Home | Friday 13th May 2011 | Issue 771
GREECE NOT LIGHTENING
The anti-austerity fightback continued in Greece this week as a 24-hour strike called by the unions ended in violence on the streets. The strike was called in response to the government’s new attempt at an austerity package designed to reduce the budget deficit, and ended in violent chaos.
The action on Wednesday (11th) was the latest episode after a months of riots (see SchNEWS 752), with multiple clashes between cops and an up-for-it public, sick of bearing the brunt of some of the toughest austerity measures in Europe, coupled with police brutality and oppression.
Apart from Athens, where five separate marches were making tracks in the city’s suburbs, demonstrations took place in another thirteen major cities. Tens of thousands took to the streets in Athens alone.
There was a news blackout. Greek Indymedia was down for 24 hours; the Government had forced the site to shut down due to fears of incitement. The site has been under constant close scrutiny by the authorities for some time.
Dozens were injured. At least 3 protesters have undergone medical operations. Yiannis K, a 30-year-old attacked by police in Athens remains in a critical condition with two serious head injuries, and is still in a medically induced coma. He was assaulted by police whilst in a block, the attack unprovoked. The cops threw gas and stun grenades into the crowd whilst striking people with their batons. According to medical reports he was battered with an object that was not a police baton; sources from Greek Indymedia state it may have been a fire extinguisher. A statement was issued by Nikaia Hospital condemning police brutality and the Greek Government, bearing witness to the scores of citizens assaulted after justifiably reacting.
Villa Amalias, an anarchist squat in Athens, was attacked by police around 8pm local time. Events began to unfold when people in the squat realised there was a group of neo-nazis (40 strong) assailing migrants near by. They left the squat to aid the people being attacked. Clashes ensued and when police appeared they attempted to push the anarchists back to the Villa. In the early hours of Thursday(12th) a Bangladeshi migrant was assassinated. Mainstream media claim this was a fascist attack, at time of print this remains unconfirmed. One Pakistani family then had their house fire-bombed.
More fierce collisions - between antifascists and migrants on one side, and fascists and riot police on the other - then exploded across the capital on Thursday. There was another attempt by Nazis to strike Villa Amalias, but it was successfully defended. The riot police used tear gas to help the Nazis escape. As the Greek state is tightening its leash, ripple effects are hitting society and claiming innocent victims due to social problems created by the Government’s measures.
Emergency anarchist assemblies were called for 6pm on the day of the General Strike to discuss police attacks and possible actions. Protesters occupied the University of Athens on Thursday morning and erected loudspeakers on the University square to inform people about police brutality and call for anti-police demonstrations. The building is to be a centre of information and a base of operations for counter actions.
* There is a call out for solidarity action outside of Greece to take place between 13th-15th May.