Stray dog becomes mascot of anti-government protesters in Greece

Posted By elaine on May 10, 2010

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AP Photo: In this Dec. 10, 2008 file photo, a dog looks on as a firebomb thrown by rioters explodes near riot police near the National Technical University in central Athens.

They roam the streets wearing a blue collar around their necks indicating that they have been neutered by the city authorities. There are many stray dogs in Athens, Greece, but there is one, or several similar dogs, that have been seen during the many riots plaguing the country.

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AP Photo: May 5, 2010 file photo, demonstrators throw stones towards the police in central Athens

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AP Photo: In this March 16, 2010 photo, demonstrators surround riot police during a protest in Athens

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AP Photo: May 5, 2010 photo, demonstrators throw stones to the police while "Kanellos" looks on.

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AP Photo:In this March 30, 2010 photo, a protester scuffles with riot police as a stray dog joins in.

Photographers have documented the presence of yellowish dogs at boisterous anti-government protests over the years, barking and baring their teeth at police in what appears to be canine political statements. One, Kanellos (cinnamon in Greek, from its color) used the Athens Polytechnic School as his base and was a constant companion for over a decade to anarchist rioters until he reportedly died, in July 2008. But many believe the similar dogs are one dog and “he” has become the unofficial mascot of the anti-government protestors. Kanellos is so popular he has his own Facebook page, with over 4-thousand fans and a song dedicated to him. His last post: “Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay: Solidarity with the people of Greece!”

Photos of the yellowish dogs at the side of demonstrators have become an online sensation in recent days, with some websites describing them as evidence that a single, highly active dog is a constant presence at protests, but AP photographers say they have seen several similar dogs at the protests.  I however couldn’t find a photo with more than one dog in it.

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AP Photo: Feb 2008 photo, dog reacts to tear gas bomb exploding.

The dogs appear to be immune to the effects of tear gas, but are very frightened when riot police use stun grenades. Protesters pet them and police are not unfriendly, either, although the nature of their job does not allow them to give their attention to the animals.

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