Tension in Greece before critical weekend

Strikes, marches, blockades, occupations and nights of fire are setting the climate before the critical weekend of the first anniversary of Alexandros Grigoropoulos murder.

Political and social tension is rising across greece before the critical weekend (Saturday 5- Monday 7) that marks the first year anniversary of the assassination of Alexandros Grigoropoulos and the subsequent December Uprising.

On the labour front, a series of sectors are restless. On Monday 30/11 Athens saw a demo of hospital doctors who went on a 24h strike in front of the Evangelismos hospital. At the same time nurses of the Agia Eleni hospital have occupied the management offices of the hospital demanding that employed nurses are removed from office work and placed only in medical care. On the telecom front, the workers of Wind have called another 24h strike for Thursday 3/12 in response to the forced "voluntary exit" of 200 workers. At the same time archaeologists employed by the Ministry of Culture have called a 48h strike for Wednesday and Thursday demanding immediate payment of all salaries. The archaeologists gathered in front of the Archaeological Museum of Athens and marched to the Ministry. On the heavy industry side, steel workers have called a 24h strike in protest to the layoff of 16 workers at the National Steelworks. The workers have gathered in front of the main factory of the industry and are closing on and off the national highway south of Athens. On the public sector on Wednesday 2/12 stage workers of the municipality of Salonica have blockaded the municipal headquarters disallowing all citizens and employers to enter the premises. The workers are demanding the revision of the new government's plans regarding the integration of stage workers to permanent employment. On the farming side of things, peach producers have been blockading the Egnatia national highway, halting all traffic from Salonica west, demanding that the Ministry of Agriculture fix a universal price for their products.

Finally a striking event much discussed even in the mainstream media is an acid attack against the car of a cleaner, Venetia Monalopoulou, contracted to the Airport of Salonica. The cleaner is a leading syndicalist playing an important role in the efforts to built a united autonomous union front of cleaners on the model put forward by K. Kouneva, the Athens cleaner who is still in hospital a year after an assassination attempt against her with sulphuric acid. The latest attack came during an assembly of the cleaners and has been condemned by the cleaners as "boss terrorism".

On the student front, a protest march took to the streets of Athens amongst piles of ungathered garbage due to a blockade of the Fylis refuse dump by locals. The students protested the closure of their schools by a collaboration if rectorial and police authorities during the 36th anniversary of the November 17 Uprising last month. A similar protest march took to the streets of the city of Volos on Tuesday 1/12. At the same time workers of the University of the Peloponese who have been occupying the rectorial headquarters of their university moved on Wednesday 2/12 to blockade the main Corinthian highway, thus putting all southbound circulation in the peninsula to a halt.

On the anti-repression front, as the trial of the imprisoned anarchist Ilias Nikolaoy started on Wednesday morning under draconian police presence, a big motorised protest march took to the prisons of Diavata the previous night. At the same time a big protest march took to the streets of Salonica on Monday 30/12 protesting against the para-state bomb attack against the Bueno Ventura antiauthoritarian social centre last week. A day earlier another anti-repression protest march took to the streets of Petralona in Athens against the petrol bomb attack against the house of a member of the Revolutionary Workers Party who is actively involved in the anti-gentrification movement in the area. At the same time two new squats have appeared in the archipelagos of social antagonism: on in Exarcheia and on in Corfu. The latter has been receiving pressure of eviction by local cops.

Finally the already tense social and political climate has been punctuated by a series of attacks against state and capitalist targets throughout the country. The latest of these was Tuesday night's blitz molotov attack against the commercial centre of Kaisariani, an eastern suburb of Athens, targetting mainly banks. In Salonica, a series of attacks against houses of policemen, judges and newspaper managers with small range explosive devices has been claimed by a the urban guerrilla group Convention of Anomics/ Ministers of Erebus.

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Dec 2 2009 09:40


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Dec 3 2009 09:04

Update: The plot thickened on Thursday with more strikes in Greece: the street-cleaners working for the municipality of Athens started a 48h strike; the forest fire-fighters have formed a demo outside the ministry of order blocking Katehaki avenue; municipal workers across the country have gone on a 24h strike and a demo has been formed outside the ministry of interior; workers of the Athens Opera are holding an assembly in a central theater of the city and have announced a march towards the ministry of culture for the early afternoon; road assistance drivers have lined their vehicles along Mesogeion avenue threatening to blockade the main centre-east traffic artery if their contract demands with the ministry of transport are not immediately accepted; the strike of archaeologists continues.

On the student front, Thursday found several universities across the country have been occupied by students meaning to keep them open and under occupation throughout the anniversary of Alexandros Grigoropoulos assassination. The move comes in defiance to rectorial agreements with the police to impose a lock-out in the institutions. At the moment of writing such a lock-out has been attempted at ASOE, the Athens School of Economics (whose occupation played a pivotal role in last year's uprising). The lock-out has been imposed on a pretext of swine flu emergency, something rendered even more ridiculous by the strong presence of riot police along its gates. Students are currently challenging the lock-out and confronting the flu-immune pigs.

Dec 3 2009 12:37

2nd Update: The stand-off between students and riot police at the gates of the locked-out Athens School of Economics turned into violent clashes on Thursday noon which. The clashes that closed off Patision avenue forced the riot police to retreat and leave the university open. The planned general assembly of the students this afternoon is expected to decide the occupation of the building during the days commemorating Alexandros Grigoropoulos murder. At a TV appeal the Prime Minster pleaded for calm and called the citizens of greece to honour the memory of the assassinated youth. The students have condemned the rectorial authorities of ASOE for breaching the academic asylum as protected by the constitution.

At the moment 9 universities across the country have been occupied by students.

Dec 3 2009 19:34

Thanks again for reporting on all this. Does it look like things are going to go crazy again at the weekend? Best of luck with it all!

mikail firtinaci
Dec 3 2009 19:39

I am really jealous of you since everything on the east side of Maritsa is so quite and in fact demoralising.

Fraternal greetings from Istanbul...

Dec 3 2009 20:59

Thanks comrades! A final update for the day: Thursday closed with a thousand strong anarchist protest march in solidarity to the imprisoned anarchist bank robber and prison abolition activist Yannis Dimitrakis whose brutalisation by screws had led to a cross-country prison uprising in 2007. The march was surrounded by strong police forces forming a pi around the march in a manner that has not been attempted for many years. Despite the provocative presence of the police, the march reached its end at the Law School in high spirits, chanting slogans like "In greece, turkey and macedonia the enemy is in the banks and the ministries" and "the passion for freedom is stronger than all the cells". Soon clashes developed around the occupied Law School in the centre of the city. Bourgeois media report several people detained during the clashes with the atmosphere around the Law School filled with tear gas and two people wounded by the cops.

On the legal front, the court in Salonica has found Ilias Nikolaou guilty of crimes related to possession and use of explosives (gas canisters) and has condemned him to 7,5 years of imprisonment. At the same time, the odyssey of the accused under the Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA) case who have been dragged from court to court since 2002 came to an end today with their being found not-guilty for all crimes accused. The court decision comes as a blow to the Minister of Public Order who claims he "has eradicated ELA", the mass urban guerrilla group of the 1970s greek autonomia which disbanded itself in 1995. All the accused have denied their involvement in ELA, apart from Mr Tsigaridas who has claimed political responsibility for the group, a political statement that was recognised as not evidence of guilt by the court. The court ruling has a final character.