Greece has plenty of delightful traditions around Christmastime. But this year, in addition to lighting fires to ward off the troublemaking Killantzaroi, Greek shoppers also have another potentially grave threat to contend with at their local supermarket.
Earlier this month, a group of Greek anarchists who refer to themselves as “Green-Black Commando” announced their intention to poison a variety of popular food products. In a blog post with photo evidence, the collective said they planned to inject hydrochloric acid into Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light, Yfantis (a tube-shaped lunch meat product), and Delta whole milk.
Colorless and odorless, hydrochloric acid causes severe damage to the respiratory system, esophageal distress, and bloody vomiting, according to the EPA. Targeting grocers in Athens and Thessaloniki (Greece’s second-largest city), the plan allegedly involved quietly returning these products to the shelves in time for consumers to unwittingly poison themselves in time for Christmas.
Based on the group’s statements, it would seem that the motivation for “Green Nemesis Act 3” stems from anticapitalist and animal liberation motivations. “These days, thousands and thousands of Christians will... fill their empty lives with consumable rubbish covered in beautiful, glittering wrapping,” their manifesto reads, “the victims of this feast are the millions of living creatures that are slaughtered to arrive at the tables of the living, drained to the last drop of blood to satisfy their palates.” Years of government austerity following a prolonged economic downturn could have served as a contributing factor.
This isn’t the first time dissident political groups have turned otherwise benign foods into vessels of terror. A Palestinian group calling itself the Arab Revolutionary Army took credit for poisoning Israeli Oranges in the late '70s, and a cyanide scare devastated the Chilean grape industry in 1989. In both such cases, the object (or at least the outcome) was economic disruption than bodily harm.
No matter their aims or intention, the Hellenic Police’s Counter Terrorism Unit is taking the matter seriously. No reports of poisonings have trickled in yet, so hopefully Grecians will be able to ring in a happy and healthy new year.