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'Riot Dog' Is Back In Athens

Protesters, and Loukanikos, ran from tear gas in Athens on June 15, 2011.
Angelos Tzortzinis
AFP/Getty Images
Protesters, and Loukanikos, ran from tear gas in Athens on June 15, 2011.

As protests shake Athens again, "riot dog" is back in the news.

Actually, it might be more accurate to pluralize the discussion and talk about "riot dogs." Here's some background, courtesy of a 2010 Associated Press story posted by the English-language Athens News:

"Athens' stray dogs naturally seek company. And there's no better place to find lots of it than at one of Athens' many demonstrations. Photographers have documented the presence of several 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."

Our friend Jacob Goldstein over at Planet Money reported on the canines' case last year, during some of the previous anti-austerity riots in Athens.

The most famous doggie demonstrator these days goes by the name Loukanikos ("Sausage" in English), and as Timemagazine says he "boasts his own feed, Facebook page, site, YouTube channel, and .

He's even gotten coverage from the serious folks over at Foreign Policy.

Know Your Meme writes that both the previous best-known "riot dog," a stray named Kanellos who died in 2008, and Loukanikos are known for their "spirit of rebellion."

Riot Dog's supporters have put together a video about his "legend."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.