"State of war" declared by Greek PM

pensioner attacked by riot police

The greek PM, Giorgos Papandreou, has declared the country in "a state of war" after extended meetings with the EU economics commissioner Mr Rehn, leading workers to declare more strikes.

After two days of council with the EU commissioner Mr Rehn, the Greek Prime Minister and President of the Socialist International, Mr Giorgos Papandreou has announced that the country is in a state of war against its economic predicament. The anouncement was made in the Socialist Party's Parliamentary Committee Assembly, which bourgeois media describe as particularly bitter and stormy with many top PASOK members resenting the PM's austerity decisions. In an earlier declaration to the press, he had claimed that the state has money for no longer than a week to go. The meaning of the PM's dramatic words might be no more than another effort to mobilise public defeatism and national consensus around the crippling austerity measures. Despite claims by local and international media, based on data from ill-reputed public opinion companies, the vast majority of the greek people are bitterly against the demanded sacrifices. A more darkly scenario circulating in Athens is that the "state of war" rhetoric is in fact a prelude to a "state of siege" which will suspend the articles of the constitution protecting striking and protesting.

Angered by the aggressive moves of the government which in effect go back on all its pre-election program, ADEDY, the public sector umbrella union has announced a 4h stoppage for next Monday and a 24h strike for the 16th of March. The union is holding talks with the GSEE (private sector CGT-type umbrella) for a new general strike soon. At the time of writing kiosks across the country remain closed due to a 24h strike, while taxi drivers have gone on a 48h strike across the country with motorised demos in Salonica and Athens. In Athens taxis formed a 5km long demonstration, while a scab spotted near the mobilisation was attacked by strikers. Yesterday the EU commissioner Mr Rhen had to visit the Ministry of Labour from the back door as clashes were developing between riot police and protesters who had managed to destroy the medal rolling bars of the Ministry in an effort to storm the building. Meanwhile tax officers have announced another 48h strike for the 8th and 9th of March.

The labour struggle of the Egyptian fishermen in Michaniona has come under renewed bosses attack, when yesterday night 60 thugs payed by the fishboat bosses attacked the houses of the Egyptian workers and beat them brutally.

Meanwhile, in the city of Yannena the headquarters of PASOK were occupied by anarchists protesting against the arrest of 11 protesters during the Byronas march last Saturday. All of the arrested have been released today, one of them on the conditions of not leaving the country.

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Mar 2 2010 17:36


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Mar 2 2010 19:21

Update: School teachers have been the first to react to the new austerity package which will be officially revealed tomorrow and is believed to include a freeze on pensions and a curtailing of salaries. Tomorrow teachers have called for a demo outside the Ministry of Finance, while they also called a protest march for Thursday afternoon in Athens. The teachers' union (OLME) has also called for a demo outside the State Accountancy for the 10th of March and a 4h stoppage for both the 3rd and 10th of March. At the same time, the nurses national union has called for strikes and demos for the 4th and 18th of March.

Mar 3 2010 15:07

Update2: Clashes broke out today between pensioners and riot police when the formers' protest march tried to break the police cordon protecting the PM's headquarters (Maximou Mansion) in central Athens. Videos of the clashes can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A77GAVTLKFU&feature=player_embedded and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1kIFyHjBa4&feature=player_embedded

PASOK has a previous record of sending the riot police thugs against elderly pensioners, although probably due to the general tension this time police brutality did not reach late 1990s levels. Police violence against the pensioners is highly symbolic and is expected to fuel the struggles against the dictatorial economic measures of the government.

The clashes came as the government has announced more austerity measures including 30% cut in the 13th and 14th salary, and 12% cuts in leave payments of public sector employees, in reality amounting to cutting one salary. Immediately after the announcement of the measures the Communist Party umbrella union PAME called for demos this afternoon across Athens, while Radical Left unionists have called a demo in Propylea for today afternoon. Leftist groups have also called for a march this afternoon in Salonica, while tomorrow students and base-level unions of teachers and book workers have called for for a march in Salonica too.

The new measures are expected to lead to a snowball of strikes, protest marches and occupations across the country as all measures hit middle and low economic classes while leaving the rich untouched. The greek newspapers forntpages today were indicative of the tension, with head titles ranging from "State of War" to "Crucifixion Today". The government's decisions have come under attack by all parties of the opposition, indicating that there is little space for consensus even amongst the bosses on the measures taken.

Mar 3 2010 19:44

Update3: PAME has called a general strike for Friday 5 of March. Meanwhile, the 21 year old boy kept in custody in relation to the Nuclei of Fire Case against who the police holds only a single fingerprint on an empty supermarket bag has been released. At the same time a new guerrilla group calling itself Revolutionary Continuity has claimed responsibility for the bomb at JP Morgan's Athens headquarters though a long and economically dense communique to the daily Eleftherotypia. Finally, the Special Commission on Data has ruled that collecting and storing DNA from people detained and arrested as well as using cameras without a special order of the persecuting authorities are anti-constitutional. The ruling smashes the legislation promoted under the previous administration which was put in effect last summer by its State Attorney General and notorious junta quisling Mr Sanidas.

Mar 4 2010 08:24

Update4: PAME has occupied the Finance Minister dropping a huge banner against the measures. It has also called for marches in 62 towns and cities across the country for this afternoon. In Ioannina a protest march against the measures is currently underway, organised by leftist groups. ADEDY's president has warned that whoever tries to implement the salary cuts will see himself behind bars, calling for a demo this afternoon at Propylea, Athens. The cutting of salaries is anti-constitutional in greece. At the same time nurses in Salonica have occupied the building of the Healthcare Organisation for Civil Servants denouncing the measures and media propaganda regarding cooperation and national consensus. Layed-off Olympic Airways workers have also occupied indefinately the General State Accountancy.

We stand corrected on Update2, as not all opposition parties have rejected the measures: the fascist party LAOS honoring its junta past has sided with the government in the pillaging of the greek people.

Mar 4 2010 11:52

Update5: ADEDY and GSEE have called for a 4h stoppage tomorrow and a central protest march in the streets of Athens. Teachers have for their part called a 24h strike for tomorrow. At the same time school traffic wardens in Northern Greece have called for a 3 day strike starting on Monday. Meanwhile the municipal offices of PASOK in Arta have been smashed by what appears to be sponteneous violence against the measures. Workers of the textile, clothing and leather industries have also called a 24h strike for tomorrow. Finally PAME also occupied the County headquarters of Trikala.