Athens anti-torture demo leads to clashes and occupation of city hall

Anti-torture demo, over death of electroshocked immigrant, leads to clashes with riot police, arrests and occupation of city hall, in Nikea, an industrial suburb of Athens.

The city hall of Nikea, an industrial and prominently communist suburb of Athens, is under occupation since Saturday 17/10 afternoon by anarchists demanding the release of people arrested during clashes with riot police outside the police department where a Pakistani immigrant, Mohamed Karman Atif, was tortured by beating and electric shocks ileading to his death last week

The demo, organised by several anarchist collectives, marched to the police station, where it was confronted by strong riot police forces. The protesters tried to break through the blockade by throwing stones to the police. In the clashes that ensued several people were detained, out of which some are being reported as arrested and charged.

The protesters then regathered and occupied the city hall in a surprise move. The mayor of the suburb, a Communist Party (KKE) cadre, has visited the occupied city hall and has declared that the police should by no means attempt to evacuate the 300 protesters who remain in it, nor arrest anyone leaving the premises.

What follows is the first communique of the occupied city hall:

Communique of the Occupied City Hall of Nikea
400 protesters gathered today October 17 in the streets of Nikea in a march of rage against the recent assassination of the 25 year old pakistani immigrant Mohamed Karman Atif by torture in the police station of Nikea, a march called by anarchist collectives and a local assembly of the area. We crossed the main streets of the area, from the house of the murdered man and moved towards the police station. Strong riot police forces (MAT) and motorised police forces (Z-team) that "accompanied the demo have proved the official stance of the now Socialist Ministry of Public Order (Ministry of Citizens Protection): whitewashing and protecting torturers murderers, the police occupation of the area. All that was happening will continue as normal: beatings, torture, humiliations in all the police stations of the country. During the protest march there was strong rain. But what rained near the police station of Nikea was not just water drops. The riot police brigade blocking the way to the police station received a rain of stones. The organised continuation of the march and the retreat from the hot-spot was hampered by a combined force of riot policemen at the back and on the sides of the march. Our defenses held, while locals from the sidewalks swore and verbally attacked the police army of occupation. Yet, in a cloud of tear gas and glob attacks some got cut off from the march and as a result they were detained. The march was completed in the location perivolaki, as planned and given the detentions a great number of the protesters moved to occupy the city hall demanding the immediate release of the hostage comrades. Some people who decided to leave were stopped by motorised police forces and were also detained. The exact number of detentions is yet not known, but is certainly double-digit. The process of arrest has already started for some. This is the apex of the new state dogma of "democracy and strength" as announced by the new minster of Public Order Michalis Chrisochoidis against the world of the insurgency and anyone potentially resisting. It is like two days ago during the demo of the Perama shipyard workers and unemployed at the Ministry of Labour. It is like the now police-occupied Exarcheia. It is like the recent persecutions of high-school occupations. It will be the same with the dockworkers of Peiraeus who are against the sell-out to COSCO, or the 1,400 workers of the Skaramangas shipyards threatened to be sacked.Police barbarity is only the repressive side of state-capitalist barbarity: oppression, exploitation, subjugation, death. The new political management's main role is to manage the social dimension of the crisis of our times: the all-expanding disobedience to and clash with the demands of political and economic power. There is no place for illusions. No change will come from no new government. This has always been the case.State terrorism continues and with it continues the struggle for social and individual liberation, for a free world without power.

Immediate release of detained protesters!
Removal of all accusations against them!
Immediate retreat of all police forces from the neighborhoods of Nikea and from around the city hall!
The assembly of the occupied city hall of Nikea.

Posted By

taxikipali
Oct 17 2009 17:29

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taxikipali
Oct 18 2009 15:56

An update: 5 out of the 8 arrested protesters who were led to the courts today are being charged under the "anti-hood" law of the previous government which transforms any breach of the law into a criminal offence if the court accepts that the protesters were wearing hoods or covering their faces. This means that any breach of the law "under a hood" can be punished by maximum 10 years imprisonment. Given that many anarchists in greece wear hoods as a symbol of their ideology this is considered to be a re-activation of the 1930s "idionimo" which imprisoned and exiled people of communist convictions. The parody of justice is even more apparent by the fact that in the day of the march it was raining, so penalising wearing a hood is more or less a conviction to illness or a prohibition of protest in winter conditions.

It is the first time that the onerous anti-hood law is being applied.

As a result, the occupation of the Nikea city hall holds strong.
It must be noted that bourgeois media have imposed a total black-out on the events, pointing out that the Minister of Public Order, who was decorated by the CIA in 2003 for his anti-guerrilla operations, has activated his old methods of "media guidelines", i.e. censorship on issues of human rights and civil order that might be harmful to the government.

Steven.
Oct 19 2009 00:28

Wow, that's crazy shit. Especially the hood law! Have people been convicted under the hood law before? Because not that I have much faith in the bourgeois justice system, but that looks like a clear breach of the European Convention on human rights.

taxikipali
Oct 20 2009 12:19

No this is the first time the law is applied, so its vital that the courts are pressed not to go for it. Its a testing ground for the penalisation of anarchism in totto. When in opposition PaSoK (the currently governing Socialist Party) called the law ridiculous, but seems in no hurry to cancel it today.

Steven.
Oct 20 2009 13:43

What a surprise...

I bet the law won't stand up. But of course it can still be used now to screw over the lives of those people for the time being unfortunately.