Athens May Day erupts in battles

Athens May Day erupts in battles

Labour May the 1st has erupted in pitched battles in Athens with many arrests and two people seriously injured.

Labour May the 1st (May Day) is a day for token trade union parades in greece, but the IMF related austerity measures that have cast their long shadow on the country made sure no one was expecting a peaceful demonstration today.

Four different demos had been called in Athens, reflecting existing class and political differences. One by PAME, the Communist Party controlled trade union umbrella, gathered at Syntagma square and marched to the American embassy. A second, by GSEE, the private sector trade union umbrella controled by the ruling Socialist Party, staged a protest concert in Klafthmonos square. A third, by the Radical Left Coalition and extreme-left groups gathered at Victoria square and marched to the Ministry of Labour. And the forth, by anarchists and autonomous grassroots unions, gathered outside the Archaeological Museum and marched to the Parliament.

The first signs of unrest appeared when the anarchist-autonomous march numbering around 4,000 people reached Klafthmonos square chanting slogans against GSEE like "Scum, filth, union-bosses" and attacked the concert scene with red and black paint interrupting the performances. Upon reaching the Parliament and attempting to march towards the EU offices, the protesters were confronted by riot police forces and clashes broke out. Protesters attacked the prestigious ruling class hotel "Great Britain" with the clashes spreading across Panepistimiou street where banks and shops came under attack. Reaching Propylea, protesters torched a State TV van, and closed against the ex-president of the Parliament who happened to be on Korai square. The senior PASOK politician took refuge to a cafe while heckled and was rescued by strong police forces. At the same time, the General State Accountancy came under attack by protesters. The march proceeded towards Omonoia square where upon meeting up with the march of the extreme left returning from the Ministry of Labour it came under brutal attack by motorised police forces. In the battle that ensued many protesters were injured and many more detained, while hundreds of protesters took to a barricaded retreat into Exarcheia and the Polytechnic from which more clashes ensued. As a result of the clashes some 10 people are reported arrested (with people gathered outside the National Police Headquarters demanding their liberation), and two men are reported as injured, one with serious cranial wounds. Meanwhile, journalists are accusing the police as not allowing them to film, and one journalist was reported as being detained. The police claims seven of its officers were injured.

At the same time, more limited clashes erupted in the May Day protest march in Salonica with many banks and shops attacked. Protest marches also took place in many smaller cities and towns like Heraclion, Patras, Rethimnon, Corinth and Ioannina.

Comments

Samotnaf
May 2 2010 04:36

TV reports in France about Greece yesterday only mentioned clashes in Salonica. The day before (or maybe Thursday - can't remember), after the Louisiana oil slick, the Greek debt crisis was an important item of news, though only about meetings of politicians and financiers, with no mention of any actions against it. The news continued for 35 minutes with the last 10 minutes or so being reserved for cultural shit, as always; just after all this, at about 8.35 when most people have given up watching the culture stuff and have gone to do the washing up or have a piss whilst waiting 10 - 15 mins of mainly ads before the main movie/TV series of the evening, there was a 15 second clip of violent clashes in Athens in response to the IMF. Almost unprecedented - the end is almost invariably cultural. Nothing so downbeat (in their terms) as a riot.

Clearly they only want Greece to be an example of brutal punishment which will be given in response to resistance, not an inspiring example for people about how never to give up. Wonder how other countries portray the response to the IMF/EU in Greece on TV.

taxikipali
May 2 2010 09:03

Good point Sam, it would be great if people could cover how things in Greece are being covered abroad!

By the way, the total number of arrested from yesterday are 9 and will be taken to court today. Meanwhile the coming week will open with a 24h strike of municipal workers (announced today) and will continue with a general strike on the 5th of May. It is indicative of the tension in the country that the government and its mass media are even threatening the Communist Party as "moving at the margins of legality", while some high profile journalists have not hesitated openly proposing a 'State of Siege' as the solution to the resistance (meaning a civilian dictatorship with articles of the constitution protecting striking, protesting and freedom of expression suspended).

Smoke
May 2 2010 09:28
Quote:
Good point Sam, it would be great if people could cover how things in Greece are being covered abroad!

As Samotnaf states for France, in the Netherlands the situation in Greece is also barely reported on. Only last weeks indeed a lot of attention went to the IMF/EU "saving the greek people"...and indeed closing newsitems now and then with a statement that violent clashes broke out because of anarchists.
During december 08, there was also no reporting really on the revolt; 2 or 3 newsitems during those weeks, only focussing on "anarchist violence".

ernie
May 2 2010 11:33

In Britain it has been reported on the BBC TV news are 2nd or 3rd item. The film from the 1 st may concentrated on the violent confrontation in Athens, no reports of demos etc else where. The thrust of the item was the concern that Greece could reflect what is to come here. On BBC Radion 4 the item I heard talked about the demonstrations being composed of the young but also said "middle class professions" had also participate. A couple of guys were interviewed, who sound middle aged, and were very angry. One was very eloquent about the way the state had rob him of money for his pension in the first place and was not trying to rob him.
The general tenor of the reports is concern about what will happen, and if this is a harbinger of what will happen here.

from_gr
May 2 2010 11:42

In Salonica no clashes with the police erupted, only smashed banks and shops, as taxikipali correctly reported. I don't know where the media discovered clashes here...

On the other hand, check out the photos and videos in these links, to take an idea about what happened in the streets of Athens yesterday... Do the media there insist that there were no clashes in Athens??!!
http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1161175
http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1161161

Today, extra measures are announced by the government, and a demo is being planned as i write in Salonica in the afternoon. Also in a neighborhood of Athens a demo is planned.

A multi-law about education is going to be voted in the parliament, with extra-rapid procedure, in the end of this week, and triggers reactions of workers of this sector.

iaourti iaourtaki
May 2 2010 12:15

"FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SUSPENDED"
That shit the Kraut bosses will really appreciate to cut off our tongues! That means: Putting EA on the "list" to criminalize indypendant journalists and updaters!
I'm wondering if you don't watch EURONEWS?
Normally i don't have the time to check the fucking telly and radio kills anyway.
As the situation looks like that mother earth is pregnant with the social revolution the 6th week or so things will be like that you won't have time for the media. You will spend your time with posting/translating on linksuntenindymedia and/or anarchypress.gr or here if the software works/ gets changed. And as i know from other anarchists that is a cool path: DESTROY SYSTEMS BY IGNORANCE!
Anarchist media must always tell the truth!
This is important because the prols are hungry for it and more and more are sick of lies, propaganda and jokes played on them!
The last days some german media changed a bit and covered a lot, also the german arrogance stirrs up anger of some left-liberals (but only sometimes and if it's worthy?). The telly mentioned about the clashes before mayday that the teachers were fighting and not the "300 youths" they usually fantazise of but the yellow press is full of "Goebbels against the lazy frauding Greeks" (see my comment in Taxikipali's last post). Another problem arises that on the german indymedia site some egoshooters (beside the normal german "lefty" "Antigreeks" that delete very often) write their strange version of what is going on in Greece and try to sabotage the last years media work!
So that is "doppio confronto" and i really think it makes sense to open up an own site or help anarchypress.gr getting better - sure both in co-op with lib/OL and indyathens but indymediagermany should get blocked out until they find the cops/rats/scabs inside!
For Berlin i would say after two days of crying that on mayday 286 autonomous nationalists managed it to march 2kms on Berlin's Kurfürstendamm attacking "foreigners" and cops (until all got arrested for max 48hrs or could be more with ASOG-Law but i think they are all out now and 286 Jesus Hitlers are drinking german beer with their "comrades") while the brave antifa made some blockades 15kms north of it and speaks of "success" cuz the other (official) Nazidemo didn't get far.
There were a few heavy tried murders by cops we got taped!
But the most important thing is that HERTHA BSE BERLIN soccer team fucked up and after a few days of cryings lots of Berliners could get interested out of boredom. Also there is on 14th in the russian house an event with mr elsässer, a true national-socialist(?) or at least anti-american who loves Mikis Theodorakis for his last blabla's (allthough most of it sounds true!) and dreams of and writes for a front of radical left and right against Amerikkka and against Israel too (i think so, i'll check that more seriously), but 1st he only talks about "our" german money to Greece aso but yet he seems liking that conspiracy shit... (ask el kaida for help against the yankees?)
anyway: that really looks a bit like if some neocons/ former trotzkists facing Greece and that would mean that the anti-greek propaganda of some "lefties" is successful: all greeks are antisemit and nationalists, blabla (i'd better get myself a greek passport or keep on with dynamite fishing - best job i ever had!)
And if this is not enough we got also something like ISSE doing "info-shows" all over germoney dreaming of some socialist european states with banks in the hands of the people, haha. They are STUDENTS and believe they could create Pastisio like my mother, aaaargghhh...
EVRYBODY seems to try cooking in greek kitchens like it was in the seventies regarding Vietnam!
The berlin antiauthoritan sector screened films about Greece so far and i think it was a success but if it will happen again or gets more structured i would suggest to aim on the germangreek community that isn't consuming greek media or go on tour with the ABC!
Originally i wanted to translate Taxikipali's article... may be later!
But for people of the lowlands and for the french i just suggest to click on linksuntenindymedia and watch for my and Mick's posts in german and english, print it out and/or translate it?

baboon
May 2 2010 12:32

I agree with Ernie that the concern of the bourgeois is that is this a harbinger of "things to come". Events in Greece have so far been reported in terms of finances, German and EU politics and the intervention of Obama. Not any more. Yesterday's news coverage of unrest in Greece on the BBC took precedence over the most saturated British election coverage ever. This represents the fact that the ruling class has abandoned to some extent its classic tactic of "blackout" of the class struggle elsewhere and has to report on the importance of it. One senior BBC reporter even appeared sympathetic to the protests (in Athens anyway) saying that 'imagine low paid workers in London having to take a couple of hundred pounds hit a month on their wages' which they will have to. The news coverage in Britain yesterday represented the concern of the British bourgeoisie about the development of the crisis and the working class response to it.

Andros
May 2 2010 13:51

Getting the information out on the revolt in Greece seems pretty crucial for all of us, especially the German working class, which despite the news blackout on the struggle gets press as ‘well behaved employees responsibly, accepting longer hours, a higher retirement age, massive cuts to social services, happily submitting to the bosses under Harz IV for the greater good of the nation’. If the fears of the worlds ruling class against the “contagion of the Greek example” are anything to go by, the struggle in Germany and the rest of Europe is far from over. Things like translating taxikipalis’ post and anything that shows the battle is just beginning, can help in generalizing the beginnings of a unified response to a global ruling class that works so hard at keeping us uninformed and divided.

Andros

iaourti iaourtaki
May 2 2010 14:38

@Andros,
i don't see the german working class as a main target, of those who still have their jobs are so many that are fucking rich: frat cars, house, kinda "every month a new cellphone" and they are just a different class that is closer to the bosses and the politicians than to the worldwide proletariat. if one needs to get targeted it's the (sub) prols, the unemployed and the low waged hard workers, the old, the women, the young and the disabled, aso - socalled precariat too. but they can think for themselves and their mood is getting angrier...
There is not enough time and people to start real information, what we can do is to mirror it in struggles: learn from Greece as Greeks wanna learn from the rest of the world too: Argentina f.i. or 6000 on the mayday demo in Sanfran against the new rascist police laws in Arizona.
Thing is that this online world is not reliable and i doubt it's impact. I think we should organize a congress at some place that is cheap enough and reachable to host as many fuckers of the a-team as possible and work on it before concentrated so that we don't need to talk too much! i would suggest Berlin cuz of it's many former squats or Liège in Belgium at the ABC-festival next weekend...

mikail firtinaci
May 2 2010 16:10

In turkey the new of greece are rarely covered. In a liberal newspaper -radikal- the issue was passingly mentioned... However the big issue for the media was the first of may in Taksim square in İstanbul. Taksim was banned for the may days since 1977 massacre where government agents fired on the workers indiscrimantely killing more then 30. Since then there were constant clashes with police to go to the Taksim square every may day till this year.

iaourti iaourtaki
May 2 2010 18:34

Yeah, and the turkish government wants to give the greek government 5(?) billions...
Mikis Theodorakis doesn't like that... and also wrote something like "aborting the Greeks"

taxikipali
May 2 2010 19:43

Thanks for all the perspectives given here.

There has been a deluge of reactions to the announcement of the measures by the PM today: ADEDY has called for a 48h for the 4th and 5th of May declaring that "Today the government has moved to the official announcement of bankruptcy for the lives of employees, pensioners and the unemployed [...] society is turning into a volcano". At the same time teachers have also announced a 48h strike for the same days and a 3h stoppage for Monday. It is indicative that shop-owners have announced that they will participate in the general strike of the 5th of May called by the GSEE. Readers are reminded that municipal workers have called for a 24h on Monday.

baboon
May 2 2010 20:15

iaourti, what are the positive lessons of Argentina that the Greeks have to learn? I totally disagree with your position about the working class in Germany being close to the German bourgeoisie - this is precisely the crap that the latter lays on the former, you parrot it well. If you start dismissing sectors of the working class because their rate of exploitation is higher and they end up with marginally and ephemerally higher wages as a result, then you must obviously end up dismissing layer after layer, completely undermining the unity of the working class - an essential quality needed to effectively fight against and hold back these attacks.

Andros shows the attack on the working class in Germany and it is important for the news of what's happening in Greece (and analysis about it) to get here and be discussed and disseminated given the national ideological campaign against them particularly.

On a lighter note, yesterday and today British TV news has repeatedly shown the clip of a riot cop with his left trouser leg well ablaze and his extremely bright colleague trying to put it out with half-hearted blows from a truncheon.

iaourti iaourtaki
May 2 2010 20:32

your article (with a few more details for german speakers) translated here:
http://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/19873

Samotnaf
May 3 2010 05:42

There's a good chance that a major bank in Greece will declare bankrupcty today. What will be the domino effect of this?

from_gr
May 3 2010 08:24

In Thessaloniki, teachers have occupied the 'διεύθυνση πρωτοβάθμιας εκπαίδευσης' of the district and call for an open assembly at 17:00.

If someone can translate...

Samotnaf, a bankruptcy could make things move even faster, but it's not a good idea to comment information that is not verified, don't you think? Anyway, the movement does not care if the capitalist economy is saved or not.

Juan Conatz
May 3 2010 09:17

When it comes to media coverage of Greece in the U.S:

About a month ago (and I'm assuming still) the New York times featured Greece on the front of the business section pretty much every day. It was usually juxtaposed with a picture from the protests and actions against the austerity measures.

I also remember about 3 months ago, the luny right wing TV personality Glenn Beck had a whole show on the Greece situation and the prospects of that type of violence happening in the U.S.

iaourti iaourtaki
May 3 2010 11:56

(looks like it's getting a bit too much right now and if we wanna keep this discussion going on i suggest to transfer it into the forum)

hey red ass!

FIRST: The "Greeks" (plus 1.5 millions of socalled migrants?) HAVE to learn nuthing! I just figured that some of them check a bit deeper in what was/is going on in Argentina and elsewhere and if one reads fliers from Greece it's sounding like good analysis of the world-wide struggles... As it looks like that there are coming up more and more autonomous unions THEY gave Argentina beside the occupied bike factory from germany - which is history now but produced bikes with the black cat on it one could also order at plasticbomb mailorder and a bikecourier from Hamburg made a docu-film of - as an example. They write about several occupied factories. As far as i know it were around 200! It were always defunct factories (like for in Greece that would be the ELITE shoe factory) that got occupied by the workers and they selfmanaged the production. The different numbers could come from that some of them are made legal by state after long stuggles... If that's a "lesson" then because this developement came out of Argentina was bankrupt!
SECOND and regarding the "german" working class: Since years the story goes like - and in some cases similiar to Greece - the fucked up and corrupt unions tame the workers and don't call for strikes and other actions and they are always tricky. Sure they are tricky and they have some special people in their organizations paid for!
But - and i give an example from Greece - what is about the workers own responsibility? The national print office in Athens was occupied 9 days refusing to print the law of measures and the union-dudes lied to them that the government will work over the text and change it. The workers believed it and ended the occupation! So who is to blame: the unions or the workers for being naiv! ?
In all working class struggles in germany where non-union members were involved it worked always like this and as i know, very often it were the same workers for over twenty years in several fights and it looks like they never learn and get themselve organized independantly... It's a (today?) typical german thing to drink beers and talk shit about the bosses and the politicians like talking about weather and it changes nothing cuz talk is cheap and they still vote!
Just look inside a car-factory, where workers were paid much more than elsewhere - except from some builders f.i. - but the job in this factories isn't hard stuff anymore, it's not like in the seventies or eighties! So, and then you check for one of the most dangerous and hardest jobs around: bike-messenger, poor paid and so fucking unsteady and it's getting worse and worse!
On the one hand you have worker aristocrats and on the other hand sub-prols and proletarized former students or whatever and none of them is taking up the fight!
IF the workers of OPEL/GM would occupy their factories and start producing what do you think they will produce? Some shit people really need or some more useless and dangerous cars? Some Jeeps that shouldn't be allowed to move in the streets because they belong to the deserts? Some electrocars that waste the same amount of co2 as normal cars and for the fuel they destroy even more nature? Or some bike-cars or bikes?
The money that the german parliament has to vote for and will borrow the greek government/banks will find it's secret paths back into germany's car and tanks/submarine industries!
There are so many "poor" unemployed car drivers that it's really amazing. Cars are luxury and if people have the money to drive their cars and buy more shit and shit who shall start a social revolt?
ANARCHIST PROLETARIANS!
but that's not the "working class"
As you may figure messengers are freelancers and most of them are forced to be independant contractors - like workers in so many other sectors too! - and they have to ask for welfare! At least since the reform of the healthcare-system that forces small scaled "businessmen" into it! And all the new laws against tax-fraud they didn't made for the man but for this workers and it's just the fucking same situation like in Greece - except from the welfare system of that you can only benefit if you do what the agency tells you to do and if you are a bit dizzy or some shithead stole your mail you can get kicked out of welfare very fast!
Coming back to the builders: Only few of them are still good paid - and sure it's a wonder but lots of these are also freelancers - most of the builders are from eastern europe badly exploitated or some german unemployed "criminals" who work "illegal" and have to kill their capo to get paid or call the Hells Angels...
Divide and conquer works cool in Teutonia and it's nearly impossible to face actions like in Athens where steady and unsteady workers fight together cuz NORMALLY the german worker thinks it's better if his friend gets kicked out of job than he!
And later on they will all together blame the bosses and drink their beers and figure how useless it is to fight, look for a néw source of money of that they can buy useless shit that makes them happy like kids in kindergarten and they will never think of 2 million murdered people in Kongo that have to die for god made rights to own cell phones or they just think they own the oil of Arabia (not understanding that most of their oil comes from the northsea and from Lybia; the main reason germany wasn't involved in Iraq!) or behave like Herrenmenschen that bring their money as tourists to the lazy south-europeans or suffering indians of them they stole "their" coffee, corn, pumpkins, sugar, gold, potatoes, beans aso.
May be they think of africans but only if it's soccer-time!
To learn more about german working class/ proletarian actions it could be possible to find some about it in WILDCAT - that is sometimes partly written in English. Sorry i have no link but i remember some years ago some Wobblies in Chitown loved it!
FREE THE ATHENS 6!

iaourti iaourtaki
May 3 2010 21:54

solidarity-action callout by attac and lefties for the 5th at 10 a.m. in front of Mrs Merkel's office

twah
May 4 2010 06:22

@Samotnaf don't get to excited yet:

"There's a good chance that a major bank in Greece will declare bankrupcty today. What will be the domino effect of this?"

With 20bn euro of this "rescue package" earmarked for the greek banks, plus another 40bn euro extra in credit garauntees from the greek sate, and the ECB now promising to garauntee all government bonds, this is all about protecting the greek banks and bankers' bonusses in france and germany.

Rats
May 4 2010 16:29

On the news on may day here they talked about the state/imf deals, but also said 'workers are angry' and showed those pictures of the people with red flags bashing cops, and a cop getting set on fire. It was very refreshing, the rest of the show was boring! smile

Samotnaf
May 5 2010 07:21

French news yesterday spent a lot of time giving publicity to the CPs activities in Greece - but nothing, for instance, about the independent teachers actions. Obviously the media will be increasingly forced to talk about the social movement in Greece - whilst obviously making sure that is presented as a special case, of only vicarious significance to us in the "secure" (ho ho) nations. And it will tend to show actions as being leftist party organised or specifically "anarchist". Independent actions that don't fit into these categories will either be ignored or be presented in terms of these categories.
As for the difference between how it's presented in places like the US or the UK and places like France - I guess that comes down to the relative threat to hierarchical power in the different countries. In France, there are loads of - at the moment, fairly small - independent actions going on all over the place that can only be kept track of by looking at all the various online reports or having access to all the local regional news (an enormous research effort) or knowing peope involved or living in all these various areas who know about things never reprted either in the dominant media or the online media. In the UK and the US the class strugge is far more marginal than here in France - hence the difference, I guess.

twah:

Quote:
@Samotnaf don't get to excited yet:

"There's a good chance that a major bank in Greece will declare bankrupcty today. What will be the domino effect of this?"

With 20bn euro of this "rescue package" earmarked for the greek banks, plus another 40bn euro extra in credit garauntees from the greek sate, and the ECB now promising to garauntee all government bonds, this is all about protecting the greek banks and bankers' bonusses in france and germany.

You're right - I had "inside information" from before the weekend, but a weekend is a long time in political-economy, as Harold Wilson almost said...I was showing off about how much I knew, but clearly if what you know doesn't keep abreast of reality, you "get excited" for nothing, and your knowledge falls flat. Still, I could turn out "right" after another week-end, but then it goes without saying that , as the saying goes,"a stopped clock is always right twice in the day".
from_gr:

Quote:
it's not a good idea to comment information that is not verified, don't you think? Anyway, the movement does not care if the capitalist economy is saved or not.

Agreed about the first sentence - the second one is dubious: the capitalist economy will always be saved until the movement abolishes it, and we're a long way from that. Bankrutpcy doesn't mean it has not been saved. But maybe I'm being pedantic.