Repression escalates across Greece with arbitrary arrests, house searches and intimidation of the legal defence

Since the shooting of a riot-policeman in Exarheia on Monday 4/1, repression has taken the form of arbitrary house searches, arrests of anarchists, and widespread intimidation. Nevertheless, the movement is still on the streets with ptorest marches and new occupations throughout the country.

After the suspicious shooting against one riot police squad outside the Ministry of Culture on Monday 4/1 3:00 am, that has left one riot-policeman seriously wounded by AK bullets, and is alleged to be an act of armed revenge on part of the leftist urban guerrilla group “Revolutionary Struggle”, the entire area of Exarheia was cordoned off by police forces that unleashed a mass pogrom against anyone who happened to be drinking at the bars of the neighbourhood. 72 people were detained and many more beaten and abused as riot police units forced bars close leading even their employees to the Athens police HQs for questioning. The following morning found Exarheia still off limits with hundreds of police uniformed and undercover as well as a large contingence of the antiterrorist bureau in control of the area. The Polytechnic was ordered to close for the day. Forced to release all 72 detained on lack of any evidence, the police shifted its strategy of intimidation by arbitrarily breaking in houses in the wider area and detaining scores of people based on their ideological profile as anarchists. Five of the detained have been since charged with ridiculous accusations of ‘arms possession’ for Swiss knifes and decorative Chinese swords, a parody of justice that has led to further public dismay.

As a final act of arbitrariness, on Wendesday 7/1, the police of Exarheia broke in the apartment of the lawyer Stavroula Yannakopoulou, known for her defence of political prisoners and victims of state repression. The lawyer arrived at her apartment after work to find the door smashed and her belongings in utter chaos. She first believed there had been a burglary and called at the Exarheia police station to report the crime: “I was rebuked by a plainclothes policeman who told me it was not a burglary and I should split! The same man reassured me nothing had been taken from or placed in my house by the police!”, reported the militant lawyer. According to Greek law house searches can only happen with the presence of the inhabitant or a neighbour. Yet the police failed even to post the required order of search on the house door after the end of the investigation. Neighbours reported that there were so many people going in and out of the apartment and making so much noise they thought the lawyer was having a party. The representative of the Lawyers Association, Costas Papadakis, also a defendant of political prisoners in the past, claimed that “this action is not the first one in our times, and is a message to lawyers who, doing their vocation, take up the defence of people accused for supposed terrorist acts, as well as items of police fabrications and state repression”. The Alternative Initiative of Athens Lawyers has condemned this “effort to terrorise” which cannot stand in the way “of the defence of social and civil rights”.

Similar arbitrary house searches were conducted in provincial cities, while in the northern industrial city of Ptolemaida a student and pupil public gathering was surrounded by riot-police forces that arrested the entirety of the rally in a move reminiscent of the military dictatorship of the 1970s – four people have been charged with “resistance against authority” receiving sentences of 2 to five months imprisonment.

Despite the climate of state-terror, the inhabitants of Exarheia refuse to bow to state terror and on the 5/12 organised a protest march against what they terms “the return of Nazi occupation”. The protest march started from the spot of the assassination of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, walked through the spot of the Monday armed attack against the MAT and returned to the square of the neighbourhood chanting anti-police slogans. At the same time, moves of solidarity to the prisoners of the insurgency and to Konstantina Kuneva, the syndicalist cleaner attacked with acid, go unabated. In Thessaloniki the offices of the Lawyers Association have been occupied, while the city’s central Labour Inspection Bureau was attacked and smashed by protesters in solidarity to Kouneva. In Athens, the Municipal Cultural Center of Byronas, a department of the capital on the slopes of Mt. Imitos, has been occupied by locals demanding total disarming of the police, immediate release of arrested insurgents, abolition of the anti-terrorist law, end of bosses terror against autonomous syndicalists like Kouneva, and an end to forest demolition for the construction of a bypass in the area.

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Jan 9 2009 14:01


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Kaze no Kae
Jan 11 2009 01:36

It seems more likely that the shooting was done by agents provocateurs. Golden Dawn, or the like.

Maybe my expectations are too high, but surely anyone would realise shooting a pig would lead to this - if it was genuinely a revolutionary/a revolutionary group, then surely they wouldn't stop at one pig, they'd go for the whole force so that the manpower wouldn't exist for retaliatory repression.

Fascists, on the other hand, have every reason to want this to happen. I see no reason to believe that the rumours of Revolutionary Struggle involvement weren't spread deliberately by the same fascists, for that matter, in order to spread the seeds of suspicion in the popular movement - that has, after all, been a classic fascist tactic for decades. Its what made COINTELPRO famous.