The Moment: Athens

ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP / GETTY

We've seen these images before: peaceful protests hijacked by black-hooded youths who hurl rocks at riot police, smash shop windows and turn normally placid Western cities into war zones. Lit by different sparks, the violent outbreaks in Seattle (1999), Genoa (2001) and the banlieues of Paris (2005) were all fueled by a potent mix of political frustration and pure nihilism.

This week it was Athens' turn. On Dec. 6 a policeman fatally shot a 15-year-old boy in a confrontation with a hostile crowd of youths. Within hours, rioters were tearing up the Greek capital, setting fire to buildings...

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