Greece unrest updates thread

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jef costello
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Dec 6 2008 23:38
Greece unrest updates thread

Sketchy report here, have we got any more details?
I've had a look at Athens Indymedia but it's all in greek and none of the others I've looked at have anything. I would have shifted the post to news forum but I don't l know how smile
If anyone's around tomorrow it'd be worth checking for updates.

admin - thread title changed

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Steven.
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Dec 7 2008 01:17

There's been a lot of upheaval in Athens recently, a few riots against police brutality and currently there is nurses strike, some occupied government ministries and lots of occupied universities at the moment.

Is this supposed to be related?

Coverage of the recent struggles here:
http://libcom.org/tags/greece
http://libcom.org/news/medical-students-keep-deputy-minister-health-hostage-athens-over-employment-reforms-0612200

One of our users has been posting lots of news from Athens so hopefully they will be able to enlighten us a bit

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Dec 7 2008 01:59

I'm guessing it's related, like I said I couldn't find any more info myself and I didn't know how to shift the thread in here.

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 7 2008 05:43

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7769710.stm

OK I'm quite drunk but do they refer to one suburb of Athens as a "fortress of anarchists"? MotherFUCKer.

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Anarchia
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Dec 7 2008 11:47

I had a few beers there when I was in Athens a couple of months back. Ridiculous amounts of anarchists around, posters, graffiti, etc. Dunno how politically valuable it all is (was only in Athens for about a day, not long enough to get a handle on what was happening) but it was kinda cool to see it smile

David in Atlanta
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Dec 7 2008 12:44

Athens indymedia thread

Quote:
A 16 year old boy was shot dead by the cops in downtown Athens on Saturday December 06th 2008

The murder:
The police says that a police car at Exarchia was attacked by anarchists with rocks and bats and one of the cops shoot in the air (or ground) to scare them off and the bullet hit somewhere, changed course and hit the boy on the chest. However there are eye witnesses that state that there was no attack, only shouts against the cops and that the cop took a straight shot on the boy. The media also mentioned that there are leaks from inside the police verifying the eye witnesses but the official police statement denies that.

The aftermath:
After the murder of the 16 year old boy thousands of people filled with rage gathered and demonstrated in various places in Athens and other greek cities and started rioting and clashing with the police. There are reports about thousands anarchists, leftists and others that took the streets, also about tens of police departments attacked and hundreds of banks, cars, governmental buildings and shops smashed and set on fire. The clashes kept on until the early hours of Sunday morning.
Tomorrow, Sunday, demonstrations are taking place in tenths of greek cities and in some other European cities.

The history:
In 1985 also at Exarchia in central Athens, a 16 year old boy, Michalis Kaltezas, was shot dead by a cop, this time with a bullet in the back of his head. Again back then the reaction was very strong by the anarchists, the leftists and plain people disgusted but the police brutality. The classes with the police lasted for days.

The first pictures: http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=933717
some articles (in english): http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Killing_of_a_15_year_old_student_in_Greece
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/12/414458.html
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/12/414470.html?c=on#comments
http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=en&article_id=933218
and it also in all the major corporate news sites.

More info to come

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 7 2008 15:16

Fresh unrest on Sunday afternoon: an occupied university in Athens, firebombs and property and business damage in Thessaloniki and Crete.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7770086.stm

akai
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Dec 7 2008 18:21

There is a lot of information already published but of course the mainstream media tells a slightly different story:

First there is a video of the incident, but it's really dark and you have to try to make it lighter:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwJZHcMolUA&eurl

The media either says there were 30 people or a demonstration. The anarchists were saying that there were six people on the street near the main square in Exarchia and that the police was harrassing them and the main prick showed the people his prick.

The arrested policemen are 37 year old Epaminondas Korkoneas who was the shooter and 31 year old Vassilis Saraliotis. The boy's name was Alexandros-Andreas Grigoropoulos.

There is a report here in English: http://balkans.puscii.nl/?q=content/15-years-old-anarchist-killed-cops-center-athens-reports-video-murder-anda-video-theathens-r

Sotev
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Dec 7 2008 21:03

hello
i believe pictures and videos from this are all over the net, so I won't put links etc.

the event.
on saturday night, Alexis and his friends were near a cafe in exarhia. A police car passes by, there some verbal brawl between the cops and the youth (20 or so of them). the cop car goes forward. some minutes later, the 2 cops return on foot in the scene. there's some verbal brawl between the teenagers and the cops. one of the two pulls out his gun, aims, and shoots the teenager on the chest, from some 50ft distance. this has been confirmed by various people on the spot.

since then, there's riots all over greece. many police stations and cop cars have been attacked with petrol bombs and stones.

many many luxurious shops have been attacked --Ermou Str, the main, so to speak shopping road in athens is burned down. A large mall (5 store building) is completely burned down. there's many barricades in parts of athens near the university

Let me comment that these are not --and could not be, given the magnitude of the 'misdeeds'-- the acts of the 'anarchists' doing their thing. ofcourse anarchists and autonomes are on the first lines everywhere, but this acts are social. It's not just about the murder or the state repression: there's a growing feeling of revolt, against the ecomony, against the poverty, against the lost jobs etc. that had to break out somehow.

there was also a general strike proclaimed by the reformist general unions on this wednesday.

I heard students on highschools are trying to set up general assemblies to occupy the high schools. same for the universities.

edit. this blog by an english teacher in greece who's also a photographer is interesting
http://teacherdudebbq.blogspot.com/

"Although violent scenes are not uncommon in Greece the extent, duration and intensity of the riots seems to have taken the authorities by surprise.In addition the fact that many of those who took in protest marches were neither young nor students is indicative of the fact that the death of the teenager has angered many Greeks. Case in point was the pensioner, who stood in front of a phalanx of riot police, apoplectic with rage shouting, "cops, killer, pigs" during the march in Thessaloniki"

edit2. sthe title thread is kinda misleading, as the murdered wasn't a demonstrator, just a teenager in a bar.

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Dec 7 2008 21:17

thread title is misleading now but it was as accurate as possible when it was posted, I'll change it.
Thanks for all the extra info comrades.

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Dec 7 2008 23:38
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7769710.stm

OK I'm quite drunk but do they refer to one suburb of Athens as a "fortress of anarchists"? MotherFUCKer.

Yeah, that place is sort of a bohemian neighborhood with a strong insurrectionist presence. The Greek anarchist movement is huge by our standards, but very hostile to both organisation and communism.

Black Badger
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Dec 8 2008 05:36

Don't you mean hostile to particular forms of organization?

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Dec 9 2008 19:52

Well i suppose it depends how you define 'organisation', as 'anti-organisationist' anarchists always participate in the organising of themselves to some degree, contrary to what they might claim. Its not surprising that this form of organisation often tends not to be that good or democratic.

But this is really a different conversation than whats happening in Greece, which look like it could have the potential to bring together the anarchist/autonomist scene (which according to Greek friends and comrades is very macho and mainly into fetishising aggro with cops) and militant workers struggles (with the nurses holding a minister hostage recently). Theres certainly the potential to events to snowball of their own accord (a la '68) if the cops continue to be this stupid.

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Dec 8 2008 10:10
Gruaniad wrote:
Athough the turbulence that marked much of 20th century Greek politics has been relegated to the past, there is growing anger at the widening gap between rich and poor. Statistics released earlier this year showed that one in five Greeks live beneath the poverty line.

Karamanlis's market-oriented government, which is into its second term, has been hit by accusations of sleaze in recent months. Joblessness among the younger generation, especially those aged 20 to 25, is especially high, with many barely surviving on €500 a month.

"There are a lot of disoriented young people who feel they don't have much to expect from the future and are very disconnected," said Professor Thanos Dokos, an analyst at a Greek thinktank.

"These feelings have been exacerbated by the corruption and economic climate and are being used as ammunition by anarchist groups today."

Backstory

Riots are not uncommon in Greece. Self-proclaimed groups of anarchists attack banks, high-end shops and foreign car dealerships. The November 17 parade is a particular flashpoint, when thousands mark the 1974 student uprising at the Polytechnic, an event that led to the collapse of seven years of hated military rule. Few of these attacks, however, cause injuries. Some believe Greece's anarchist movement has its roots in the resistance to the dictatorship and the left/right divide that the period spawned. A number of anti-globalisation, anti-authoritarian, leftwing groups are also believed to have emerged at that time.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/08/athens-greece-crime-police

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jef costello
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Dec 8 2008 12:38

According to MATB the Greek embassies in London and Berlin have been occupied.

Sotev
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Dec 8 2008 14:47

every highschool in greece is occupied by the students. no school for the next three days. the unis are closed down. the students kept on coming from every district.

it's getting out of hand, to the point that the insurrectionists can't restrain 15 year old masked up teenagers (in thousands) from attacking -unorganised and with insuffisient 'ammo'- the cops. soon the kids learn, and organise together with the others. one sees 'retired' radicals from the 80s again with the balaclava and the steel bar --the ''path of fire'' as the expression goes.

the riot policemen are also getting frustrated, this means more uncontrolled violence from them -they throw back stones etc or beat up highschools children. last night some riot squads used up all their tear gas and got beaten.
they started shooting plastic bullets.

the centre of athens and salonica is battleground -sometimes things calm down - a lady gave us food from her balcony.
In exarchia it has been reported that people were throwing potery vases from their balconies onto the riot squads.
yesterday some anarchists went from an occupied uni roof to the roofs of some buildings of the same block, and went on throwing petrol bombs from the roofs of 8 store appartment blocks...

on wednesday there's a general strike also.

Also there are sightings of the extreme-right neonazi groupings who come on the street to fight alongside the riot squads. this is dangerous since these thugs usually carry knifes and do use them, and can masquerade as demonstrators.

A university general assembly from Patras just voted for the "violent overthrow of the government".

'bring it down brother!'
a granpa toward some anarchos in front a jewelry shop window.

it's insurrection baby...

David in Atlanta
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Dec 8 2008 14:57

Flag-Burning Gang Storm Embassy

I love trashy headlines. They occupied in Berlin and planted a red and black flag in London.

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 8 2008 15:01

Weighty.

Can also confirm that the Greek embassy in London is blockaded, last I heard (11.30am).

late
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Dec 8 2008 15:13

Does anybody know if the Anarchists occupying the London Greek Embassy are from the UK?

Sotev
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Dec 8 2008 15:19

in greek embassy in UK the peopel are mixed greeks and others, english etc.

off to hit the streets

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robot
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Dec 8 2008 15:19
David in Atlanta wrote:
I love trashy headlines. They occupied in Berlin and planted a red and black flag in London.

Brief report from Germany: The greek consulate in Berlin is occupied since early monday morning. Some 30 people entered the building and replaced the greek flag with a red-and-black flying at half-mast. The comrades are in talks with the consulary staff and the police, the latter qualifying the action as demonstration rather than as occupation. According to another –yet unconfirmed– information, the greek consulate in the city of Hanover is or had been occupied as well on monday morning. The consulate at Cologne got "beautified" by some color bags last night. On Sunday evening people took to the streets in Berlin and Hamburg (approx. 200 in every town), more demonstrations in 6 or 7 towns are scheduled for today.

breakout
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Dec 8 2008 17:34

admin: trolling deleted. trying to start off-topic slanging matches because you're dissapointed not to find one will get you a warning. behave.

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Dec 8 2008 17:56

Sotev many thanks for your contributions. They are very informative, and it's important to get this stuff out. Even though there's loads of media coverage about this it's mostly just repeats of the same press agency reports so we're not seeing much actual information.

With the high school occupations, are they spread across the whole country? Have the riots spread beyond the five or six cities we have heard about in the mainstream media?

Do you know how many universities are occupied? And the walkout of teachers, is it an official strike or a wildcat?

antonymous
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Dec 8 2008 21:27

new blog on the greek riots

http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/

On the night of December 6th, police shot 15-year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in cold blood in the Eksarhia district of Athens. Since that night, Athens and tens of other greek cities have been burning.

On the same night, up to 10,000 people took the streets of Athens on a spontaneous demonstration, burning and smashing banks, ministries and multinational shops. Ever since, tension has been increasingly escalating: universities are occupied, as are most of the high schools in the country. Barricades are being put up around Athens; clashes with the police are constant.

On Tuesday, 9.12, the funeral of Alexandros is taking place and a general strike is called for Wednesday the 10th - a day both sides are building up for.

The purpose of this blog is to provide up-to-date information on the Greek riots, directly from the streets. Authors are contributing from the Greek cities of Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras.

The updates will be irregular and as frequent as permitted, given the circumstances. The updates will be mostly text-based. Confirmed reports will be presented as such - and so will rumours. We are not journalists and we are not objective; we chose sides in the social war a while ago.

In memory of Alexandros Georgopoulos.

The struggle of humanity against authority, as always, continues.

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Dec 8 2008 23:56

We have just started a new tag for information about the unrest in Greece and the underlying economic issues and struggles which have been leading up to it:
http://libcom.org/tags/greece-unrest

Please feel free to post updates and news articles to it.

We would be particularly keen to speak to participants in the events, or see eyewitness accounts. So please post them here to this thread, as well as links to news articles, photographs, etc

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Dec 9 2008 01:44

Reasonably interesting article from the Christian science monitor, of all places.

Some of the quotes from this guy writing a book about the November 17 group are quite informative:

Quote:
Brady Kiesling, a former US diplomat, who is writing a book about the Greek militant group November 17, says Greek police have limited power to use force against these groups because public sentiment will not tolerate it. This has resulted in a delicate balance in Exarchia, with neither pushing the other too far. Many Greeks cite the events of November 17, 1973 – a day that is still commemorated, when the army stormed the Athens Polytechnic University and killed a number of striking students – as a reason why the police must be restricted.

"The police stay out of certain areas, unless there's a major emergency, and the anarchists don't trash things badly unless there's a good reason," Mr. Kiesling says. But "once someone gets killed, the doctrine is massive retaliation."

...
The last fatal police shooting of a minor in Greece, in 1985, sparked months of nearly daily clashes between police and anarchists. The terrorist group November 17 also bombed a bus full of riot police in retaliation, Kiesling says.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1208/p06s02-wogn.html

Sotev
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Dec 9 2008 07:56
Steven. wrote:
With the high school occupations, are they spread across the whole country? Have the riots spread beyond the five or six cities we have heard about in the mainstream media?

Do you know how many universities are occupied? And the walkout of teachers, is it an official strike or a wildcat?

the high schools are closed down by the government. I'd characterize this as a political lock out: the schools act as a gathering place for the students. Nevertheless, they come en masse to the protest and the barricades, following the older people or organizing thru mobile phones, their friends etc. this proves effective enough.

there's a semi-chaotic situation, fertile and dangerous. People act almost too courageously --foolishly sometimes. As I said in some cases the so called 'insurrectionists' have to constrain, or bring some 'order' or better 'rhythm' to the unorganized attackers. we advance when we impose our rhythm on the cops.
the solidarity on the street is quite intense.

can't really estimate how widespread the riots are. We know that reports keep coming about some small town with no organized radicals whatsoever where "20 masked youth attacked with 10 petrol bombs the police station". this is happening every night. demos are taking place in almost every city. for example, in athens during the demonstrations themselves, there were autonomous attacks on banks on different areas of the city.

the universities are also closed down by the authorities for the same reason as the schools. but they are de facto occupied by the rioters, and act as a gathering place, a place to heal from the tear gas (the police now started throwing a much much worse asphyxiating gas, different from tear gas) or make more projectiles. in some cases rioters enter, and after some hours the uni students come in also, and formally occupy the faculty w/ a general assembly decision -- although I wouldn't say that voters against the occupation are tolerated -- we don't do democracy anymore. so the votes are like 120 - 10 etc. smile

The university teachers are useless, the general trade unions are useless. most 'far left' --with the important exception of some leninist organizations-- is useless. they appeal to a return to normality, ie law and order. they 'boo' the attacks. funny marxists.

in thessaloniki and athens, what could be burned in the city center, has pretty much burned down. few banks and state buildings left etc.

we know that the rioters are getting more prole-based and multi-racial, so to speak: there is looting in prole areas (independent from the demonstrations themselves). There's some discussion that we need to intensify communist gestures like these, and kinda develop further from the anti-cop, anti-bank actions.

the prisoners started a 24h abstention from meal (= they don't eat from the prison kitschen as a protest, only from what they might have in their cells) in solidarity.

last night was the most intense so far. we'll see how this will develop...

it's the party of insurrection vs the party of law and order...

hope this is useful, can't write something more coherent right now.

this is the scary shit (pic from yesterday - from what we know as of now the cop didn't fire, just aimed to intimidate):

Sotev
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Dec 9 2008 08:08

it goes without saying that we need solidarity actions in any and every form possible.

Sotev
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Dec 9 2008 09:28

for example this is from nafpaktos, a small town of 20.000 citizens.
The demo is mostly made up of highschool kids.
The banner reads:
YOUR DEMOCRACY SHOOTS US
16 YEAR-OLD DEAD BY A COP'S BULLET



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Dec 9 2008 09:35

Sotev, what do you think the possibilities are for broadening the struggle on the streets, which as you say is involving far more people than the Greek anarchist scene, into workplaces etc, given the disputes and campaigns going on currently? You mentioned discussions about pushing things in a more communist direction; is linking with workers struggles at a base level being discussed in the occupied polys/unis/schools?

MH
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Dec 9 2008 10:04

Whilst comments on this thread correctly identify the recent social struggles in Greece as the background to the current social unrest, there has I feel been a lack of emphasis on recent events in November in Greece. These are touched on in the section http://libcom.org/tags/greece-unrest particularly in reference to the prisoners strike but not given enough significance.

November saw a month of resistance at all of Greece's 21 prisons. Over 7000 prisoners out of some 12500 joined a hungerstrike, and almost all the rest took some other action, leading to a partial victory. But outside the prisons was a very high level of solidarity from anarchists, other miltants, and prisoners family & friends. There is a good summary here http://anarcores.blogspot.com/2008/11/update-on-struggle-inside-out-and.html and more info at http://www.325collective.com which shows the level of solidarity actions, from demos and noise pickets to sabotage and attacks on the state. It is difficult for us in the UK to comprehend such a high level of prisoner solidarity and militancy against the state!

In the same month we saw a huge march & riot on the 25th anniversary of the uprising at Athens Poly in 1973 against the Colonels coup of the late 60's. This meant that anarchists & others had already been at a very high state of activity and resistance before the police murder on 6 December. That fact combined with the location in Athens of the police murder resulted in the instantaneous response from youth & militants. And that catalyst is the spark to explode the wider social struggles across Greece.

What happens next will be key. Will PASOK and the CP attempt to divide & strangle the struggle because they cannot lead (control) it, and it threatens their own self-interest. Or can the street militants and workers move from riot to insurrection & revolution? We can imagine the European ruling class are watching the situation closely, as the global recession bites and as usual the working class will be expected to pay. Their fear, and our aim, must be the spread of the situation in Greece across Europe. This may seem unlikely to us in the UK, but a glance at the more antagonistic situations in Italy, Spain, France, Holland & Germany means it is not impossible.