Prolaz, project about the continuous change experienced in the Balkans over the last years. It’s about the complexity of the human condition during the region’s transition toward democracy. It’s a personal view on the tension and the contradiction occurring here.
I started my journey in 2004 from Istanbul, I decided to start from Turkey, to capture the influence of Ottoman Empire in the Balkans.
And continue in subsequent years in different cities and surroundings from Albania, Bosnia, Bucharest, Croatia, Hezegovina, Kosovo, Istanbul, Macedonia, Montenegro, Sofia, Serbia, Skopje, Thessaloniki.
A land of unsure boundaries, where opposites both attract and repel each other. The last decade has violently changed the physical and psychological dimension of these towns, evolving them into a nationalist drama and perhaps the conclusion of an irreversible sense of their own being. Nevertheless, there are vibrant feelings of hope and fear, stemming from the people’s conflicting sense of their cultural heritage.
Greece | September 18, 2013
1. Riot police walk past a burning garbage bin in front of the Bank of Greece during a protest in Thessaloniki. Violent clashes broke out Wednesday in several Greek cities after a member of the country’s far-right Golden Dawn party was arrested in the fatal stabbing of a 34-year-old musician described as an anti-fascist activist. The stabbing drew condemnation from across Greece’s political spectrum and from abroad. While the extremist Golden Dawn has been blamed for numerous violent attacks in the past, the overnight stabbing is the most serious violence directly attributed to a member so far. (Nikolas Giakoumidis/AP)
2. Protesters holding banners cast their shadows as they march during an anti-government rally in front of the parliament in Athens. Greek workers shut schools and forced hospitals to operate with only emergency staff on Wednesday at the start of a 48-hour strike against the latest plans to fire thousands of public sector employees. (Yorgos Karahalis /Reuters)
3. High school students shout slogans in solidarity with their striking teachers during a 48 hour general strike in Athens. (Kostas Tsironis/AP)
4. Protesters march in front of the parliament as words are seen on the ground during an anti-government rally in Athens. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)
5. Protesters from the health sector take part in a protest during a 48 hour general strike in Athens. (Kostas Tsironis/AP)
6. People gather at the site where Pavlos Fissas, a 35-year-old anti-racism rapper was stabbed to death, by a man who sympathized with the far-right Golden Dawn group, at Keratsini suburb southwest of Athens. Fissas, 35, who went by the stage name Killah P, was stabbed twice in the heart and chest on Tuesday night in a brawl after a soccer match shown in a cafe in Keratsini, a working-class suburb of Athens. (John Kolesidis/Reuters)
7. Riot police officers detain protesters after clashes between police and anti-fascist protesters in the northern Greek town of Thessaloniki. (Alexandros Avramidis/Reuters)
8. A protester is chased by police during clashes between police and anti-fascist protesters following the killing of a 35-year-old anti-racism rapper in an Athens suburb. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)
9. A protester throws a flare to riot police during a protest at the suburb of Keratsini near Athens. (Kostas Tsironis/AP)
Greece hit by general strike over state job cuts | July 16, 2013
1. Member of pro-communist union PAME take part in an anti-austerity rally during a 24-hour general strike in Athens. (Petros Giannakouris/AP)
2. A protester holds a banner featuring a man hanging from a Euro logo as he marches to the Greek Parliament during a protest in Athens. (Kostas Tsironis/AP)
3. Municipal police members demonstrate during a general strike in Athens. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)
4. A woman holds a banner reading “We are Humans - Not Numbers”, during a protest in Athens. (Kostas Tsironis/AP)
5. Seen through another banner, lawmakers from the left wing Syriza party hold up a banner reading ” Fire the Government - No to the lay offs to the Public and Private Sector” outside the Greek parliament, in Athens. (Kostas Tsironis/AP)
6. A cleaning worker walks in the empty central train station during a 24-hour strike in Athens. (Kostas Tsironis/AP)
7. Protesters rest in front of the headquarters of Greece’s central Bank during a protest in Athens. (Kostas Tsironis/AP)
8. A protestor shouts a slogan in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens. (Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images)
9. Tourists take photographs from the top of a tourist bus, of protesters taking part in an anti- austerity rally (not seen in the picture) outside the Greek parliament in central Athens. (Petros Giannakouris/AP)
36-year-old Michael poses by an abandoned open-air cinema in central Athens. Michael worked as a hotel clerk for over 15 years but when the hotel closed he was unable to find work and in late 2011 became homeless. Two months later he was diagnosed with lymph node and thyroid cancer. He now lives outside a church.
The Athens-based Reuters photographer Yannis Behrakis spent several weeks documenting homeless people in and around the Greek capital. With unemployment recently rising to over 25% following the financial crisis of 2009, there has been a significant rise in the number of people sleeping rough on the streets
Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters