As tear gas fired by riot police lands inside their Syntagma Square camp, the brains behind a pirate radio station broadcasting Greek Indignants’ dreams of a new revolution vow to stay the course.
The music is hardly cutting edge, coming straight from the era of the uprising against the US-backed Greek colonels — "Riders on the Storm" by The Doors.
But there is something ultra-modern about what the kids behind Entash radio (entasifm.org and 100.1 FM) are doing in the middle of the latest popular movement.
"Anyone who says they don’t worry is lying," says Sofia, a 26-year-old computer programmer who helped launch the station when anarchists occupied the Athens Law School during December 2008 riots after the police killing of a teenager, Alexis Grigoropoulos.
"What you do is try to overcome the fear by concentrating on why you came here in the first place," she told AFP in among the devastation of the night before, after pitched battles between youths hurling marble rocks torn from the nearby Hotel Grande Bretagne and the forces of order.
Head doorman George "could hardly see" when he came in to work at 6:00 am (0300 GMT). "I was sick, there was just so much tear gas."
Despite the clean-up operation, parts of the square still looked Wednesday a bit like a cross between Glastonbury and Mad Max — burnt rubbish everywhere, smashed-up bus shelters. Worse is expected after lawmakers start voting in the afternoon on the brutal austerity package these protesters say will steal their future.
And yet there is real ingenuity at work to keep the protest going 24 hours a day, in among the artists and marginals who have set up their stalls here over the past seven weeks.
Masked Aris, a 23-year-old student of applied sciences at the Athens Technical University, joined the crew — which now numbers about 40 — six months ago.
Even as daily power cuts plunge the city into a communications dark age, he and other Entash technicians have dug deep down under the square to tap into failsafe power lines used by the metro network to make sure they keep broadcasting.
"We kept broadcasting right through it all — tear gas was landing right there," he said pointing two yards in front of their makeshift studio. "We have lots of clever volunteers and friends in the power company!"
They give over the airwaves to the disparate groups in the camp for up to one hour a day to transmit their message, and broadcast live the alternative ‘parliament’ in the camp each evening.
Each night, they debate what to do next as the threat of serious violence erupting rises the closer it gets to Thursday’s final vote. Each day, they think about the consequences of their decision to stay.
"I was here when the police attacked us on June 15, and I expect them to attack us again now," said Sofia. "But if the society is behind you, that means you are in the right so it becomes ridiculous when the police attack us."
But the police are not necessarily attacking them. It’s the young unemployed who swell the numbers and darken the atmosphere on the square around their camp that annoy Helene, a nearby barmaid.
"Too many of these protesters are just out for fun. They don’t have jobs so they come here at night for a party. The government will win this vote, and nothing will change."