A view of the Hotel from a neighbours apartment and Airbnb
property, Victoria, Athens, October 2016. The Hotel is one of multiple
squats opened for refugees that recently popped up around the areas
Victoria, Omonia and Exarchia —areas that have been focal points
for refugee and migrant communities for multiple decades. The areas
—located in the very center of Athens and key to daily life in the city—
have long political histories, particularly Exarchia. Perhaps the most
overtly political area in Greece, Exarchia is associated with socialist,
anarchist and anti-fascist ideologies. It has long been the location
of choice for political squats. Exarchia was the site of the murder
of a 15-year-old greek school boy by two policemen, December 2008,
that triggered rioting across Greece, and the location of the Athens
Polytechnic University where law students began an uprising against
the Junta, November 1873. The area offers a strong pull for anti-state
actions, citizen led initiatives, arts events and—although to many
Athenians the areas are places to be avoided, known for anti-police
sentiment and high levels of crime and violence—Exarchia, Victoria
and Omonia are the host of various acts of solidarity with people
perceived to have been mistreated or neglected, whether
refugees or citizens impacted by the economic crisis
in Greece.