sort of thing has happened before, I found when I searched the web.
A very similar bombing happened in Piraeus in 2018. In 2009 the port was bombed, possibly targeting a shipping company office. In 2008, a bar in a Piraeus marina was bombed, probably by a rival business. There was another blast in Piraeus in 2006 - that one claimed by “A left-wing extremist group calling itself Revolutionary Brigade”. The ekathimerini article covering the latest explosion mentions the same building was bombed before in 2020, but I could find no more information.
Maybe five bombings in the area - and more more I didn’t list - is why the locals didn’t seem very interested. Business as usual here it seems.