Accueil > Nouvelles du monde > An updated short presentation of the recent riots in Athens and Thessaloniki …

An updated short presentation of the recent riots in Athens and Thessaloniki …

…through the eyes of some proletarian participants
This is a  text about the recent events in Greece. It’s an update of this one


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PART I: Summary of the events in Athens

Shooting by police on Saturday 6th of December has triggered off in cities all over Greece the fiercest riots in decades. What follows is a first -and incomplete- presentation of the recent riots in Athens based on our own experiences and on what we have heard of. On the one hand, the fierceness of the riots and the determination of the rioters and looters and on the other hand, the unfolding strategy of the state certainly need more time and closer attention to be adequately estimated, something that we are honestly not in the position to do at the moment, because we still participate in several local activities, demos and assemblies.

Saturday, 6th of December

At about 9.10pm, a police special guard shot dead a 15-year-old boy, Alexis-Andreas Grigoropoulos, in cold blood, in a quite usual bickering near Exarhia Square. Immediately after that, lots of people -mainly anti-authoritarians- gathered in the area to find out what’s going on and to express their rage against police brutality. Hundreds of policemen attempted to seal the area in order to suppress any reactions, but with no result. Spontaneously, people started to attack the police in the streets around the square with every means possible. In less than two hours, more than 10,000 people had taken to the nearby streets to communicate the event and clash with the police. Some anarchist groups occupied the historical building of the National Technical University, which lies a few blocks away, and the Faculty of Economics, which is situated 1km away to use them as centres of struggle. The same was done by leftists at the Faculty of Law, less than 1km from the point where the murder took place. At this district, clashes with the police and attacks against banks and stores lasted until 4am, as far as we have witnessed.

The news concerning the murder spread rapidly to many people through mobile phones and the internet. As a result, about 150 people, who already were at Monastiraki Square, spontaneously attacked and looted almost all the stores at Ermou Street, the world’s 11th most posh street. There, lots of passers by joined in from nearby pubs and clubs. In the centre of Athens that night, some people attacked the police station near Acropolis causing severe damage.

It has to be noted that the news concerning the murder of the young boy immediately spread to several cities (Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Irakleio, Volos) where attacks against banks, police stations and stores also took place.

Sunday, 7th of December

The Faculty of Law squat called for a demonstration at 2pm outside the Archaeological Museum which is right next to the also squatted historical building of the National Technical University in Patission Avenue. Many people gathered and at about 3.30pm the demo towards the Athens Police Headquarters begins. We already knew that the police would never let us approach their Headquarters, but we were determined to arrive as close as we could. Bank-smashing and stone-throwing against the cops started immediately after we had left the square. As we turned right to Alexandras Avenue standing at the end of the demo, we realized that the participants amounted to approximately 4.000 people, of all ages. There were attacks against every store in sight, mainly luxury car shows and banks. At the beginning, police stood at a safe distance from the rioters and didn’t let themselves become a target. Then, as they came closer, the rioters attacked them mainly with stones. The police made a first attempt to break the demo with teargas near Argentina Square, but with no result. After ten minutes, at the corner with Ippokratous street, they made a second fiercer attempt with lots of teargas which finally proved successful: the demo broke into several parts and its main parts headed to the right towards Neapoli. Attacks against stores and banks kept going on, also accompanied by car-smashing. Lots of people chose to keep on marching towards Police Headquarters by a parallel street, but after some time it became clear that there was no way through: a small street perpendicular to Alexandras Avenue is the spot that the already famous photo with the gun-holding riot policeman was taken. Tension was high. We decided to move back and return to Exarhia Square to see what was to be done next. At the way back, clashes with the police were still taking place but to a lesser extent. Some people attacked the 5th police station which is located nearby and the police responded with plastic bullets.

Later in the evening, there began clashes with the police again -and to a lesser extent attacks against stores- around the National Technical University and the Faculty of Economics, which would last until late at night.

Monday, 8th of December

In the morning, youths from several high schools gathered spontaneously in front of the Police Headquarters to protest. Many youths from the northern, east and western suburbs moved to the city centre making a spontaneous demo. Youths from the schools of Pireaus (a port at the south-west part of the city) attacked the central police station overturning police cars.

At 6pm, the Faculty of Law squat called for a demonstration at Propylaia, a central Square of Athens. Our estimation is that more than 20.000 people, mainly young people, participated in that demo. Lots of them, maybe more than 1.500, were walking « in and out » of the demo smashing banks and destroying the luxurious shops of the city centre. They started to destroy or loot the commodities almost from the first moment of the demo. The youths destroyed banks at Omonoia square and attacked more than half of the shops of Stadiou Avenue and Filel

linon Avenue. Also, severe looting took place at the shops in the first blocks of Piraeus Avenue. People were walking slowly and nobody really tried to stop neither the attacks nor the looting. Some even stood by and cheered the attacking youths. At the same time, youths were also attacking the cops, the banks and the shops in various parts of the city all the way down to Syggrou Avenue, a street leading to the south of Athens. Up until now, the real extent of the damage caused to private property that night has not been estimated. The media says it amounts to 10 billion euros, which could be true since dozens of stores were attacked, looted or burnt down mainly by greek and immigrant « uncontrollable youths ».

Although one could say that the greek youths (students and precarious workers) had the initiative and the immigrants followed by, we have to admit that it was very difficult to distinguish the one from the other in the streets. As far as immigrants are concerned, Albanians of second generation participated mostly in the attacks against cops and buildings and immigrants of other origin -mostlyAfghans and Africans- confined themselves to looting. Riots and looting covered approximately half of the city centre. Although the police made several arrests that evening, it would be untrue to say that they could even think of controlling the situation, because there were so many people in the streets, acting in small groups of ten or twenty people.

Tuesday, 9th of December

Teachers of primary and secondary education went on strike that day against police brutality. At noon, the demonstration began from Propylaia Square and headed towards the Parliament, but there were no more than 3.000 participants. After the end of the demo, and despite the fact that they were small in number, 150 youths hurled firebombs, rocks and other objects at riot police.

The so-called Communist Party (KKE), scared by the prospect of a generalized riot, showed once more its counter-revolutionary, reactionary nature. They declared the rioters and looters as secret agents of ‘foreign dark forces’ and called the ‘people’s movement’, an imaginary subject of which they are supposedly the rightful representatives, to stay away from the fight. History repeats itself: this party for the last 35 years has been chanting the same, monotonous and dangerous mantra about ‘provocateurs’; in 1973 they had done the same against the students and workers who had occupied the National Technical University; a riot that had led to the overthrow of the dictatorship. Once again, they are trying to save the state and restore public order.

At 3pm the funeral of the dead boy took place in the cemetery of Palaio Faliro, a suburb in the south of Athens. More than 5.000 gathered there to bid Alex the last goodbye and to shout once more against police murders. During the funeral, about 200 young people were involved in attacks against the riot police, who stood a few blocks nearby. This confrontation lasted for more than an hour, in the course of which some stores and banks were attacked; stones were also thrown against a police car. After an hour, young people headed towards the Palaio Faliro police station, but the police stopped them a few blocks away. During this riot, three police motor bikers shot more than ten times in the air to « scare » the rioters.

During the night, fascists appeared in the streets around the National Technical University and the Faculty of Economics where fierce clashes with the police were taking place. At Victoria Square, immigrants attacked the police and tried to loot 3 stores, but undercover police and « civilians » brutally arrested one of them. Generally speaking, this was the day that the state unofficially pushed forward the so called « social automation » and encouraged the collaboration between shop owners, fascists, « civilians » and the police against the rioters.

Wednesday, 10th of December

This day was a day of general strike, and its aim had been predetermined over a month ago: it was mainly « against the state budget 2009 ». Due to the ongoing riots, the chief unionists spoke against police brutality, separating at the same time the « rioters » from the « responsible quiet demonstrators ». More than 7.000 people attended the gathering at Syntagma Square. Some protesters threw fire bombs at police during a general strike which paralyzed Greece and piled pressure on a doddering government.

Small scale riots took place at Panepistimiou Avenue. After the demo, many people attended the assembies at the National Technical University and the Faculty of Law to talk about what is going to be done in the next days. Later on, there was a big assembly of the anti-authoritarian milieu at the Faculty of Economics. Earlier in the morning, high school students attacked the local police station in the suburb of Kaisariani. At night, clashes with the police took place at Tritis Septemvriou Avenue, in the center of Athens.

The riots have spread to some 42 prefectures of Greece, even in towns where not even demos had taken place before. The pattern is the same: mainly students and young people attack police stations, banks, stores and state buildings. They gather spontaneously, after communicating with each other over mobile phones. Anarchists and politicos are just a small part of the rioters and in many cases they are taken aback by the fierceness, the spreading and the duration of the riots.

It is mostly in Athens and Irakleio (Crete) that a big part of the rioters are immigrants and so this riot can be rightfully called a multinational one, the first of this kind in Greece. Against this totally new situation, the media have tried to change their propaganda and talk of ‘greek protesters’ and ‘foreign looters’, in an effort to flare  up racism.

Up until now, about half of the arrested people in Athens are immigrants and the main charge against them is looting. The vast majority of the arrested throughout the country is young people.

Thursday, 11th of December

On Thursday, high school students abandoned their schools and gathered outside police stations all over Athens. Some of them were attacked with rubbish bags and stones and the police threw tear gas and in some cases  …stones back. All in all 35 police stations were blockaded in Athens and at some places other people participated as well, mostly parents. The entrance of the prison in Korydallos was also attacked by students.

The media said that 4500 tear gas canisters have been used by the police these 5 days. They are running out of tear gas and think of importing some from Israel!

In the morning a group of libertarians occupied the Town Hall in Agios Demetrios, a suburb in the south of Athens. A lot of people from the neighborhood participated in the evening assembly and the municipal workers who supported the occupation issued a communique which can be found in the appendix of this chronology. The Town Hall has been used since then as a gathering place and a counter-information centre.

In several universities assemblies took place and university occupations spread. Militants from the student organization of the Communist Party (PKS) tried to block assemblies in order to prevent the occupations (Panteion University, School of Philosophy in the University of Athens). Their attempts were unsuccessful as occupations expanded throughout Athens and Greece.

Early in the evening there was a big demo (maybe 5000) in the centre of Athens called by an assembly of mainly leftist trade unionists and organizations who gather at the occupied Faculty of Law. At the end of the demo there started clashes with the police in the centre of the city and around the occupied Faculty of Law which lasted for some hours.

In Komotini, a town in the eastern-north, near Turkey, a demo of mostly university students was attacked and chased into the university by many fascists and far right thugs who infest the area to protect …national security.

There is a general feeling of hostility towards cops and fedding up with everything. Police brutality in an increasingly police state after the 2004 Olympics, lousy wages and working conditions, high school student overwork and pressure, university students’ discontent with a life that is increasingly characterized by insecurity and fear, government and church high officials’ corruption, immigrants’ overexploitation and a society torn apart by deepening class divisions: a explosive mixture where the murder of the kid was just the fuse.

The publication of extracts from the testimony of the cop who murdered the kid caused general outrage. He ‘accused’ the student of having ‘deviant behaviour’ because ‘he was expelled from the private school he was attending‘ (which is a lie, to say the least). His lawyer, a notorious TV celebrity, made an even more provocative statement: ‘It is now only up to the Greek justice to decide whether the young boy was justly killed, or not‘. The ballistic examination report was expected today. « Leaks » in the media the previous days have been suggesting that the report will claim Alexandros was killed by a ricochet and not a direct shot (which is against what every single eye witness says). However, such provocations are at least answered in the streets. Among other things, new imaginative slogans are invented every day: ‘We did not throw stones; they were ricocheted’, ‘The right thing is for the lawyer to be killed by ricochet’.

Friday, 12th of December

Seven hundred high schools and one hundred universities are occupied and their number is expected to jump up. A big student demo was called in Athens (10,000 or more). Students and other demonstrators attacked the police and some banks were smashed. During the demo two hundred anarchists trashed the lawyer’s office. The riot cops arrested several students (some of them are 13-14 years old).

Saturday, 13th of December

A sit-in was organized in Syntagma Square at noon by the coordinating committee of student university occupations as well as by political groups. More than 1,000 people of all ages participated: university students, high school students as well as workers. The sit-in went on until the end of the night. After midnight the police attacked the peaceful protest with tear gas and dispersed the gathered crowd. Protests and demos were also organized in suburbs around Athens: Nea Smirni, Peristeri, Zografou.

In the evening the Ministry of Environment and Public Works in Patission street was attacked by a crowd of two hundred people. At 9 o’ clock about a thousand of people gathered in Exarhia to protest against the murder of Alexis-Andreas Grigoropoulos near the spot he was murdered. Some people attacked the local police station whereas others clashed with the riot police. There was a demo heading for Monastiraki and Gazi, neighborhoods where many people go clubbing on Saturday night. The demo was attacked by the police and few people managed to continue. The conflicts went on in Exarhia but the attacks of the police forced the people to disperse into various directions. A large part of the crowd was pushed into the premises of National Technical University. Riots continued in the streets around National Technical University during the night.

People who managed to follow the demo passed from Monastiraki, Thisseio, Gazi and then they tried to return to the centre marching on Piraeus street. Some banks and surveillance cameras were attacked by the demonstrators. The police attacked again the demo near Omonia square and there were more than 50 arrests. The arrested people were let free without any charges.

During the day several banks were attacked throughout Athens.

Sunday, 14th of December

There were demos in several suburbs in Athens as well as in many cities and towns in Greece (Thessaloniki, Corfu, Volos, Xanthi etc). Earlier in the night, a peaceful demo at Syntagma square called by bloggers was dispersed by the riot police with tear-gas.

In the central square of Nea Smirni, a south-eastern suburb of Athens, a deserted big café called « Galaxias » owned by the municipality was occupied at noon by about a hundred people (antiauthoritarians, members of a municipal party and several residents) in order to be used as a counter-information and action coordination center. The occupation of public buildings is a new form of struggle coming out of the riots. As we saw, it initially appeared in the suburb of Agios Demetrios, with the occupation of the town hall. The occupation of « Galaxias » adopted the name « Eleftheros Galaxias » (which means « Free Galaxy ») and calls for an open neighborhood assembly later in the afternoon. During the day four radio stations were occupied. The radio stations were used for broadcasting statements and communiqués that called for the generalization of the insurrection.

In the afternoon, the Residents’ Committee in Exarhia called for a rally at the spot where the murder of Alexis took place. In spite of the rain, a significant number of people participated and discussed about the events in an open air assembly. When the riot police appeared, the people kicked them away by shouting and insulting them.

The mayor of Athens announced that the new Christmas tree in Syntagma square will be erected on Wednesday since the previous one was flared up by Molotov cocktails in the night of 8th of December. For the state, this tree symbolizes the consumerist spirit and the return to normality while for the insurgents its burning down means that the riot is still going on. Several attempts to set it on fire again have been taking place during demos so far.

Monday, 15th of December

At 5 a.m., the occupation of the old town hall of Halandri, a north-eastern suburb of Athens, was attacked by a handful of villains who allegedly had mafia connections with local shop owners. One of them forced the protesters to leave the building threatening them with a shotgun and a baseball bat. Nevertheless, the people managed to reoccupy the building after two hours.

In Agios Demetrios the popular assembly of the occupation tried to cooperate with the municipal clerical workers in order to restart some municipal services without the mediation of the municipal authorities. The plan was to satisfy only urgent social needs, such as issuing green cards for the immigrants as well as paying wages and extra allowances. The mayor and the municipal council intimidated the workers trying to prevent them from providing these services.

In the morning about a hundred high school students and a few workers and militants gathered outside the courts in Evelpidon street to express their solidarity towards those arrested during the clashes with the riot police the previous week. The youths entered the courts marching, bypassing the controls. At the same time a demo was organized in the suburb of Korydallos by more than a thousand youths from nearby schools. The youths headed for Korydallos prison (the biggest prison of the country) and attacked the police with rocks and firebombs. Elsewhere, in Pagrati district, high schools students demonstrated outside the police station. At noon, more than a thousand youths from local schools gathered outside the Police Headquarters in Alexandras Avenue and attacked the police with eggs, flour and rocks. Two students got arrested after being badly hit.

In the afternoon about 150 demonstrators participated in a musical demo at Propylaia square. The demonstrators blocked Panepistimiou Avenue while singing and dancing but faced a fierce attack by the special police forces. At the same time about 100 people made an intervention in the underground metro station of Propylaia. Leaflets were distributed expressing a critique of the capitalist circulation of the labour power commodity, calling for free transport for all and promoting the violation of zero tolerance policies inside metro stations. The intervention ended with a sabotage of all the vending machines, the writing of slogans on the walls of this sterilized environment and the spray-painting of surveillance cameras. Special police forces entered into the metro station and the merry participants attacked them verbally and made fun of them from the top of the stairs at the entrance of the station. At the same time, the same action took place in the metro station of Dafni organised by the popular assembly of the occupied Town Hall of Agios Demetrios.

A huge banner was hung on the university building at Propylaia square depicting Kugias, the killer cop’s lawyer, with the slogan ‘Go ricochet yourself, you creep‘. Shortly after the intervention at the metro station, a demo called by the assembly of the occupation of the Faculty of Law started from this square. About 2,000 people participated in it heading for the Parliament and then they returned to Propylaia square.

In the suburb of Nea Filadelfia the municipal cultural centre was occupied in order to be used as a gathering place and a counter-information centre.

Occupations of municipal buildings and radio stations as well as university departments continued to spread throughout Athens and other cities.

On this day, 14 immigrant communities representatives issued a statement trying to keep their distances from the riots and the lootings in particular: ‘We are not looters, immigrants have public voice and dignity… We declare that the vast majority of immigrants are neither looters nor criminals’. Adopting a quite different stance, people from Athens’ Haunt of Albanian Migrants distributed a leaflet at the student picket outside the police headquarters in the morning, declaring their class share in the riots, ‘These days are ours, too‘. The whole text can be found at the appendix.

Tuesday, 16th of December

A group of 50 people managed to enter the studios of NET, the national, state-run television channel and interrupted the news bulletin of 3 pm for about 1 minute. The cameras were turned to the protesters who carried banners calling for « Immediate release of all the prisoners of the insurrection« , « Freedom for all » as well as urging spectators to « Stop watching TV and go out in the streets« . The group that organized this action issued a communiqué which can be found in the appendix of the chronology.

At noon, a group of about 70 militants attacked the central police station of Ilissia which also serves as the headquarters of a unit of the special police forces (YMET). A police van and four police vehicles were burnt and 2 policemen were injured.

In the afternoon, gatherings and demos were organized in the suburbs of Petralona, Dafni, Agios Demetrios with the participation of high school students, workers and other residents. Also, about a thousand people gathered in Exarhia and marched towards the local police station where they were stopped by strong police forces.

The occupation of the Town Hall of Agios Demetrios ended with a demo of about 300 people.

At another place of the city centre, an intervention was organized at the metro station of Victoria square in the afternoon. Vending machines were destroyed, slogans were written on the walls (« Let’s bring the insurrection underground » was one of them) and surveillance cameras were spray painted.

Wednesday, 17th of December

The central offices of the General Confederation of Labour of Greece (GSEE) which resides in the junction of Patission and Alexandras Avenues were occupied early in the morning by a group of about 70 workers. The aims of the occupation were described in the first communiqué of the occupation which can be found in the appendix. About 50 bureaucrats with their thugs tried to evict the squatters at around 3 pm but they were pushed back by the people with the help of squatters from the ASOEE occupation which is located nearby. An assembly was called at 6 in the evening and was attended by 800 people.

From the beginning it was obvious that there were two tendencies inside the occupation -no matter how clearly articulated: a workerist one, that wanted to use the occupation symbolically in order to criticize the trade unionist bureaucracy and promote the idea of an independent of political influences base unionism; and a proletarian one, that wanted to attack one more institution of capitalist society, criticize syndicalism and use the place for the construction of one more community of struggle in the context of the general unrest. The leftist trade unionists that were present in the assembly did not really know what to do with all these insurgent workers and left.

In the morning, university students hung two giant banners on the Acropolis rock with slogans calling for mass demonstrations on 18/12 across Europe and resistance. The workers in the archaeological site supported the action. In the previous days, the workers on the Acropolis were on strike because of a reduction of their wage due to a cut down of a special allowance. Later in the day the ministry promised to satisfy the demands of the strikers and the mobilization was suspended.

In the evening the occupation of the old Town Hall in Halandri organized a demonstration that headed for the police station. At least 400 people participated and attacked the police station with eggs, rocks, bottles etc; 30 minutes earlier, the same demo had thrown eggs and paint at the local Court of Justice. Another demo marched through the suburbs of Kesariani, Pangrati and Vironas. 300 people took part in it and headed for the police station where they engaged in short conflicts with the police. Then, the demo marched towards the Town Hall of Kesariani which was occupied for a few hours.

Sabotage of ticket vending machines and surveillance cameras was repeated in the evening at 5 metro stations: Attiki, Ano Patisia, Kato Patisia, Tavros and Monastiraki.

Another high school student was shot by unknown people at a youth meeting place in Peristeri, a western suburb of Athens. Fortunately, the student, whose father is a well known trade unionist and a member of the so-called Communist Party, was not injured seriously.

A bunch of professors (mainly teaching Law in greek universities) launched an Appeal to the Government and the Political Entities to take some measures against the ‘ills’ of the greek society stressing mostly the stricter use of the university asylum and the prosecution of the use of masks during demos. In this way, the intellectuals, although belated, tried to introduce the old Black Act in Greece in 2008 updating its meaning against insurgents.

Thursday, 18th of December

A demonstration began at noon from Propylaia square with the participation of high school students, university students, teachers and other workers. The base union of the couriers had called a one-day strike, whereas the union of the workers in bookstores and publishing houses had called a 5-hour work stoppage. The couriers formed their own block in the demo. Also the confederation of the unions of the public sector workers (ADEDY) had called a 5-hour work stoppage. This gave the opportunity to many workers to participate independently in the demo. The number of the demonstrators was very high. Some estimate it was around 20.000. When the demo reached the parliament, clashes with the riot police began. What the cops mainly did was to protect the newly erected Christmas tree at Syntagma square; they gathered around it, trying to prevent it from getting burned by molotov cocktails hurled at it. It was such a ludicrous spectacle to watch that hundreds of demonstrators stood there shouting and mocking them. The true Christmas spirit: the Christmas tree, (a plastic one, actually), the symbol of the happy consumerist protected by the forces of law and order. The clashes spread to Panepistimiou Avenue, Akadimias Avenue and Solonos Street until evening. Several people were arrested and among them a soldier who was passing by and was badly hit by the cops.

After a similar demo in the city of Patra the local Workers’ Centre was occupied by some demonstrators following the example of the occupation of GSEE.

An antiracist demo with a few hundred people was organized in the afternoon by immigrant and antiracist organizations. Some of those organizations were the ones that had denied the involvement of immigrants in riots and looting, thus demonstrating their role as capitalist mediators.

In the evening, members of the so-called Communist Youth organized a demo in Peristeri to protest against the attempt on the high school student’s life in the previous day. According to some reports, some high school students barracked the members of the Communist Youth.

A group of art students interrupted a classical music concert in Megaro Mousikis, the most important music hall in Greece, distributed leaflets criticizing the role of art and artists in relation with the recent events and chanted some slogans against the cops and the state.

Friday, 19th of December

The French Institute was attacked at noon by 40 people with firebombs and rocks. Slogans were spray-painted on the walls: « Spark in Athens, fire in Paris, insurrection is coming » and « Greece – France: Insurrection everywhere ». This action expressed solidarity with the activists who are accused of sabotaging the railways as well as with the high school mobilizations in France.

In the afternoon a solidarity concert was given in Propylaia square with the participation of hundreds of artists and more than 5,000 people.

At 18.00 a demo was organized in Egaleo, a suburb of Athens by the local anarchist group. More than 100 people participated in the demo which headed for the police station. The demonstrators attacked the police station and broke the windows and cameras of all the banks in their way. At the same place, there was also a demonstration organized by leftist groups which followed another route.

During the day permanent and temp workers, students and unemployed from the occupations of ASOEE and GSEE organized interventions in two call centres: MRB (which is a company organizing public opinion polls) and OTE (which is the national telecommunications company of Greece). The first intervention took place around noon and only a few people participated because of the big distance of the site from the city centre. In the second intervention around 60 people participated and blocked the work process for a few minutes. The temp workers in the call centre responded to the action in a positive way.

At this point 800 high schools were under occupation according to the Secondary School Teachers’ Union (OLME).

Around one hundred people interrupted the premiere of the National Theatre in Athens late in the evening. They took the stage and held out a banner reading ‘Everyone to the streets. Immediate release of all the arrested during the revolt‘. The text distributed to the audience and actors read, among other things: ‘now that you’ve deactivated your mobile phones, it’s about time you activated your consciousness’.

Saturday, 20th of December

During the day 3 radio stations were occupied. In the afternoon, demonstrations were organized in many suburbs and neighborhoods of Athens: Gyzi, Peristeri, Halandri, Vironas, Petralona, Nea Smirni. The demonstrations were organized either by local occupations or by local anti-authoritarian and leftist groups. This mobilization took place after a call for an international day of action by the occupations of ASOEE and National Technical University of Athens. Hundreds of people participated in the demonstrations.

Later, a department store in Agios Panteleimonas, a poor neighborhood of Athens where many immigrants live, was looted by a group of militants.

In the evening, the building of Teiresias, an inter-banking company which « processes data that reflect the economic behavior of individuals and companies » was attacked and burnt down.

Later, more than a thousand people gathered in the streets around Exarhia square commemorating the murder of Alexandros. Clashes began with the police forces but the crowd was dispersed and pushed back inside the premises of the National Technical University. The clashes continued around the National Technical University until early in the morning.

The financial department of the greek police force in Nea Filadelfeia was attacked with petrol bombs. Apart from damages to the building 7 cars were destroyed.

Sunday, 21st of December

At noon demonstrations took place in Kesariani-Pagrati (about 250 participants) and Ilion (about 100 participants). In Ilion, the demonstrators threw stones and broke the windows of 4 banks and 1 job centre (OAED).

The occupation of GSEE was terminated in the afternoon with a demo that headed for the National Technical University via Patission avenue. The initial plan for the course of the demo was to pass through nearby proletarian neighborhoods where many immigrants live. But this was changed since there were rumors that the police would violate the academic asylum and evacuate the National Technical University. The last meeting in GSEE, which was focused on the issue of solidarity with those insurgents that are imprisoned or under police persecution, decided to organize a demo on Wednesday 24th of December at 16.00, from Monastiraki square to Syntagma Square through Ermou street which is the most expensive commercial district in Greece.

About a hundred students from drama schools interrupted 15 theatre performances around Athens. The main slogans of the interventions were the following: « Insurrectionary new year, everybody to the streets », « It is not possible to kill our dreams ».

Monday, 22nd of December

The Town Hall of Peristeri was occupied at noon by about 100 people.

A mafia type gang attacked a migrant cleaner, K. Kuneva, 44, the secretary of the cleaners’ union, as she was returning home from work late in the evening. They used sulphuric acid to burn her face. As a consequence she lost one eye and has been kept in the intensive care ward hospital in critical situation until now suffering serious sight and respiratory system problems. K. Kuneva, was working at one of ISAP’s (the Athens-Piraeus Electric Railway) subcontracting companies and she said that she was in constant conflict with her bosses and that lately she had been receiving anonymous threatening calls.

Tuesday, 23rd of December

Early in the morning, shots were fired at a riot police bus in Goudi without any injuries. A group calling itself ‘Popular Action’ claimed responsibility for the attack by phoning an online media centre, without leaving a leaflet explaining the reasons why, which is quite unusual as a practice. This, as well as the place from where the shots came (an occupied small building used as a meeting place for antiauthoritarian students) makes the whole case very suspicious. Shortly after, the Public Prosecutor gave the permission to the police to search the area, thus violating the university asylum.

5,000 people participated in the demo organized by the coordinating committees of the occupied universities and high schools. Before the demo began some demonstrators flipped over a police car but this action was not followed by further clashes during the demo.

Most of the participants in the occupation of the Law school decided to leave the building.

In Nea Filadelfia 200 people made a demonstration from the occupation of the municipal cultural centre to the local police station. The demonstrators threw eggs, paint and stones at the police station.

Wednesday, 24th of December

The occupation of ASOEE was terminated in the afternoon.

More than 1,500 people, mainly from the anti-authoritarian milieu, participated in the demonstration which was organized by the meeting that took place in the occupation of GSEE on Sunday in solidarity with the prosecuted insurgents. The demonstration started from Monastiraki square, passed through Ermou street, reached Syntagma square and then returned to Monastiraki square through Kolokotroni street. Some youths joined the demo which passed through the most commercial part of the city at a time when Christmas shopping was at its peak. The slogans of the demo called for a continuation of the insurrection against the Christmas shopping « spirit ». The occupation of the National Technical University was terminated at midnight.

Friday, 26 th of  December

About 150 people participated in a demo outside Evaggelismos hospital where K. Kuneva is kept. The slogans called for « resistance against bosses’ terrorism ».

Saturday, 27th of December

At noon, 300 people occupied the headquarters building of ISAP as a first response to the murderous attack on Konstantina Kuneva. The group that organized this action issued a communiqué which can be found in the appendix of the chronology.

At 4 pm an assembly took place which was called in order to organize solidarity actions with those insurgents that were imprisoned or are under prosecution. It was attended by 500 people. It was decided that on Sunday people would participate in the actions against the opening of shops. (In Greece shops are closed on Sunday, but the state tries to force a law against it. The previous day the government decided to open the shops « exceptionally » in the centre of Athens in order to compensate the damage the « shop-owners » suffered because of the violence of the insurrection). In the same assembly people also decided to hold a demo outside Korydallos prisons on New Year’s Eve, at 23:00, in order to express their solidarity to the imprisoned insurgents.

Sunday, 28th of December

At 9:30 am about 200 people gathered outside a big bookshop on Syntagma square and blocked the entrances. Some of them were members of the bookshop assistants’ union, but most of them were workers and students from the previous day’s solidarity assembly. A lot of the participants decided that they could block more shops and they marched on Ermou str. There, they split in groups of 10 to 20 people and they started blocking the entrances of some main shops of Ermou Str. (like we’ve said before, one of the most expensive commercial streets of Europe). The slogans shouted were: « Freedom to those who have to work », « They make us work on Sunday, they shoot us, and we live in a war every day ». As time was passing, a mass shopping crowd was flooding Ermou Street and it became somehow difficult to keep on blocking the access. It was interesting though that the shop bosses seemed to be afraid: they turned off the lights and waited patiently for the demonstrators to leave the place. Some left-wing people also participated in the blockings which were taking place at the same time in at least 3 other spots of the commercial centre of the city. 500 members of the so called Communist Party marched up and down the street, more interested in giving a media show than actually blocking the shops. At about 1:30 pm the blockers decided to leave the place marching towards a big bookshop in Exarhia (about 2km away). After making the boss close the shop, they left. Most of them went to the ISAP occupied building to participate in a demo from this building to Evaggelismos hospital where K. Kuneva is kept, thus putting an end to that particular occupation.

??nday, 29th of December

At 3pm, about 120 people gathered on the second floor of the commercial centre named « THE MALL ATHENS » -the biggest and most glamorous shopping centre of Attiki region- in Maroussi, a suburb 15km from the centre of Athens, and made a 30-minute demo inside the commercial centre. They were holding two banners, one claiming the immediate liberation of all the arrested insurgents and another one with the motto « I consume, therefore I am ». During the demo, which could be seen by everybody inside the building, some of the demonstrators hung another banner, on which there was written « work, consume, die », while others distributed leaflets to the hundreds of the people inside and outside the stores. After the demo was over, they occupied the info desk microphones and read their leaflets out. There were writings on the walls and the slogan « work, vote and shut up » was written near the main entrance. Finally, they left the centre playing football with the balls and ornaments of the Christmas tree just outside the main entrance.

In the afternoon, a demo organized by the solidarity to K. Kuneva assembly marched to the offices of the cleaning company (the owner of which is an ex-official of PASOK, one of the two major political parties in Greece) in Piraeus. They went there in order to protect another female worker from being fired. However, the boss had closed the offices and cops were outside guarding the place. The people attacked the police and made them run away, with four police officers taken injured to hospital.

Wednesday, 31st of December

At 23.30 a crowd of approximately 1,000 people gathered outside the prison of Athens which is located at the Korydallos suburb of Athens, demanding the immediate release of the rebels arrested during the uprising of December. The crowd shouted slogans such as « Freedom to all prisoners », « The passion for freedom is stronger than all the cells », « Neither common prisoners, nor political prisoners, let all prisons burn ». The inmates set blankets and sheets on fire and they waved them through the windows of the cells. At midnight the gathered crowd lit up fireworks and torches in order to « welcome » the coming of a smashing new year. Then, they marched to the female prison shouting slogans in solidarity with the inmates. Finally, they marched towards the central square of Korydallos assaulting verbally the police and they dispersed.

TPTG

1/1/2009

PART II: Summary of the events of the Greek riots in Thessaloniki from 6 December – 31 December 2008.

We present below a rough chronology of events that took place in Greece’s second largest city from Saturday 6th of December up until Wednesday 31st of December. During the first five days, when thousands of enraged proletarians got to the streets and set these cities of commodity on fire, we lived the peak of the recent upheaval, at least in Thessaloniki and other provincial cities and towns. During those days, we came across school kids, students, young (mainly, but not only) workers, unemployed, immigrant youngsters. Violent behaviors at streets and clashes were much lesser after December 11. An important thing about the upheaval in Thessaloniki, in contrast to Athens, is that although almost every university department was occupied by students, very few high schools were occupied, especially after the first week. For the most part, much lesser school kids participated in demonstrations and actions after the first five days of the upheaval. Immigrant youngsters only participated in the massive clashes, attacks and looting that had taken place from Sunday 7th until Tuesday 10th of December.

This short presentation cannot satisfy the need for an in-depth account of the recent unrest in Greece. It’s just a first attempt to inform comrades and proletarians abroad about the ongoing events from the perspective of people participating in them.

Saturday, 6th of December
Immediately after 15-year-old Alexis-Andreas Gregoropoulos was shot dead by police special guard in Athens, 300 people, mainly anarchist and leftist militants, gathered in Polytechnics School of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), which is located near the commercial and historical city centre. A spontaneous demonstration headed towards the police station at Aristotelous sq (the most touristic square of the city), where fights with cops took place. At the same time, there were people fighting riot police with stones and Molotov cocktails around Syntrivani sq, near AUTH. Clashes with cops continued throughout the night.

Sunday, 7th of December

A demonstration commenced from Kamara sq (located in the students’ quarter near AUTH) at 12 pm. 1500-2000 people (mainly high school kids and university students, young workers, antiauthoritarian and leftist militants) marched along the commercial streets of the city centre (Egnatia, Agias Sofias, Tsimiski), smashing bank and shop windows, heading to the police station at Aristotelous sq. There, many protesters attacked police with stones and some firebombs. A cop was set on fire. Police responded with tear gas. The demo continued along Ermou and Venizelou streets to the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace. Many stores and the city hall were smashed at Venizelou st. After reaching the Ministry, the demonstration headed along Agiou Dimitriou st to the police station of Ano Poli, where riot policemen were attacked again. While returning to Kamara sq, a supermarket was looted by youngsters. As the demo was ending, high school kids attempted to loot a bookstore and new clashes with riot police started.

Later in the evening, the Higher School of Drama and the offices of Thessaloniki’s Bar Association were occupied, the first by Drama students and anarchists and the second mainly by leftist students. Both these spots, located in the city centre, were going to be used as meeting points for people participating in the protests.

During the night, clashes with cops took place outside AUTH. A rioter was injured by a police rubber bullet. During the same night, the police station in the eastern district of Toumpa, the town hall of Agios Pavlos district and the party offices of Nea Demokratia (this is the government party in Greece) in 40 Ekklisies district were attacked.

Monday, 8th of December

At 10am, 400 high school kids demonstrated in Toumpa district and attacked the police station once again. Road blockades took place in other districts of the city as well. Meanwhile, 1500 high school kids erected barricades and clashed with riot police at Svolou and Ethnikis Amynis streets and Navarinou sq, in the students’ quarter of the city centre. Stores at Tsimiski and Venizelou streets were attacked, too. Nine university faculties were occupied by students. During the same morning the police station in the western district of Sykies was attacked, too.

A demonstration was called at 6.30 pm at Kamara sq. 6000 people marched in the city centre. There were high school and university students, some immigrant youngsters, hooligans, young workers, antiauthoritarian and leftist militants. A great number of banks and shops (mobile phone, electronics, clothing and fast food companies and jewelries) were destroyed, mainly at Tsimiski st, the city’s most commercial road, and Venizelou st. Some of the shops were looted too. Clashes with cops took place in front of the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace. Cops used a great amount of tear gases. Fights with cops continued around AUTH during the night.

Tuesday, 9th of December
This was the day when the funeral of Alexis took place in Palaio Faliro, Athens. Fresh general assemblies of students took place voting for the occupation of many university departments. Teachers of primary and secondary schools were on strike and there was a work stoppage after 12 pm for all public sector workers. A demonstration was called at 12 pm at Kamara Sq. 4000 people participated and headed towards the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace, where limited clashes with police took place. During Tuesday, prisoners all over Greece abstained from food, protesting against the murder of Alexis by cops and in solidarity to the ongoing revolt.

During the night there were some fights between youngsters and riot police in the university area. We have to mention that during these days many university departments were looted by school kids and immigrant youngsters coming from various suburbs. During the same night, fascists appeared near the university. The same happened in many cities all over Greece, especially in Patras, something that indicates that this was an organised government’s plan. In some cases, like in Larisa, fascists attacked rioters together with undercover cops and « angry shop owners ».

Wednesday, 10th of December

This was a day of general strike, called much earlier by the General Labour Confederation of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY) against the 2009 state budget. Due to the ongoing riots, the chief unionists announced on Tuesday that they would cancel the proclaimed demonstrations. In Thessaloniki, the local branches of GSEE and ADEDY tried to constrain strikers in a peaceful gathering in front of the city’s Trade Union Center. High school kids and university students appeared there determined to drag strikers in a demonstration and they succeeded. 4000 students and workers marched towards the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace. There, a few high school kids attacked the cops who responded with tear gases. Fights continued for half an hour in an area of 500m between the Ministry and the Trade Union Center. A few kids fought police, but many workers and students supported them by remaining in the place and insulting the cops. Finally, cops were compelled to draw back. After that, 500 people blockaded Egnatia st – a central avenue in the city centre – for more than an hour.

In the evening, high school kids clashed for a while with riot police at Ethnikis Amynis st. During the same evening, the occupation of Thessaloniki’s Bar Association offices ended.

Thursday, 11th of December
In early afternoon, 80 antiauthoritarian militants attacked the offices of the local Newspaper « Macedonia » at Monastiriou St.

A demo was called by the School of Drama occupation at 5 pm at Kamara Sq. 2000 people, mainly university students and antiauthoritarian militants and few high school kids, demonstrated peacefully towards the eastern heavily inhabited districts of the city, chanting and drawing on walls slogans against state repression. No clashes took place this day, as far as we know.

Friday, 12th of December

A demonstration, called by the School of Drama occupation, left Kamara sq at 6.30 pm. 1500-2000 people, mainly antiauthoritarian militants, students and young workers, headed to the western, working class districts of the city. Demonstrators crossed Neapoli and Sykies districts and returned to the School of Drama through the north-central district of Ano Poli. Despite the heavy rain, the demo lasted 3h, slogans against cops and the state or others calling for the immediate release of everyone arrested during last days were ceaselessly repeated and drawn on walls; many leaflets were handed out. Many local habitants applauded, while others joined the demo, a fact that manifests a wider sympathy with the insurrection even from proletarians that didn’t participate in riots or other actions. A political office of LAOS (far right-wing party) was attacked and set on fire; a political office of Nea Dimokratia was attacked too. This same evening, extra-parliamentary left militants demonstrated in nearby areas.

Saturday, 13th of December

In the afternoon, 500 people, mainly antiauthoritarian militants, gathered at Kamara sq. They constituted a block and headed to Aristotelous sq, where mostly extra-parliamentary left militants gathered after AUTH’s Coordination of General Assemblies and Occupations call for a demo. The two groups joined initially a common demonstration of 1000 people along Egnatia str. After a while, the two blocks split being a few meters apart from each other. They both marched along Nikis avenue, the coastal road of the city center, full of cafés and bars, where many banks’ surveillance cameras were smashed. Leftists headed to the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace while most people left the demo. This was the first demonstration after 7 days that had a rather political than social character.

Sunday, 14th of December

A motorbike demonstration commenced from the occupied School of Drama at 1 pm. It headed to the far western suburbs of the city -Stavroupoli, Evosmos, Eptalofos, Xirokrini- where many immigrants from Russia and Albania and low-waged workers live. Some of them joined the demo. When returning, demonstrators passed in front of the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace and the police station of Ano Poli and headed back to the School of Drama.

Another demonstration took place in the faraway south-eastern suburb of Peraia. 60 school kids and students marched to the police station and then to the town hall, where they placed a banner proclaiming: « Down with the government of killers and police ».

Monday, 15th of December

Early in the morning, an initiative of militants from the School of Drama occupation occupied the town hall of the western district of Sykies, in order to transform it into a local counter-information center and call for a local popular assembly. Popular assemblies in neighborhoods and occupations of state or municipal buildings emerged as a new form of struggle initially in

Athens, introduced by the occupation of the town hall in the suburb of Agios Demetrios, the occupation of the old town hall in Halandri northern suburb and the occupation of Galaxias in Nea Smirni suburb. During this week, this form of struggle spread to other districts and suburbs in Athens and many cities all over Greece.

During the day, local habitants passed by the occupied town hall of Sykies; some of them were sympathetic with the action, others just curious. In the evening, at least 200 people met there in a first popular assembly; mainly participants in the protests and riots of the previous days, but also local habitants sympathetic with the ongoing upheaval. The assembly decided to call for a local demonstration on Wednesday afternoon and organise local counter-information actions on Tuesday. This assembly continues to take place at the town hall till now.

During Monday, many general assemblies of students took place in AUTH, voting for occupying university departments against state repression. Most student assemblies also demanded government’s resignation and police’s disarmament. From what some students told us, general assemblies were massive, reminding the ones that had taken place during the 2006-2007 student movement. During this week, more students actively participated in the occupations, comparatively to last week, when the single meeting point for anyone had been the streets.

Tuesday, 16th of December

On Tuesday, the trial of 8 cops took place in Thessaloniki’s courthouse; they were accused for heavily beating Avgoustinos Demetriou, a student from Cyprus, in the 17th of November 2006, when in duty and undercover. Although found guilty and sentenced to 15-39 months of imprisonment, they were remanded on bail for 5 Euros a day. 150 people gathered outside the courthouse to protest against police. When the judgment on the case was pronounced, people attacked riot police guarding courthouse’s entrance with stones, eggs and empty bottles. Cops responded using tear gases and beating protesters.

At 7 pm a demonstration called by AUTH’s Coordination of General Assemblies and Occupations commenced from Kamara sq. Approximately 3000 people, for the most part university students, marched along the major streets of the city center and headed to the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace. During the demo, slogans and stencils were being drawn on shop windows and walls; militant students occupied for a while three radio stations, broadcasting statements and communiqués. No clashes took place, although cops were heavily insulted when seen.

During Tuesday, fresh general assemblies of students took place and more university departments were occupied. The occupied School of Cinematography, located in the western, working class Stavroupoli suburb, called for 7 days of popular screenings and open discussions in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, 17th of December

In the morning, a Carrefour supermarket in Stavroupoli suburb was looted by 50 militants. Goods were handed out in a neighboring open-air market.

At 2.30 pm a demonstration, called by the first popular assembly in the occupied town hall of Sykies, commenced from the former prison of Genti Koule and continued along the streets of Sykies district. Later in the evening, the second popular assembly took place in Sykies. Participants were much fewer than the previous time, mainly local habitants.

Meanwhile, the first popular assembly in Ano Poli district took place at 6 pm, with more than 200 people attending it, mostly young people (workers and students) who participated in the protests and riots of the previous days and many of whom live in this partly preserved and alternative city’s district, but also some other local habitants of various ages sympathetic with the ongoing unrest. The assembly was held in the building of the municipal library, which had in the past housed a social center evicted by cops a decade ago. Many people contributed to the discussion with accounts of the previous days’ events, while proposing that an essential demand to be claimed is the immediate release of everyone arrested. Counter-information gatherings were arranged for the next day. After the assembly had finished, 150 people participated in a spontaneous demo in the streets of Ano Poli, chanting and drawing slogans against cops, wage labour and the state.

During the same evening, militant students organized another popular assembly in the far western district of Ampelokipi, as far as we know.

Thursday, 18th of December

AUTH’s Coordination of General Assemblies and Occupations called for a demonstration at Kamara sq at 11am. Due to the heavy rain, only 300 militants gathered and headed to the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace.

In the evening, a music concert was organised at YMCA sq, next to Thessaloniki’s International Exhibition area, by the occupied School of Drama, with several alternative artists participating. 4000-5000 people of various ages were there. Many leaflets calling for solidarity to the arrested were handed out, while respective announcements were made through loudspeakers. This concert ended after midnight. Later at night, another music concert took place in the Polytechnics School called by AUTH’s Coordination of General Assemblies and Occupations.

Friday, 19th of December

The second popular assembly in Ano Poli took place in Koule Kafe sq, in front of the previously mentioned municipal library. 100-150 people participated; counter-information gatherings were arranged for the next day.

Saturday, 20th of December

Around 10 am, antiauthoritarian militants occupied Olympion cinema, city’s most luxurious cinema and home of the International Film Festival of Thessaloniki, at the heart of the city center. Official movie screenings gave place to militant movies and documentaries for the next of the day. Cinema’s café was used as a meeting place for occupants and passersby, with drinks consumed for free. Thousands of leaflets were handed out.  Nearby the occupied Olympion slogans were yelled and a box of candies was thrown to Thessaloniki’s mayor during a street charity event which was disrupted. A small police force came immediately in order to defend the ridiculed mayor. At 6 pm, 400-500 people gathered in an open assembly that took place in the ‘Liberated Olympion Cinema’. Many accounts of the recent unrest and proposals for the future were discussed. Late in the evening the occupation ended with a demonstration of 1000-1500 people along Nikis avenue and Ethnikis Aminis str. Cops guarding the Christmas tree were attacked with paints; surveillance cameras were destroyed.

Sunday, 21st of December

The third popular assembly took place in Ano Poli. Approximately 100 people occupied temporarily the church of Taksiarches, where they proposed and discussed actions for the next day. A priest threatened to exorcise attendants! This church’s occupation constituted a major scandal for conservative parts of the local society. The next day, a dozen of undercover cops guarded Taksiarches church, while riot police guarded another famous church in Ano Poli district.

Monday, 22nd of December

Early in the morning, the municipal library of Ano Poli was occupied in order to house the popular assemblies and be used as a counter-information center. During the morning, leaflets were distributed by occupants in the streets and high schools of Ano Poli. The fourth popular assembly took place in the evening. Besides organising actions for the next day, a major theme of the assembly was the idea of calling for actions in the city center during Christmas promoting that « this year we don’t celebrate Christmas, we riot ».

Tuesday, 23rd of December

At 6.30, a local demonstration, called by the occupied municipal library, took place along major streets of Ano Poli district, with 100 militants from the antiauthoritarian milieu participating. Many leaflets calling for the immediate release of the arrested and denouncing Christmas celebrations were handed out to workers in shops, habitants and passers by. After the demo, the occupation of the municipal library ended against the background of the shrinking social unrest. This fact made impossible to organise any protests or other actions during Christmas, as well.

Retour à la normale?

So far so good. Life in the city of Thessaloniki seems to return back to normality. Though, a few meetings of militants continue to take place, as in the occupied School of Drama, in the eastern suburb of Kalamaria and in Ano Poli. Yesterday, Tuesday 30th of December, 100 people demonstrated in Kalamaria against new year celebrations, calling for the immediate release of the arrested, while workers, immigrants and militants occupied the Trade Union Center of Thessaloniki, expressing their solidarity to the Bulgarian unionist worker in ISAP (Subway in Athens and Piraeus), Konstantina Kouneva, who was attacked with sulfuric acid in December 23; she is still at hospital in a very bad health condition.

As for tonight, there is a call for gathering at Rotonda sq half an hour after midnight: « At new year’s night, we won’t stay home awaiting another dead year; we’ll go out to play and streets will be ours; everything has changed, riot is now a part of our life; for every murdered moment, for all friends that are not alive, for everything we feel and seek« .

It’s almost impossible for anyone to estimate whether or how this social unrest will continue after the 7th of January, the day that schools and universities reopen after holidays. Regardless of what will happen, nothing will be the same not only for us who have been in the streets but for the whole working class in this country as well.

Blaumachen and friends

Thessaloniki, 31st of December 2008

APPENDIX 1

COMMUNIQUE

On Saturday night the greek police killed a 15 year old student.

The murder was the last straw.

It was the follow up of a coordinated campaign, a campaign of state terrorism with the help of the fascist organisation  »Golden Dawn », which aimed at university students that are fighting against the privatization of education, the high school students, the immigrants that are under constant state control because they have the wrong colour, the working class who have to work for a nickel and a dime until they die.

The government praetors who have covered up a lot of crimes against society, who burnt the greek forests in the summer of 2007 are also responsible for the  burning of the cities these days. They maintain nepotism. They protect the government people who were involved in the mobile phone interceptions scandal, those looting the public pension funds, those who kidnapped and tortured immigrants and were involved in law, stock market and church scandals.

We are in civil war with the fascists, the bankers, the state and the mass media who want the young people to be submissive and society to be pacified. Although they have no excuses, they try again to use conspiracy theories as well as theories of  »irregular attack » in order to calm spirits down.

The rage that has been accumulated through the years had to be expressed and it shouldn’t end.

Throughout the world people set their eyes on what is going on here.

People must uprise everywhere.

This generation of poor, unemployed, precarious, homeless and immigrant young people will smash the display window of this society and will wake up the obedient citizens from their sleep of the ephemeral American Dream.

DON’T WATCH THE T.V NEWS, CONSCIOUSNESS RISES IN THE STREETS

WHEN YOUNG PEOPLE ARE MURDERED, THE OLD PEOPLE SHOULD NOT SLEEP

GOODBYE ALEXANDROS, MAY YOUR BLOOD BE THE LAST OF AN INNOCENT TO RUN.

The workers’ union of municipality of Agios Dimitrios, Athens,11/12/2008

APPENDIX 2

« These days are ours, too »

Monday, December 15, 2008

(The following text was distributed at the student picket outside the police headquarters today by people from Athens’ Haunt of Albanian Migrants. I wanted to translate and upload it here because it shows something very important: that ties of solidarity are being formed and strengthened across different sectors of the Greek society – a wonderful thing!)

These days are ours, too

Following the assassination of Alexis Grigoropoulos we have been living in an unprecedented condition of turmoil, an outflow of rage that doesn’t seem to end. Leading this uprising, it seems, are the students – who with an inexhaustible passion and hearty spontaneity have reversed the whole situation. You cannot stop something you don’t control, something that is organised spontaneously and under terms you do not comprehend. This is the beauty of the uprising. The high school students are making history and leave it to the others to write it up and to classify it ideologically. The streets, the incentive, the passion belongs to them.

In the framework of this wider mobilisation, with the student demonstrations being its steam-engine, there is a mass participation of the second generation of migrants and many refugees also. The refugees come to the streets in small numbers, with limited organisation, with the spontaneity and impetus describing their mobilisation. Right now, they are the most militant part of the foreigners living in Greece. Either way, they have very little to lose.

The children of migrants mobilise en mass and dynamically, primarily through high school and university actions as well as through the organisations of the left and the far left. They are the most integrated part of the migrant community, the most courageous. They are unlike their parents, who came with their head bowed, as if they were beging for a loaf of bread. They are a part of the Greek society, since they’ve lived in no other. They do not beg for something, they demand to be equal with their Greek classmates. Equal in rights, on the streets, in dreaming.

For us, the politically organised migrants, this is a second french November of 2005. We never had any illusions that when the peoples’ rage overflew we would be able to direct it in any way. Despite the struggles we have taken on during all these years we never managed to achieve such a mass response like this one. Now is time for the street to talk: The deafening scream heard is for the 18 years of violence, repression, exploitation and humiliation. These days are ours, too.

These days are for the hundreds of migrants and refugees who were murdered at the borders, in police stations, workplaces. They are for those murdered by cops or « concerned citizens. » They are for those murdered for daring to cross the border, working to death, for not bowing their head, or for nothing. They are for Gramos Palusi, Luan Bertelina, Edison Yahai, Tony Onuoha, Abdurahim Edriz, Modaser Mohamed Ashtraf and so many others that we haven’t forgotten.

These days are for the everyday police violence that remains unpunished and unanswered. They are for the humiliations at the border and at the migrant detention centres, which continue to date. They are for the crying injustice of the Greek courts, the migrants and refugees unjustly in prison, the justice we are denied. Even now, in the days and nights of the uprising, the migrants pay a heavy toll – what with the attacks of far-righters and cops, with deportations and imprisonment sentences that the courts hand out with Christian love to us infidels.

These days are for the exploitation continuing unabatedly for 18 years now. They are for the struggles that are not forgotten: in the downs of Volos, the olympic works, the town of Amaliada. They are for the toil and the blood of our parents, for informal labour, for the endless shifts. They are for the deposits and the adhesive stamps, the welfare contributions we paid and will never have recognised. It is for the papers we will be chasing for the rest of our lives like a lottery ticket.

These days are for the price we have to pay simply in order to exist, to breathe. They are for all those times when we crunched our teeth, for the insults we took, the defeats we were charged with. They are for all the times when we didn’t react even when having all the reasons in the world to do so. They are for all the times when we did react and we were alone because our deaths and our rage did not fit pre-existing shapes, didn’t bring votes in, didn’t sell in the prime-time news

These days belong to all the marginalised, the excluded, the people with the difficult names and the unknown stories. They belong to all those who die every day in the Aegean sea and Evros river, to all those murdered at the border or at a central Athens street; they belong to the Roma in Zefyri, to the drug addicts in Eksarhia. These days belong to the kids of Mesollogiou street, to the unintegrated, the uncontrollable students. Thanks to Alexis, these days belong to us all.

18 years of silent rage are too many.

To the streets, for solidarity and dignity!

We haven’t forgotten, we won’t forget – these days are yours too

Luan, Tony, Mohamed, Alexis…

Haunt of Albanian Migrants

http://www.steki-am.blogspot.com

APPENDIX 3

ABOUT THE INTERRUPTION OF THE NEWSCAST AT THE GREEK NATIONAL BROADCAST STATION BY PROTESTING CIVILIANS, 16 DEC, 2008, 3:10PM

Our action is a response to the accumulated pressures that ravage our lives, and not simply an emotional outburst in the wake of the murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos by the Greek police.

We are yet another spontaneous collective that forms part of the social uprising in progress.

In a symbolic move to prevent the media from subduing us, citizens & civilians, we interrupt the newscast of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (NET). We believe that the media systematically cultivates a climate of fear, promoting misinformation as information, and portraying a multi-faceted uprising as an outburst of reckless violence.

The explosion of civil unrest is explained in criminal rather than political terms. Crucial events are selectively brushed under the carpet. The uprising is served up as entertainment, something to watch until the next soap opera comes on. The media are being used as a means of suppressing free and original thought on a daily basis.

Let us organise ourselves. No authority can provide solutions to our problems. We must rally together and turn our public spaces – streets, squares, parks, and schools – into areas of unhindered expression and communication. Let us come together, face to face, side by side, to formulate our cause and our course of action as one.

Let us overcome the fear, switch off our television sets, come out of our houses, continue to assert our rights, and take our lives into our own hands.

We condemn police violence and call for the immediate release of all protesters held in custody.

We stand for emancipation, human dignity, and freedom.

APPENDIX 4

First communiqué of the occupation of GSEE

We will either determine our history ourselves or let it be determined without us

We, manual workers, employees, jobless, temporary workers, local or immigrants, are not passive tv-viewers. Since the murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos on Saturday night we participate in the demonstrations, the clashes with the police, the occupations on the centre or the neighborhoods. Time and again we had to leave work and our daily obligations to take the streets with the students, the university students and the other proletarians in struggle.

WE DECIDED TO OCCUPY THE BUILDING OF GSEE

– To turn it into a space of free expression and a meeting point of workers.

– To disperse the media-touted myth that the workers were and are absent from the clashes, and that the rage of these days was an affair of some 500 « mask-bearers », « hooligans » or some other fairy tale. On the tv-screens the workers were presented as victims of the clash, while the capitalist crisis in Greece and Worldwide leads to countless layoffs that the media and their managers deal as a « natural phenomenon ».

– To flay and uncover the role of the trade union bureaucracy in the undermining of the insurrection -and not only there. GSEE and the entire trade union mechanism that supports it for decades and decades, undermine the struggles, bargain our labor power for crumblings, perpetuate the system of exploitation and wage slavery. The stance of GSEE last Wednesday is quite telling: GSEE cancelled the programmed strikers’ demonstration, stopping short at the organization of a brief gathering in Syntagma Sq., making simultaneously sure that the people will be dispersed in a hurry from the Square, fearing that they might get infected by the virus of insurrection.

– To open up this space for the first time -as a continuation of the social opening created by the insurrection itself-, a space that has been built by our contributions, a space from which we were excluded. For all these years we trusted our fate on saviours of every kind, and we end up losing our dignity. As workers we have to start assuming our responsibilities, and to stop assigning our hopes to wise leaders or « able » representatives. We have to acquire a voice of our own, to meet up, to talk, to decide, and to act. Against the generalized attack we endure. The creation of collective « grassroot » resistances is the only way.

– To propagate the idea of self-organization and solidarity in workplaces, struggle committees and collective grassroot procedures, abolishing the bureaucrat trade unionists.

All these years we gulp the misery, the pandering, the violence in work. We became accustomed to counting the crippled and our dead – the so-called « labor accidents ». We became accustomed to ingore the migrants -our class brothers- getting killed. We are tired living with the anxiety of securing a wage, revenue stamps, and a pension that now feels like a distant dream.

As we struggle not to abandon our life in the hands of the bosses and the trade union representatives, likewise we will not abandon the arrested insurgents in the hands of the state and the juridical mechanism.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE DETAINED

NO CHARGE TO THE ARRESTED

SELF-ORGANIZATION OF THE WORKERS

GENERAL STRIKE

General Assembly of Insurgent Workers

APPENDIX 5

WHEN THEY MESS WITH ONE OF US

THEY MESS WITH ALL OF US

On the 27th of December we occupied the headquarters of ISAP (Athens Piraeus Electric Railway) as a first response to the murderous attack against Konstantina Kuneva on the 23-12-2008. Sulphuric acid was thrown at her face as she was returning home from work.

Konstantina is in the intensive care ward of Evangelismos hospital suffering serious sight and respiratory system problems.

Who was Konstantina? Why was she attacked?

Konstantina is one among the hundreds of female immigrant workers who have been working for years as cleaners. She is general secretary of the Panattic Union of Cleaners and Domestic Personnel. She is a militant union organizer, well known for her stance against various bosses. Just last week she had a clash with the employer company « OIKOMET » when she demanded for herself and the rest of her colleagues to get paid the whole amount of money of her Christmas bonus. She also denounced illegal procedures in payments. Just a short while ago the same company fired her mother in an act of revenge against her and she got herself an unfavourable transfer to Marousi station. There is also a case of a three-part meeting in the Labour Inspection Office still pending on the 5-1-2009 concerning a denouncement of hers. Situations like these are not at all rare in the field of cleaning and employee subcontracting companies. It’s exactly the opposite.

This is the rule when it comes to cleaning company contractors: delayed contracts, stolen wages, stolen overtime payments, differences between contract assets and what the employee actually gets paid, selection of almost exclusively immigrant male and female workers with green card status (legal residency in Greece ranging from 1 to 5 years – in most cases only 1 year) so they can be held in a state of hostageship, social security benefits that are never attributed. All these under the support of the public sector and enterprises which are aware, incite and support working conditions reminiscent of the middle ages.

OIKOMET in particular, a cleaning company with enterprises all over Greece and owned by Nikitas Oikonomakis who is a member of PASOK (Greek Socialist Party), « officially » employs 800 workers – on the other hand, workers say that their number is at least twice as much and during the last 3 years the turnover amounts to 3000). Illegal procedures on the part of the employer company are on the everyday list. To be more specific, employees sign « blank page contracts » and they are never given a copy of them. They work 6 hours a day but get paid for 4,5 (including stamp) because in this way they appear to be working less than 30 hours per week on paper and the boss is not forced to include them in the « higher stamp category ». Employees get terrorized, they get unfavourable transfers, they get fired and blackmailed into resigning voluntarily (a female employee was threatened by her employer into signing her resignation after being held for 4 hours in a space owned by the company). The boss organised a « yellow » (company) union in order to manipulate employees while he fires and hires people as he wishes, ruling out any prospect of communication inside the workplace or collective action.

What is the connection between OIKOMET and ISAP?

OIKOMET has been assigned as a contractor the cleaning of ISAP (as well as the cleaning of other public sector and corporations) because it can « provide » the cheapest deal that includes the highest level of exploitation and devaluation of work. This « regime » of « offer and demand » is based on public sector organisations such as ISAP. ISAP is an accomplice in maintaining this regime of crude exploitation despite repeated denouncements by the union.

The murderous attack against our colleague was an act of revenge and had the intent to serve as an example.

The target was not coincidental. Female, immigrant, militant union organizer, mother of an underage child, she was the most vulnerable for the bosses.

The method was not coincidental. It resembles « dark » ages and aims to « brand », to serve as an example and terrorize us.

The time chosen was not coincidental. The media, the political parties, the Church, businessmen and union bosses have been trying to ridicule the social movement that has taken the form of an explosion and talk about the cold-blooded murder of 15-year-old Alexandros as the result of a bullet getting redirected. In this pretext, the attack on Konstantina is lost in the everyday news.

This murderous attack on the part of the employers was well-planned.

Konstantina is one of us. Her struggle for DIGNITY and SOLIDARITY is also our struggle.

The attack on Konstantina has left a mark in all our hearts. It has left a mark in our memory as have done the racist pogroms, the concentration camps for immigrants, the attacks by thugs working for the state, the workplace accidents, the people murdered by the state, the working conditions that resemble galleys, the purges, the lay-offs and the terror. All these show the long way ahead for the social and class struggle.

Our hearts are filled with sorrow and rage and one sentence comes to our lips:

MURDERERS, YOUR TIME WILL COME

THE EMPLOYERS TERROR SHALL NOT PASS


SOLIDARITY ASSEMBLY

FOR KONSTANTINA KUNEVA


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