The mysterious riot-dog of Athens

Last updated 08:00 12/05/2010

He trots blithely past lines of riot police. November 2008He dodges water cannon, flees teargas but is at the front of the column when a barrier's being stormed. He's always stoutly on the side of the protesters. Who? No less than that famed canine agitator, the riot dog of Athens.

The Greek capital sees a lot of street protests - lately against "austerity measures" - and it's said the sturdy tan riot dog is present for all of them.

I started seeing mentions of him the other day on the net, and collections of photos of him at protests dating between 2007 and this year. (Check out those galleries - they're much more exciting than the Reuters photos I was able to find.)

Some marchers and onlookers swear the dog turns up any time protesters gather, and stays with them like a spirit of resistance, a rebel with paws.

December 2008Others say he's not the riot dog, but several, all wearing the common blue collar issued for male dogs, and grabbing the attention of photographers looking for some incongruous symbol to frame in their viewfinders and imbue their snaps with depth.

If that's true, then all those dogs do bear a remarkable resemblance to each other. Sort of a rent-a-mob-dog.

Yet others say he's a partly imagined continuation of the spirit of Kanellos, the Athens stray that loved to join in street protests but reputedly died in 2008. Perhaps someone is bringing along their Kanellos-type dog as a morale-booster to the street-troops.

March 2009I prefer to believe he's real. It's more fun that way. I like to think of him running with the stirrers and comforting the teargassed, and barking out his defiant message: riot-dogs of the world, unite - you have nothing to lose but your chain.

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Pictures: Reuters

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nuku   #1   08:51 am May 12 2010

What a spirit! I had to laugh at the 'Mange against the Machine' headline. this is very interesting, thanks for sharing Nick.

Riot Dog Wannabe   #2   09:02 am May 12 2010

Woof - grrrrrr - snarl...

Kevin   #3   09:03 am May 12 2010

Nick do you have any idea at all about what is going on in Athens?? If you think what these protestors are doing is admirable - then you are dead wrong!!

paul   #4   09:20 am May 12 2010

LOLCats caption: Mysterious Riot Dog is Mysterious...

Aria   #5   09:22 am May 12 2010

A rebel with a paws!

He's too cute.

Phil   #6   09:24 am May 12 2010

The Greeks have been protesting since the start of their civilization!

Spud   #7   09:29 am May 12 2010

Kevin - This is a story about a DOG...nothing more nothing less. I doubt that this furry little underdog defender even gives a woof about the reason he's at these protests - he's probably just protecting his own patch.

Eleanor   #8   09:46 am May 12 2010

@Kevin He never said anything about either what the protest was about, or that he thought they were admirable. He was merely commenting on the dog that always seems to be there. Also the dog has been at protests since 2007. Presumably not every single protest in the last 3 years has been for the same reason.

Wade   #9   09:56 am May 12 2010


Esta   #10   10:39 am May 12 2010

If you go and look at the link to other photos, it's quite obviously not the same dog. One has distinctive black markings, one is plain black, and even the dog in the bottom shot on this page is quite different.

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