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Pretty low key may day in Exarchia
05/03/2012, 5:05 PM
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A summary of anti-austerity demonstrations of 02/12/2012

From Occupied London:

There are various estimations about the number of the people concentrated on the streets and squares of the country. Athens had anything over 500,000 people on the streets, it is not easy to estimate it, but before the attack of the police every street leading to Syntagma and the square were packed, with thousands more coming from the neighbourhoods on foot or by buses and trains. Half an hour before the demo one could see the metro stations and the bus stops full of people waiting to get on a vehicle that would bring them to the centre. Every city saw rallies and mass marches, with Heraclion of Crete, a city that holds a record in the recent wave of suicides, having a 30,000-strong march. Demonstrations alla round the country turned violent, with people destroying banks or occupying governmental buildings, e.g. in Volos the branch of Eurobank, the Inland Revenue Offices and the town hall were torched or in Corfu people attacked to the offices of their region’s MPs, trashing them, the town hall of Rhodes was occupied during the demo and still is occupied, to mention but a few of such actions.

Police did several preemptive arrests in the morning hours before the start of the demonstration. Several activists were attacked by police officers in plain clothes and were detained as soon as they came out of their houses, while it was obvious since very early that police wanted to keep people away from the parliament. In there the new austerity package (an over 600-page document that was given to the MPs 24 hours in advance with the advice to vote for it before Monday morning when the stock markets will open) was being “discussed”. Early afternoon when the occupiers of Law School tried to march from the School to Syntagma the police attacked to them breaking the block, while they attempted to raid the School several times during the night, using also rubber bullets. Well before the arrival of most demonstrators who were still on their way, the police attacked en masse the crowd in Syntagma Square using physical violence, chemical gases and shock grenades. After the attack a big part of the demonstration was concentrated on Amalias st, Fillelinon st, Ermou st, Mitropoleos st and Karagiorgi Servias st. People battled with police for over 5 hours in their effort to return to Syntagma. Other people erected big barricades across Korai sq. on both Stadiou st and Panepistimiou st. and fought trying to reach Syntagma or defend themselves from police attacks. On Panepistimiou st. police concentrated much of its forces on the barricade in front of Athens University and people clashed head to head defending their barricade. DELTA motorcycle police raided several times the crowd, esp. in Mitropoleos street, MAT riot police did the same several times but also things went the other way around. Besides the barricades and the substantial groupings of people, demonstrators broke in various smaller groups that clashed with small groups of police or walked around searching for a barricade or to join a larger group.

After midnight the majority of the parliamentarians (199) voted for the new austerity memorandum that -among other measures- includes the drop of salaries by 22% and drops the minimum salary at about 400 Euro per month, while unemployment rate has been doubled (over 20% in Nov 2011) within 16 months.

74 demonstrators were arrested and over 50 people injured by the police were hospitalised, the number of detainees remains unknown.

Several banks, governmental buildings and two police departments (Acropolis and Exarchia depts.) were attacked by demonstrators during the night, while Athens city hall was occupied, but police concentrated forces invaded the building and arrested the occupiers. Over 40 buildings were burnt in Athens, while occupations of public buildings still are holding all around Greece. The Law School occupation issued a statement in early morning of 13/02/2012: “It was decided by the assembly of the Law School occupation that the occupation continues. We call everyone on the streets to continue the struggle. Nothing ended, everything now starts, the Law School is a centre of the struggle and as such it will remain”.



Exploring Revolt in Greece
01/12/2012, 7:53 PM
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Anti-Austerity Clashes in Athens During General Strike
10/20/2011, 2:26 PM
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Greece: Clashes with police during two-day general strike

According to LA Times:

“Riot police fired tear gas at youths hurling rocks and petrol bombs near the Greek finance ministry Tuesday, trying to quell the anger unleashed during mass protests and a general strike as parliament debated new cost-cutting measures.

The latest austerity measures must pass in two parliamentary votes Wednesday and Thursday if Greece is to receive another batch of bailout funds to see it beyond the middle of next month. If the votes don’t pass, Greece could become the first eurozone nation to default on its debts, sending shock waves through the global economy.

The clashes came at the start of a two-day strike called by unions furious that the new (euro) 28 billion ($40 billion) austerity program will slap taxes on minimum wage earners and other struggling Greeks. The measures come on top of other spending cuts and tax hikes that have sent Greek unemployment soaring to over 16 percent.

“The situation that the workers are going through is tragic and we are near poverty levels,” said Spyros Linardopoulos, a protester with the PAME union blockading the port of Piraeus. “The government has declared war and to this war we will answer back with war.”

A peaceful demonstration of 20,000 people in Athens was soon marred by outbreaks of violence, when two groups clashed. One side took refuge near a coffee shop, and police fired tear gas in an attempt to clear the crowds and get them out.

The situation quickly degenerated, with masked and hooded youths pelting police with chunks of marble ripped off building facades and steps. They set fire to giant parasols at an outdoor cafe, using some to form barricades, and smashed windows of a McDonalds outlet and other snack shops.

Peaceful protesters nearby braved thick clouds of tear gas to stage an outdoor street party, banging pots and pans in time to music on loudspeakers.

Staff at upscale hotels handed out surgical masks to tourists and helped them with rolling luggage past the rioting, over ground strewn with smashed-up marble and cement paving stones.

Youths torched a satellite truck parked near parliament. The fire caused a freezer at a neighboring kiosk to explode, and hooded youths ducked behind the burning truck to help themselves to ice-cream cones.

The scale of the strike bought large parts of the Greek economy to a standstill. Everyone from doctors and ambulance drivers to casino workers and even actors at a state-funded theater were joining the strike or holding work stoppages for several hours.

An ongoing strike by electricity company workers kept up rolling blackouts across Greece. Not far from the violent protest, cafes and ice cream vendors popular with tourists used portable generators to keep the power on.

Hundreds of flights were canceled or rescheduled as air traffic controllers walked off the job for four hours in the morning. Another walkout is scheduled for later. Strikes by public transport workers snarled traffic across the capital and left tourists stranded around Piraeus.

Many Greeks insist they should not be forced to pay for a crisis they believe politicians are responsible for.

“We don’t owe any money, it’s the others who stole it,” said 69-year-old demonstrator Antonis Vrahas. “We’re resisting for a better society for the sake of our children and grandchildren.”

Despite the discontent being displayed – a sizable but peaceful demonstration was held in Greece’s second city Thessaloniki – the country’s lawmakers are preparing for their second day of debate over the austerity measures. The package and an additional implementation law must be passed so the European Union and the International Monetary Fund release the next installment of Greece’s (euro) 110 billion ($156 billion) bailout loan.

Without that (euro) 12 billion ($17 billion) installment, Greece faces the prospect of a default next month – a potentially disastrous event that could drag down European banks and hurt other financially troubled European countries.

But even lawmakers from the governing Socialists have been upset over the latest measures and Prime Minister George Papandreou has struggled to contain an internal party revolt. He reshuffled his cabinet earlier this month to try to ensure his party’s support for this vote, but the Socialists still only have a 5-seat majority in the 300-member Parliament.

Papandreou urged lawmakers Monday to fulfill a “patriotic duty” by voting in favor of the new measures, but two of his own lawmakers have suggested they won’t.

European officials have also been pressuring Greece’s the main conservative opposition party to back the austerity bill.

“Both the future of the country and financial stability in Europe are at stake,” European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said. “I fully respect the prerogatives and the sovereignty of the Greek Parliament in the ongoing debate. And I trust that the Greek political leaders are fully aware of the responsibility that lies on their shoulders to avoid default.”

But conservative party leader Antonis Samaras has refused, arguing that while he backs some austerity measures, the overall thinking behind the package is flawed.

As well as looking to get the next batch of bailout funds, Greece looks like it will need another financial rescue.

The initial plan had assumed that Greece would be able to return to the markets next year.

That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen so Greece is looking for more money. Papandreou has said a second bailout would be roughly the same size as the first and hopefully on better terms.

“I call on Europe, for its part, to give Greece the time and the terms it needs to really pay off its debt, without strangling growth, and without strangling its citizens,” he said.

Even with the new austerity measures and a second bailout, many investors still think Greece is heading for some sort of default because its overall (euro) 340 debt burden is too great.”



Greece: General Strike and Clashes Over Attempts to Surround Parliment Called for by Syntagma Square Occupation
06/16/2011, 6:59 PM
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Notes On The Trial Of Simos Seisidis

From Anarchist News:

In the courtroom, a picture of a haloed Jesus hung above the five judges sitting behind the elevated bench. Two cameras hung above the judges, staring down at the spot where each witness would testify in front of a Bible. Simos Seisidis sat atop a little podium, surrounded by sub-machine gun wielding anti-terrorist police, one wearing a balaclava. He tapped his fingers against the desk he sat behind, played with a little a bottle, and knocked his microphone back and forth, generally looking bored, staring off into space. Rain was falling outside the courthouse as people began to testify on his behalf. This was to be the last day of the trial.

His mother told the court that her son was innocent and that, from a very young age, he had always been picked on by those with more power than him. A journalist told the court that Simos had been punished enough by having his foot stolen from him and that a concert organized on his behalf had drawn a wide variety of people from all classes in his support. While these testimonies went on, Simos smiled and joked with his friends in the court room who had not seen him in a long time.

Another friend of his testified that after the bank robbery Simos was alleged to have participated in she was followed by the police and eventually kidnapped by them. She was taken to the police headquarters, asked to identify Simos in pictures, and when she said she didn’t recognize him, the police said they would jail her boyfriend if she did not say the man in the pictures was Simos. She told the court that what happened to her happened to many other people. After she spoke, an old communist began to testify. He told the court that he had suffered repression during the dictatorship and that the same type of repression was still happening now in the new democracy.

During this testimony, Simos humorously asked to go the bathroom. He grabbed his two crutches and was escorted upstairs by the anti-terrorist police. When he returned, his sister’s husband was testifying, telling the judges that the police have a vendetta against his friend, that they rely on pressuring witnesses, and that when Simos was having his foot stolen from him, the police would not let anyone of his loved ones in to see him. People in the audience begin to yell when this is brought up, still enraged at what the State did to their friend.

And then it was Simos’ turn to speak. As he spoke, many people began to cry. I cannot translate all of what he said, but I am positive that he said this to the court that was judging him: “I expect nothing from the State. You are the State. I have nothing else to say.” With these words, Simos departed for the day.

After a short break, one of the judges began to read off the evidence against Simos. As she launched into her inquisitorial tirade, the sky grew extremely gray. All of a sudden, there was a flash of lightning, followed by thunder. Everyone in the court began to smile and laugh. When she was done, the defense told the court the reasons Simos was innocent. As he did so, the sky slowly began to lighten. After this, the judges retired to their chambers and everyone waited. When they returned, the verdict was announced: Innocent. Everyone jumped, cheered, and smiled. Even though Simos would still be in jail, the most serious danger was now past. Everyone left the courtroom. By this time the storm had passed and the friends of Simos were able to return home without being drenched in rain.




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