Greek state racism escalates with pogrom in Patras, bullets in Athens, torture in Simi

fire torching the immigrants' settlement in Patras

The racist policies of the Greek government were stepped up last weekend with the violent evacuation and torching of the large Afghan immigrant settlement in Patras, shooting of immigrants in Omoinoia square and institutionalised torture of Pakistanis in the island of Simi.

The Greek state's response to the December Uprising and the politicisation of immigrants across the country has solidified in a programme of what critics are describing as "nazification" that includes open endorsement of neo-nazi vigilante combat groups, a series of the most repressive laws seen since the junta, and open attack against both the social antagonistic movement and immigrants across the country.

On early Saturday 11/7 morning armed Nazis riding a car drove by the heavily policed Omonoia square in down town Athens and opened fire on bystander immigrants near the offices of the Golden Dawn neo-nazi party. Three wounded immigrants were taken to hospital and are out of danger. Later the same night fascists set fire on Palio Efetio, the Old Appeal Court opposite their offices which is being squatted by immigrants and is being vilified by the bourgeois press.

The same day, the Pakistani Community denounced yet another incident of institutionalised stripping and torture committed by the fascist greek police in the island of Simi. For 8 hours Wassim Sanjat, Mazhjar Ali and Mohamet Ali were tortured: cops tortured Wassim by "placing a gun on his head, beating him with a glob and iron stick on the soles of his feet (a torture loved by the junta called phallanga) and on his bottom and stripping him again and again. The other two persons were severely beaten. The Pakistani Community demands the immediate punishment of the torturers-policemen.

In the early hours of Sunday 12/7 strong riot police forces surrounded the big Afghan immigrant settlement in Patras, cordoning off the area. The riot policemen then moved to evacuate the thousands of asylum seekers using maximum force, while bulldozers moved in to demolish their houses.During the evacuation operations, the settlement was 'mysteriously' set on fire, and torched to the ground. The settlement is believed to have been housing more than 2,000 Afghans and has been repeatedly targeted by fascists receiving the solidarity of a wide spectrum of progressive social forces in the city of Patras. The Red Cross has condemned the evacuation and torching of the settlement as 'terrorist'. The Communist Party (KKE) has condemned the attack as barbaric and the Coalition of Radical Left as 'beastial' and 'criminal'. The evacuated immigrants are held in concentration centers of zero hygienic facilities, host to continuing greek police torture and brutality.

These racist policies of the Greek state, which is endorsing parastate groups to 'clean and patrol' areas, comes in a climate of acute social antagonistic upheaval. Besides the continuing resistance locals of Grammaticos villages who rose against the construction of an open refuse dump in their area, erecting barricades and clashing with the police, last week saw a series of dynamic antifascist antiracist protest marches against State-nazi attacks against immigrants. At the same time, on the early hours of Saturday the house of the ex-Minister of Public Order (active during the December Uprising and Alexis Grigoropoulos assassination by the police) and ex-chief of the Greek Army, General Hinophotis, was bombed with a strong explosive device after prior warning call to the press. A few hours later earlier yet another armed attack against riot police forces occurred near the HQ of PASOK with no victims On the early morning Sunday, following the surge of State-fascist attacks the HQ camp of the riot police (MAT) in Athens came under attack by protesters which piled the riot policemen with stones leading to a half hour battle.

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Jul 13 2009 08:21


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Jul 13 2009 21:15

Molotov squads on every corner...should happen so these vehicles carrying fascist and police can be burned to shit.

Where are the Anarchists on the attack?

Jul 13 2009 22:22

This stuff from Greece recently is insane.

Is there much widespread support from the population for the state's policies?

Like are immigrants receiving some of the blame for the financial crisis say, or some of its consequences such as unemployment?

Jul 14 2009 06:32

This did make it to australian media last night(the eviction), reporters talked to one greek woman who said something along the lines of "it's about time, this has been a problem for too long, and finally the state has been forced to act!" and one of the demolition workers also drivelled some similar shit.

It'd be hard to know who's in favour of these policies. We could safely assume that no immigrant is going to be in favour. But we aren't seeing the greek media, so we don't know what people are seeing there. But then also it's likely that it all happened very quickly, seems like completely without warning, which would explain the lack of any solidarity at the site. If there'd been even a days warning we'd probably have seen the space defended.

Jul 14 2009 11:46

comparing the torching of immigrant settlements by fascist gangs in Greece to the historic kristallnacht in germany is confusing a racist attack with an organised and state incited anti-semitic pogrom on a national scale. while the immigration practice of bourgoise democratic states is racist, and approved by the majority, attacks like that are still a marginalised phenomenon.

Jul 14 2009 15:16

First of all, thank you all for your solidarity.
As about the torching of immigrant settlements not being like Kristallnacht, your reasoning is flawed comrade Hiroshima: the torching was part of an organised State plan of terror and has been condemned as such by the International Red Cross, plus the Greek state has announced the construction of concentration camps. Lets not delude ourselves, the Third Reich was not some metaphysical evil unique to history; it was the logical conclusion of bourgeois democracy under economic crisis defending itself from class war by turning it into racial war. The same is happening in Greece today. Oh by the way in the last month the Ioannina Jewish cemetery has been attacked more than five times by nazis, with absolute impunity.

Now as far as public support of the government's policies, generally speaking in the last eurolections the government and the fascist party together secured a mere 39% of the vote, with a loss of one million votes from the last elections and 50% absentia (cf the usual 15-20%). This in terms of liberal democracy. In terms of the street, the government's anti-immigration policy has been a desperate attempt to block the tide of social antagonistic movement that is rising since December. The government is expected to collapse either in September or latest in March due to its holding only one MP seat in majority. It is a frail maddened regime infested by scandal, failure and public hatred.

Jul 15 2009 17:06

mh...certainly its all fucked up, but there is a danger to slide into alarmism ....Bear in mind that panic is an effective weapon of the spectacular society.

Jul 16 2009 15:36
the Third Reich was not some metaphysical evil unique to history; it was the logical conclusion of bourgeois democracy under economic crisis defending itself from class war by turning it into racial war.

The 1,000-year pogrom is not a racial war; it's religious persecution. Jews are not a race.

Jul 16 2009 17:09
Frenzy wrote:
The 1,000-year pogrom is not a racial war; it's religious persecution. Jews are not a race.

They were considered as such by the Nazis and modern anti-semitic theorists. Moreover modern anti-semitism has a number of characteristics which seperate it from medieval anti-semitism, despite requiring it as a starting point (such as an identification of the Jews with the 'abstract' elements of capitalism such as finance, an irrational belief in their power and reach etc). This is a good summary of the argument.

Jul 16 2009 20:16

alright, thanks. That wasn't really a brief summary, but I looked up racial anti-semitism; and it's making more sense, now.

Jul 17 2009 02:59

Thanks Taxikpali. Your contributions are invaluable.

Don't be so sure that Kristallnacht was state-sponsored. The Nazis were celebrating the anniversary of their party, the NSDAP. On every single anniversary there had been an attempt on Hitler's life. On one occasion, there were two within hours of each other.
K'nacht was catalyzed when a German, Jewish communist, Herman Greenspun, assassinated the ambassador to France. According to Goebbel's diary, the news reached the revellers followed by reports of anti-Semitic riots. Hitler, as he had done on a few occasions in the past, ordered the Gestapo to intervene in defense of the Jews. Goebbels then suggested that whoever was behind the assassination was expecting Hitler to give such an order and maybe it was best to let things run its course.
Goebbels can hardly be regarded as a great source but it is likely that the Nazis didn't know about the plot against their ambassador in Paris and it is plausible that Goebbels gave such counsel under the circumstances. So at best it should be called state-tolerated violence.

Jul 17 2009 04:12
Don't be so sure that Kristallnacht was state-sponsored

So you think, up to 400 jews where killed without state-sponsoring? 1400 synagoges burnt because Hitler intervened in defense of the jewish community? 5.000 shops clashed without prior order? 30.000 jews put themselves into the nazi concentration camps after july 10? Your unhistorical speculations are as silly as they are factless. There is no Herman Greenspun for instance, you are talking of Herschel Grynszpan. He did not kill the ambassador at Paris. Ernst Eduard vom Rath was a diplomatic secretary in the ambassy, not the ambassador. You better start talking about things you know about. Otherwise you will as well end in imbecile comparisons like the one to compare Patras with the 1938 november progroms. Or even worse the attempt of some streight edge vegans to compare mass animal farming with Auschwitz.

Jul 17 2009 12:28

taxi - I've slightly edited the headline and article following this discussion, and to better reflect libcom's style guide.

What is happening is clearly awful, but at least in UK discourse comparison to Nazis is often counter-productive, as it can cause some people to just switch off.

So I have reworded a couple of things, and referred to " Nazification" as a descriptive word used by critics. This also matches our style guidelines for news articles, which is that we try not to use emotive language in news articles - but we can use them when expressed as opinions or quotes within the articles. You see what I mean?

Most people find this a much more palatable way of reading news and information.

If you disagree with my edits please drop me a message so we can discuss it further.

Again, thanks for keeping us up to date with all these developments.

Echoing another posters question above, have links between anarchists and migrants been strengthened in the course of these events? What about the conventional labour movement?

Jul 18 2009 09:09

That sounds fine Steven. In the last days it has been interesting to see how even the traditional right-wing press like Kathimerini is attacking the government on its dehumanising racist anti-immigration policy. The centre centre-left press is employing the 'nazification' discourse reproduced here.

Naturally links between anarchists and immigrants have been qualitatively as well as quantitatively strengthened due to the repression, but there is a consistent relation between the social antagonistic movement and the immigrants ever since the opening of the borders in the 90s. The relation brings panic to the government, and this is one of the reasons Pakistanis have been particularly targeted, due to their close links with marxist groups.

As far as the conventional labour movement is concerned, controlled as it is by PASOK and the KKE it is one the one hand condemning the state-fascist collaboration but doing nothing practically about it. Of course due to the summer season labour reflexes are at their lowest and we will have to wait till September for any concrete reactions to the resurgence of the junta droplets and their policies.

Jul 18 2009 10:40

some info/comment on the questions posed by Steven

have links between anarchists and migrants been strengthened in the course of these events?

There are some reports in Athens indymedia about refugees supporting anarchist actions from a distance, so to speak (shouting in support of passing demonstrations from their house windows) in Aghios Panteleimonas for instance, or about refugees confronting themselves fascists, in Attiki square. But refugees and immigrants have not joined anarchist ranks, which comes as no surprise with the scale of police targetting of immigrants, the frequency of sweep operations in the center of Athens - which are difficult for anyone to resist anyway - and the lack of previous solid and long bonds, of course... Some long existing links of comrades with street vendors have probably been strengthened.

It is true that the state is in fear of existing or potential strenthening of links between radicals and immigrants, or the radicalisation of immigrants (see also this), but this trend seems now to be clearly in the defensive, except for the sporadic anti-fascist confrontations.

Beyond the state repression preventing immigrant action and participation in anarchist actions, the focus of much of the anarchist scene in Athens seems to gradually shift to the rise and legitimation of fascist/para-state participation in the anti-immigrant events than the repression of immigrants itself. Linked to that is the preoccupation with the defence of targetted squats and the rumours of police preparing to "sweep" them – which produces introversion anyway. In some sense one gets the feeling that there is much more anti-fascist vigilance than effort to approach with the – remaining - migrants - which is perhaps reasonable but has the effect to be described below in relation with the Patras events. We have no knowledge for instance of squats in or out of “university asylum” protected premises hosting homeless refugees or anything of this sort.

[What is also important to note is that even Albanian or Polish immigrants allagedly supported the sans papiers “cleansing”of the Athens center. A very important announcement was made by the Haunt of Albanian Immigrants ( ) appealing to their fellow immigrants for solidarity with the targetted sans papiers and to people supporting immgirants for more practical, “everyday” forms of solidarity and approach - pity we havent had the time to translate this text in English yet].

A function of all the above is perhaps that few or no resources were channeled into organised responses against the other big, crucial and emblematic state project, the destruction of Patras Settlement, despite the circulating rumours about it and despite the fact that it would be a “one-off” operation - as it was – rather than a gradual process, as in Athens – Court of Appeals building.

What about the conventional labour movement?

What comrade taxikili notes above about the state-sanctioned labour movement (and the summer season, which applies to everyone) is true. KKE for instance made a good post factum condemnation of the Patras thing; its usefullness in the struggle is always limited by its "strategy"of not doing anything in cooperation with noone itdoesn't control.

The above were written - somehow hastingly - by sta. in Thessaloniki from clandestina network - "not-necessarily-relfecting-the-opinions-of-the-whole-group"...

Jul 18 2009 10:48

Cheers for the additional information guys.

Jul 18 2009 18:59

my apologies for the misspellings, [admin edit - flame deleted]. Your first question: yes. Are you suggesting that no anti-Semitism was present among the people? Your second question: no. If you were a literate bot you would see that I specified that, according to Goebbel's version of events, Hitler DIDN'T intervene, Goebbel's dissuaded him. [admin edit - flame deleted]. Your third question: What do you mean by "clashed." I'm going to guess that you mean vandalized. Yes. You are not suggesting that there has never been an outbreak of spontaneous violence in all of human history? Your fourth question: I made no statement at all about the encampment of any Jews, this is your own invention.
It's 'ahistorical,' not 'unhistorical.' I obviously was talking about things I knew about as you have confirmed. My point, minor errors notwithstanding, was that the murder in the embassy in France was the predicate for Kristallnacht. And, as you have confirmed, I am right. Hitler had written three open letters in the German press prior to K'nacht in which he denounced anti-Semitic violence and had called out the Gestapo to quell it. However obscene his distinction might be he pointed out that he was, an the Third Reich's official policy was, "intellectual anti-Semitism," which precludes the kind of "street thuggery" that Julius Streicher and other anti-Semites were calling for. It may be true that Hitler was going to do so again. Goebbel's account may be true as we know in this case there was no effort to stop the violence and no open letter from Hitler issuing subsequently.
[admin edit - flame deleted]

Jul 18 2009 19:22

kovallan, please leave insults out of your posts. We have a policy of no flaming in serious threads.

Kaze no Kae
Jul 19 2009 01:20

I was about to express shock that something even the Red Cross condemned hasn't made the international media, but then I realised it wasn't much different regarding the Gaza massacre in January either.

Hiroshima: This certainly sounds like a state-sponsored pogrom to me, but you're right we should avoid alarmism

Jul 19 2009 21:11

were are the anarchists in all this?

Jul 24 2009 17:56

AHTID if you follow past postings on the issue you will see where the anarchists are: on the street in solidarity to the immigrants.