Reactions towards latest arrest in relation to Nuclei of Fire in Athens

Reactions towards the latest arrest in relation to urban guerrilla group Nuclei of Fire, as lack of evidence points at criminalisation of the anarchist scene in toto.

After an initial freeze, the arrest of a 22 year old girl last Friday in relation to the urban guerrilla group Nuclei of Fire Conspiracy (also transl. as Cells of Fire), reactions start pouring both by the guerrilla group itself, and by aspects of the social anarchist movement. Given the only evidence for the arrest is a single fingerprint on a movable object found in what the State calls the safe-house of Chalandri (site of the first arrests in late September), the latest arrest seems to be a bold motion by the State to criminalise the entire anarchist-antiauthoritarian scene, and keep its thousands of members hostage to fear of secret warrants, in breach of the greek constitution. Antigone, the girl arrested on Friday, had not been notified of a warrant against her person, thus breaching her constitutional right to present herself to the authorities and thus claim clemency on account of voluntary surrender to the law. Antigone had been one of the dozens of young people arrested during the massive and riotous protest march of March 8 2007, on the day of the parliamentary vote on an educational reform bill that had plunged the greek universities in year-long occupations and strikes. It is striking that the police moved to arrest her in public although Antigone has been making a monthly testimony to her local police station twice monthly as part of her parole from custody pending her trial for more than two years.

The state of fear desired to be imposed on the social antagonistic movement on part of the State is characterised by endless articles in the bourgeois press talking about "200 people encircled" by the secret services, and "immediate arrest of 25 to 50 more suspects". At the same time the Minister of Public Order is portraying himself as a paternal protectionist figure, expressing his "deep sorrow and dispair" over the future of the fugitives, who he is most theatrically pleading to surrender in every televised opportunity.

The response of the urban guerrilla group Nuclei of Fire Conspiracy came on Monday 16-11, with a communique claiming responsibility for the bomb attack against the house of Mr Androulakis, a communist turncoat and government MP. In the long communique, the guerrillas refer to the latest arrest in the following words:

"Life is too vast for one to accept the consequences with no suspicion". The scene tends to become familiar, annoyingly familiar...A few hours after our attack against the strawman Androulakis, the Antiterrorist Bureau arrested in Exarheia a 22 year old young girl, supposedly as a member of our organisation. The similarities with the first arrests and the notorious "safe-house" in Chalandri are outrageously quaint. The girls was already known to the authorities as she gave testimony every month as her local police station, due to an arrest during clashes in a protest march (and this is to her honour). The guys in Chalandri were equally known [to the authorities], as according to the police they were under close surveillance during the period prior to their arrest. How is it then possible that those very persons known to and followed closely by the police, to be simultaneously partaking in bomb attacks in the same period. And, at the same time, their arrest being symptomatically (?) made only hours after one of our attacks. This agony of the persecuting authorities to express their real incapability to "crack us", as a success is troubling us.
For such successes are burdened on the shoulders of people who, though the cops know they are unrelated to us. are persecuted so as to send a concrete message: "as long as you keep hitting we shall be arresting more people". An informal blackmail...The easiness with which the police is raising at will the number of our members is by the way characteristic. In the beginning they would talk about 1-15 people, then about 2-25, whereas lately in some articles they refer to up to 50-60 people. Their intentions are obvious. They are constructing an open theorem so as to be able to charge with heavy accusations anyone expressing "deviant behaviours" with ragard to the social norms. If in Italy the district attorneys needed to contstuct O.R.A.I (a ghost-organisation that existed only in the mind and for the purposes of the authorities - see the Marini Case), so as to imprison tens of anarchists with no evidence, now in Greece their colleagues want to "use" the Nuclei of Fire Conspiracy for precisely the same reason".

On the social side of things anarchist, one of central Athens newest squats, has published a condemnation of Antigone's arrest, claiming it to be part of a general plan to intimidate the movement:

"On Friday 13/11 on midnight a group of plain-clothed policemen was hiding at Patision and Hipeirou junction. In our squat (just 50 meters away) a birthday party was taking place with hundreds of people. Four of them left at dawn for their homes and reaching the junction were abducted by the plain-clothed policemen, who put them in cars loaded with "anti"terrorist agents wearing hoods. The next day at 15:00, 3 of the abducted were set free, while a comrade (Antigone) was held on the bases of an arrest warrant issued on Thursday 12/11 for her participation in the "Nuclei of Fire Conspiracy". The incriminating evidence against her was one fingerprint on a mobile item found in the notorious "safe-house" of Chalandri. A "safe-house" that amounts to no more than the house of one of the 3 people held in custody since the end of September, accused as members of the same organisation. A house, in other words, that has been christened a "safe-house" so as to validate the scenario that wants anyone visiting it incriminated as "a member of a terrorist group" according to the terror-law. This anyway was to begin with the framework of the repressive scheme, from the initial 4 arrests, the custody of the 3 and the immediate issuing of 6 arrest warrants and the subsequent issuing of another 5, and the arrest of Antigone: the criminalisation of interpersonal, social and comradely relations and the creation of more and more "hostages" for the show-off of an "anti"terrorist performance, by parading the arrested in the TV channels as trophies of some police success.

The choice of arresting the comrade outside the squat and not just anywhere else in the city (e.g. in her house or in the police station where she had to appear on the 1st and 15th of each month due to the student movement in 2006/07) is not at all accidental. The scenario which has been played many more times, is replayed -in a low-key tone- this time too: the liberated squatted spaces are refuges for the wanted and the launching bases of arson and armed attacks. A scenario which -amongst many others- is valorised as a war measure against the anarchist-antiauthoritarian scene and against wider social segments which are resisting and not assimilated to the demands of the dominant ideology. It is a preventive war-campaign against the people who rebelled last December and it continues, either individually or through organised collectives, to pose a threat to the constitution of social consensus towards the plans of the state and capital for the conservation of social peace and exploitative power relations.

We are reserving ourselves towards a more spherical analysis in the near future with regard to the evolving repressive scheme and its wider prospects through the general context of the repressive strategy of the state in the hands of the new administration, and we are setting a date with everyone in solidarity, for the courts where, on Monday, Antigone will be presented to the state inquisitor.

Solidarity is our weapon
The only terrorist is the state
Patision 61 & Skaramaga Squat

It must be noted that Antigone has demanded and received a permit to appear before the state inquisitor on the 18th of November.

Posted By

Nov 16 2009 16:06


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Nov 16 2009 18:13

Thanks for all the posts TP, for non-Greek speakers you're a vital resource.

Can you give us an update on the prisoners' hungerstrike that you wrote started last week? You indicated there was to be some sort of special Ministers meeting to respond to it (last Thursday). Is the prisoner action ongoing, did the state agree any concessions?

Nov 16 2009 19:19

Thanks MH. I have neglected posting a followup on the latest prison struggle, so here it is:

In response to the prisoner's refusal of food (not a hunger strike per se, but a first step towards it, when prisoners refuse to attend the prison kitchen and survive on personal provisions) the Ministry of Justice has made a series of proposals which amount to the introduction of alternative social service for a series of prisonable crimes, as well as an abolition of custody for crimes that can be punished by a maximum of no more than 10 years in jail. According to all current information, as a result of more talks on further reform the refusal of food has been halted.

In a communique the Initiative for the Rights of Prisoners, the biggest organisation of its kind, allied with the radical left, announced as most decisions on custody are based on "the danger of committing more crimes", the new measures preserve the arbitrary ability of judges to keep a person in jail pending his or her trial. It also underlined that the general phrasing of the measures announced does not tackle the issue of drug-users who are kept in jail for 4/5 of their term in contrast to other prisoners who serve 3/5. The new measures abolish this difference, but does not introduce an actual equality of imprisonment conditions between the two categories, nor does it tackle the issue of unfavourable conditions of imprisonment for political prisoners ("terrorists"). At the same time the new measures fail to abolish the humiliating measures of searching prisoners, nor does it provide guarantees of adequate medical care or extra-prison social control on the conditions of jails (not even MPs are allowed to visit and inspect these). Finally, the new measures do not abolish the previous government's heinous revision of the right of leave, which is now made arbitrarily dependable on the whim of the prison authorities, not does it provide a framework for negotiating the nature of disciplinary penalties for inmates, a cause of much grief and anger.

Nov 16 2009 22:25

Thanks for that. Seems as if then that the state has for now managed to defuse the struggle with some small reforms and the 'promise' of more surprise given the month ahead.

When the mass prison revolt of November 2008 ended, prisoners also appeared to have won concessions, including i recall an agreement for a mass release of short-term prisoners by April 2009, and other concessions. Did the state then actually deliver on any of its promises? I'm presuming they didn't given what happened from December 08 onwards, but wondered if you are able to confirm any of this?

I've been looking into previous prison revolts in Greece, back to April 2007 (Malandrino prison and others), and am aware of others in the 1990's. However i am still struggling to comprehend how the Greek justice system, and prison regime, actually works ie its rules. Much of it seems entirely arbitrary! Would you be able to advise me of any useful english-language resource that may explain the system, at least in theory?

Nov 17 2009 17:10

Yes that seems to be the case indeed. All promises of the last government in response to the November 2008 hunger strike remain in paper.

If you are researching the prison system and the anti-prison struggle, one of the most important publications was the 1980s magazine "Tis Fylakis" (Of the Prison), though there are no translations of it to my knowledge. Today the left publishes "To Keli" (The Cell, while anarchists publish "Fotia sta Katerga" (Fire to the Dungeons - roughly transl.), none of which are in english. One of the most important moments of the prison struggle was the November 1995 prison uprising.

Finally it must be noted that in order to diffuse tension from the coming December, the trial of Alexandros' assassins has been moved to the 20th of January and will be held in the town of Amfissa despite the appeal of the boy's family that this jeopardizes the ability of witnesses (mostly workers and pupils) to attend.

As far as the Greek legal system is concerned, a general overview that might clear things out can be found at