New week of strikes in Greece

Striking civil servants march

Customs officers, petrol carrying lorries, taxi drivers and Ministry of Economics workers go on strike this week against the austerity measures.

After the end of the bleakest carnival since the collapse of the junta, a new wave of strikes is threatening to bring Greece to a standstill.

Customs officers have once again gone on strike in protest to the austerity measures. The strike lasting from today (Tuesday 16) to Thursday 18 of February is going to see all export-import activities in the country come to a halt. In combination with the 3-day strike of customs officers starting today, the announcement of a 24h strike for Friday by petrol-carrying lorry drivers (who warn that they may extend their strike into the weekend) is expected to create serious fueling problems to the country. Already yesterday (a national holiday) long lines of cars tried to secure fuel in the few open stations across greece. The 1,300 lorry drivers are striking against the tax reforms introduced as part of the austerity measures. Also some 3,500 public-service lorries and truck drivers are warning they might join the strike on Friday in response to the austerity measures. Taxi drivers have also announced a new 24-h strike for Friday.

At the same time public sector workers employed under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economics have gone today on a 4-day strike against the austerity measures. The sectors that will subsequently see a week-long freeze (as last Monday was a national holiday) include: the State Chemical Lab (central FDA premises), the State Accounting Office, the National Statistical Bureau, the State Loans Office, the Capital-Market State Committee and all the central services of the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Finance. In short, all state-related transactions apart from the tax office will be halted.

The strikes come as warning of further austerity measures are aired in the bourgeois media who have launched a sustained propaganda campaign against the strikers.

On other news from greece:

In the city of Volos workers of the METKA heavy industry complex successfully blockaded the factory's gates this morning in a first act of resistance to the vengeful lay-off of three syndicalist workers. The industrial action has received the solidarity of Private Education Workers of Patras.

In Salonica a large anarchist protest march took to the streets of Tumba in response to a fascist attack on Fabrika Yfanet, the country's largest squat. The fascists sneaked into the massive squat and after unsuccessfully trying to set fire on its residential section tried to attack the assembly hall where people were holding a meeting. The fascists were soon led to a retreat but at the point of exiting the squat chasing them, the squatters were attacked by riot police forces in what seems to be a highly coordinated operation of terror.

In Athens, in the early hours of Tuesday, in what the media claim to be a rare standoff between the police and urban guerrillas, while trying to check the passengers of a car, two policemen were immobilized and robbed of their guns and bullet-proof jackets. Despite extended manhunt and sustain road blockades the suspects were not apprehended. The incident comes as yet another embarrassment to the greek police.

Finally, an uprising occurred on Monday at the central police station of Tripoli. After a Palestinian refugee jailed in the premises tried to kill himself his inmates set fire to the police department causing its evacuation. The uprising has been repressed by use of riot-police forces.


Feb 16 2010 10:05

Update: According to the bourgeois media the customs officer strike has caused panic to drivers across the country with long car-lines at petrol stations. Many stations have already run out of fuel, while the rest have set an limit of 30E purchase per customer in order to avoid stocking-up and uneven distribution. The climate of panic is expected to peak in the following days with the start of the petrol-lorry drivers strike.

At the same time, the Ministry of Development is holding talks with the last standing farmer's blockade in Promahonas (the one blocking the main Greek-Bulgarian border crossing). The borders will remain open during the talks to de-congest hundreds of cars fixed at the borders. The farmers of Promahonas are the last to hold on to their blockade despite the dirty war waged against them. The latter included the decision of the Greek Red Cross to abandon the blockading farmers in sub-zero temperatures without medical support "because they would not negotiate with the government". The decision was taken by the Chief of the Greek Red Cross Mr Martinis, one of the most corrupt doctors in the country who had recently sent parastate thugs against the occupiers of the Drakopoulos Park which the Red Cross and the Municipality of Athens wanted to turn into yet another parking lot.

Feb 16 2010 17:51

Update2: A 24h all-worker strike for the 18th of February has been called at the city of Volos in response to the above mentioned lay-off of three syndicalist workers at the heavy industry unit of METKA. The strike has been called by the Labour Centre of the city, the oldest in the country.

At the same time, workers organised under the Union of Mining Stations of the National Electric Company (DEH) in Megalopolis occupied for three hours the headquarters of the DEH, reacting to a decision by the government to freeze hiring of new stuff. The workers have warned of a climax of labour action if the measures are not reversed.

Meanwhile in Athens during a battle between the police and two men who are believed to be involved in the earlier stand-off described in the original post above (an information not yet verified by ballistics), one bystander construction worker lost his life by a bullet. The battle unfolded in the eastern suburb of Byronas. Two policemen have been hospitalised with heavy hand-grenade injuries, while the two men have been arrested. Media reports claim that they turned out to be not urban guerrillas but wanted bank robbers.

Feb 16 2010 19:23

Update3: At 19:50 local time, a bomb exploded at the Athens headquarters of JPMorgan. The explosion has caused severe material damage but no human injuries as there was a 30-minute warning call to the press so that the building is evacuated. The blast took place in Kolonaki, Athens' most exclusive and heavily guarded area. No guerrilla group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Feb 17 2010 13:54

Update4: Pharmacists have announced a 24h strike for Monday 22 of February across Greece in response to the austerity measures. They warn this is only a warning strike. At the same time trolley-bus drivers in Athens have announced a six hour stoppage between 11:00 and 16:00 for Friday as a first move against the austerity measures. The stoppage is expected to create big problems in the capital as taxi-drivers have also called a 24h strike for the day.

Meanwhile, workers of the prestigious Agra publishing house have called an 24h strike in response to the lay-off of a fellow-worker. At the same time the customs officers strike has created severe lack of fuel (more than 50% of stations have run out) on the island of Crete. Finally, the killing of the 25 year old father by police bullets during the battle in Byronas has caused widespread public dismay, especially after the chief of police called the operation "successful" and the Minister of Public Order refused to acknowledge any blame for the police, insisting instead to introduce an extra motorised force of 2,000 men in the capital. In a rare moral contrast, the wounded bank-robber of Albanian descent has offered to cover all expenses for the dead man's baby-orphan until adulthood.

Jason Cortez
Feb 17 2010 15:01

Thanks for these, keep on keeping us upated. Nice one

Feb 17 2010 19:43

Upadate5: The first day of the trial of Alexandros Grigoropoulos murderers after the restart of the trial ended today with tension building between the forensics doctor who sat as a witness and the lawyer of the cops. The doctor described his autopsy of the crime in detail enraging the defense lawyer who claimed the evidence presented are false. The killed boy's mother refused to testify due to psychological stress.

On other news, a new bomb exloded today in Athens, this time at the political office of the Minister of Public Order Mr Chrisochoidis. The explosion occurred despite efforts of the police to diffuse the bomb by means of a controlled explosion. The bomb has caused material damages to the office but no human injuries. The majority of the bourgeois media are trying to hide the police gaffe, while at the same time downplaying yesterday's guerrilla attack at the heart of the greek capitalist-statist complex.