Athens is increasingly becoming an unsafe place to visit. Snap strikes and shortages of food and petrol are causing inconvenience to visitors, but it's the demonstrations and protests which are dangerous. Each new strike seems to quickly dissolve into violence. There was a general strike in Greece on May 11th. 20,000 took to the streets of Athens and many had running battles with tear-gas firing police. This was the second general strike of the year (the 8th since 2010).
The cause of it all is Greece's monetary crisis and the austerity measures being imposed. Times are tough in Greece, unemployment is high, homelessness is growing, debt-default is rampant. Many blame the Euro, and therefore Europeans who come to visit.
Some blame immigrants, and ultra-nationalist groups are on the rise. Some of those take matters into their own hands and the murder and beating of immigrants is common. Especially in central Athens, where gangs of thugs roam the streets at night picking on anyone 'different'.
This is not to say they'll storm your hotel and beat you up for being a tourist, but watch out, it's getting more likely you'll be in the wrong place at the wrong time (especially if you're dark-skinned/Muslim/'foreign').
Find a report about the cycle of violence here: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=55643
There's a great website which has daily updates about who's on strike/planned disruptions in the coming days: http://livingingreece.gr/strikes/
check it out... latest info is for a rally of public sector workers in downtown Athens on May 18th.
Take care. Phil about 7 years ago
I read and hear lots of exaggerations these days about the safety of Athens - there's not a war going on here, you know (at least not yet). Incidents like those mentioned happen in every major European city but somehow the Athens facts are "ballooned" in a ridiculous way! Aren't there protests and problems in Istanbul, where a few days ago, there were "riots" in Taksim square ???
If you take reasonable precautions (avoid the Omonia square and surrounding areas, wher problems usually occur), you will walk just like in any other European city! about 7 years ago
I live in Athens and I DON'T work in tourism. It's a great city in many ways, but it's changed a lot recently. Our MAYOR says publically that the streets aren't safe at night. Please understand that it effects everyone, not just residents. Be very careful of pickpockets, stay out of any area that isn't a tourist spot if you aren't white, and keep abreast of the many demonstrations and strikes (they're announced the day before usually). Avoid the 'bargain' hotels - many are n ice, but they're cheap because they're in dangerous streets. about 7 years agoAnswered by Nikos via WorldNomads.com