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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”.



clashes during the general strike in oakland
11/03/2011, 9:39 PM
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How could this be anything other than the elaboration of civil war?



broken
03/28/2011, 4:55 PM
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escalating anti-government riots in Egypt
01/29/2011, 4:04 PM
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The lack of attention to the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt is embarrassing,  though it has been difficult to find much footage and reporting which isn’t an enormously reductive representation of the situation. Because of the language barrier it’s difficult for us to know, but wherever government buildings and tanks are burning we can assume that more is happening than a mere protest.

Thus far people have set fire to government buildings, a police station, the ruling party HQ and converge on state TV offices. Intense rioting has continued for the last couple days.

An analysis posted to libcom: Insurrection In North Africa: The Story So Far



Athens: Report from the General Strike demonstration
12/15/2010, 6:32 PM
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From Occupied London:

“More than 100,000 people marched in central Athens today against the freshly-voted labour relations law and the austerity measures imposed by the government and the EU/IMF/ECB troika. One of the most mass demonstrations the city has seen in recent times was met by brute police violence; the police, nevertheless, proven unable to quell peoples’ anger. A former conservative minister, Kostis Hatzidakis, made the unfortunate decision to be present at Stadiou Street at the time of the demonstration and felt the anger of the demonstrators, quickly leaving the scene injured. Street-fighting erupted across the city, which saw chaotic scenes for hours. Barricades were erected across Patision Avenue, which leads to the Polytechnic School; waves of demonstrators arriving at Syntagma square, outside Parliament, fiercely fought with the police. An – eventually unsuccessful – attempt by demonstrators to occupy the building of GSEE (the country’s mainstream trade union) saw people fighting off the notorious Delta motorcycle police and two of their bikes were set ablaze.”

Earlier in the day:

At 16:00 (GMT+2) protesters in Athens were clashing with riot police in front of the Polytechnic, while barricades have been erected all along Patision st. and the sourounding Exarcheia. Thousand of people refuse to leave the streets and the squares of the city -after the more than 100,000 strong march, they  are regroupinhg all around the centre and clash with the police for most of the day. The atmosphere smells of tear gas while rubbish bins are in flames everywhere downtown.

Earlier the ministry of finance was attacked by the strikers while big clashes took place in front of the parliament in Syntagma square where the police lines were scattered under a rain of molotov cocktails at  about 13:30 (GMT+2). Police threw gas bombs on the main body of the demo, but the march continued with loud chanting, police attacked the demontsrators in front of the Athens University and Sina st.

A few thousands of strikers attempted to occupy the HQ of the national trade unions (GSEE). GSEE executives are controlled by the governing PASOK party and in practice support  the governmental measures while they have refused to represent the workers in any effective way. Strong police forces protected GSEE offices by the strikers, after clashes, the strikers returned towards Omonoia from 3rd Septmeber st.

Earlier the former minister Hastzidakis was seen near the parliament and was beatten up by strikers…

Back to the streets… and more news will follow”

http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2010/12/15/450-report-from-general-strike-demonstration-athens-16-12-2010/



pictures from anti-austerity measure riots in London

More here

And here

According to the New York Times:

“LONDON — Britain’s coalition government survived the most serious challenge yet to its austerity plans on Thursday when Parliament narrowly approved a sharp increase in college fees. But violent student protests in central London, including an attack on a car carrying Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, to the theater, provided a stark measure of growing public resistance.

The 62-year-old heir to the British throne and his 63-year-old wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, were said by palace officials to have been unharmed in the attack, which occurred when a group of about 50 protesters, some in full-face balaclavas and shouting “Tory scum!” and “It’s your government!” broke through a cordon of police officers on motorcycles while approaching London’s theater district in slow-speed traffic.

A photograph of the couple, in formal evening dress, showed them registering shock as protesters beat on the side of their armored, chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce with sticks and bottles, smashing a side window, denting a rear panel and splashing the car with white paint. A Jaguar tailing the car and carrying a palace security detail was so battered that the police ended up using its doors as shields.

Prime Minister David Cameron called the attack on the royal couple’s car “shocking and regrettable.”

Other violence across the city center continued into the night, with demonstrators trying to smash their way into the Treasury building at the heart of the Whitehall government district with makeshift rams made from steel crowd barriers, shouting “We want our money back!” The protesters set small fires and clashed with riot police officers and mounted units that formed cordons outside government buildings. BBC reporters at the scene wore helmets as the rioters threw shattered blocks of steel-reinforced concrete.

Scotland Yard said at mid-evening that at least 12 police officers were injured, six of them seriously, including one who was taken unconscious to the hospital after falling or being pulled off his horse. At that point, one large fire was still burning in front of the Palace of Westminster, seat of the House of Commons. At the height of the unrest, rioters threw snooker balls, lighted flares and fireworks at the police, and tried to topple statues in Westminster Square, across from the Commons. At least 43 were arrested.”



fires, strikes and rioting in France
10/18/2010, 11:46 PM
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Are France’s strikers heading for a showdown with the government?
10/18/2010, 11:39 PM
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From France 24:

“Monday’s French papers are all about the ongoing strike movement; they’re asking if there’s a division opening up between the unions’ grassroots and their base support, what alternative the Socialist Party is offering to the government’s widely hated reform plan, and what will happen after this week’s key vote?

The French papers today are of course dominated by the ongoing strikes and preparations for another major demonstration tomorrow.

Liberation says it’s a risky week both for the govt and the unions- they say a gap is opening up between the union leadership and their popular base- union leaders have accepted that pension reform is necessary and they aren’t ordering the current strikes from the top- instead many of the protests in the last week- the teenagers who blockaded their schools and the oil workers blocking refineries- have been spontaneous and organized from the bottom up.

The paper says we can expect more of this sort of spontaneous protest during this decisive week and the movement may be taking on a more and more radical character which is difficult for the union leadership to control.
The paper’s editorial says this grassroots determination has changed the situation completely- and made it much more potentially explosive.

They say the split emerging between union elites and the people means this week will be a painful one for union leaders.

Communist paper l’Humanité is in much more fighting spirit.

The paper says there’s a consensus among French people of almost all political persuasions that the strikers are right- they say the movement on the streets is continuing to build and build, with 3 million taking to the streets to protest on Saturday- that figure is rather lower in the more right wing papers of course.

But l’Humanité says that war of numbers no longer matters- because the momentum is on the protesters side and the government will have to back down.

Free newspaper Metro says on its front page that it’s playing the fuel shortage card that has really changed things for unions- they highlight that lorry drivers have now joined the movement and are threatening to blockade refineries and fuel shortages- which could of course cause a national shortage and that really worries the government.

The fuel shortage has the regional press worried as well- Les Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace, a local paper in the east of France, says petrol stations across their region are running out of stock.

The key thing about a petrol shortage is that although strikes are common in France, they often only affect people in big cities- because they depend on public transport- but nationwide fuel shortages mean the strikes hit hard across the country.

Right wing newspaper Le Figaro, as you might expect, doesn’t portray the unions as quite that strong- their front page says splits are opening up between the different unions- there are half a dozen major unions involved in this protest movement and the paper points out some of them are taking a much tougher line than others.

They say that once the reform has been voted through the Senate- which is due to happen on Friday- that will lead the protests into a tough new phase for unions because the leadership will go along with that decision whereas more radical elements will want to keep protesting- unlike the other papers le Figaro concludes that after the vote the protest will probably peter out.

The paper has also investigated the ongoing strikes at the port of Marseille- dockers there have been on strike for nearly a month- the paper says years of industrial unrest at the port have led it to fall from being Europe’s second biggest commercial port to the fourth biggest.

Now, le Figaro claims, the port has lost 30 million euros worth of business in the last three weeks due to stoppages- and three jobs are being lost every day.”



Police targeted in fire at new Olympia City Hall
07/10/2010, 3:55 PM
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From Olympia media:

“OLYMPIA – An apparent anti-police arsonist entered the new City Hall, used some kind of chemical accelerant and set fire to a stack of construction materials, causing an undetermined amount of damage and setting back a $35.6 million project that had been on schedule.

Firefighters were called to the four-story building under construction in the 600 block of Fourth Avenue East at 5:34 a.m. Thursday. They put the fire out within minutes, but the damage was done. The fire, though confined to one room, spread smoke through the building, blackening new drywall. It also melted wiring on the first and second floors.

It’s unclear when the fire was started, but it was after workers had quit for the day on Wednesday.

The fire was set in what will become the police department’s squad room, said Rick Dougherty, project manager for the new City Hall.

“(Expletive) PIGS” was spraypainted in red on one of the walls outside the room where the fire started.

“To think it was caused by someone deliberately is really disappointing,” City Manager Steve Hall said. “We don’t know a whole lot yet about how it started … or when.”

No one at the scene was injured. Police were investigating the fire as suspicious.

Construction workers arriving on the job Thursday morning discovered the blaze and called 911. The Olympia Fire Department was dispatched at 5:34 a.m. and arrived at 5:37 a.m. The fire was reported out at 5:49 a.m.

An estimate of the damage probably won’t be ready until today, Dougherty said. Investigators were expected to be on the site Thursday from insurance companies for both the city and the contractor, Hoffman Construction.

Dougherty said he didn’t want to speculate about how long the fire would set the project back. No work was done on the site while fire and police departments investigated. City employees were expected to move into the new City Hall at the beginning of next year.

Dougherty said it was the second attempt in two days to set a part of the site ablaze. On Wednesday, a Hoffman employee discovered that someone had tried to set fire to a construction trailer where the company has makeshift offices. The small fire singed the corner of the trailer but did no significant damage.

Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad said police had been made aware of that fire, and had stepped up patrols Wednesday night in the area. He said police would remain on alert. Private security and surveillance cameras may be brought in, he said.

Such anti-police sentiments are not uncommon among vandals.

“We get a lot of anti-police graffiti,” Bjornstad said.

Dougherty said that there have been minor incidents of vandalism at the site before — some construction signs tagged or stolen. But nothing serious.

“It’s a rough neighborhood,” he said. The new City Hall is being built there, in part, to change that, he said.

The fire won’t affect plans for street improvements around the building, Dougherty said. The right-turn-only lane on Fourth Avenue to Plum Street will remain closed from Jefferson Street to just past the Chestnut Street intersection. Parking on the south side of Fourth Avenue between Jefferson Street and Plum Street will be restricted.

By Thursday afternoon, police still had no suspects, Bjornstad said.

“I think our best hope is a tip of some kind,” he said.”



Black-clad protesters clash with G20 police (in Canada)

From Calgary CTV:

“A group of black-clad protesters has raged through downtown Toronto, smashing windows, vandalizing businesses and burning at least two police cruisers in the heart of the city.

The riots have forced officials to shut down downtown subway stations and close off main streets from traffic.

Only a few blocks from the mayhem, G20 leaders are meeting at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

For more than five hours, much of the city’s core has been in a virtual lockdown as heavily armed police periodically clash with protesters.

The violence escalated after a splinter group broke away from a large and peaceful group of protesters who marched ahead of the high-level meetings.

A concert at the Air Canada Centre has been postponed, hospitals in the downtown core have been locked down and the Eaton Centre was also closed.

Toronto Mayor David Miller said at a news conference that the so-called anarchists are simply criminals who are determined to cause as much destruction as possible.

“It was a deliberate act by people who make it their business to commit these acts,” he said.

“Am I angry? Absolutely.”

Miller spoke to reporters at about 6 p.m. local time, nearly five hours after the protest erupted into violence.

Earlier, the black-clad protesters smashed up a police cruiser and smashed its windshield along Queen Street, as other demonstrators hurled bottles and sticks at a solid line of riot police.

As police donned gas masks and mounted units rode into the city’s core on horses, the violent protesters lit garbage on fire and tipped over recycling containers. They also smashed vehicles in and grabbed stones from nearby homes.

News media vehicles were also targeted and vandalized.

Initially, there were reports that police had fired tear gas. However, police said later that no officers had deployed any gas.

Earlier on Queen Street, next to the MuchMusic building, the violent protesters attempted to break southward through a tight line of riot police.

As some in the crowd pelted police with water bottles, officers hit back and pushed the group northward, away from the downtown core.

Three protesters involved in the confrontation suffered injuries. According to reports from the scene, some were bleeding from the head.

Moments later, another standoff occurred a few blocks west, where protesters reportedly tossed sticks at police and chanted “let us go.”

Earlier, thousands of demonstrators gathered at the Ontario legislature Saturday morning to hear speeches.

While protest organizers promised a family-friendly demonstration, a splinter group calling itself the “Get off the Fence contingent” has announced plans to break away from the main group and challenge the heavy security cordon around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where the G20 summit will begin Saturday afternoon.

In a news release, the splinter group said it plans to continue on to the summit site “to confront the self-proclaimed G20 leaders and the security apparatus that will have occupied our city. We will take back our city from these exploitative profiteers, and in the streets we will be uncontrollable.”

The news release uses the word “militant” a number of times to describe the planned demonstration.

Around 1 p.m., two protesters were arrested near the downtown core and allegedly found with an “incendiary device.” Unconfirmed reports from the scene said the pair was carrying Molotov cocktails.”





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