Tension is high across Greece, in the days before the start of Alexandros Grigoropoulos assassins murders. Besides the intensifying winter urban guerrilla offensive in Athens, farmers are gradually blocking the entire national highway network, while the assassinated boy's mother accuses the judicial authorities of both turning a blind eye both clues regarding the murder and inhibiting the proper course of the trial by transferring it in a remote mountain town.
The authorities had hoped that the postponing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos assassins' trial would reduce the tension surrounding it. Initially the trial was to be held in Athens and on the 15th of December 2009. However the authorities -claiming fear of more civil unrest- have decided to move the trial to Amfissa, a remote mountain town, for January 20th 2010. This has caused the outrage of the killed boys' mother who applied twice against the move of the trial outside Athens and was rebuked twice by the judicial authorities. In a last move of contempt towards the state's maneuvers, the mother has published an open letter to the judges, which, besides pointing out that the accused are "subjects of privileged treatment", notes that:
"a) the persecution describes the malice of the accused as "possible" although it was immediate first order malice, as a result the judges' decision is preempted
b) both the interrogation and the judicial order does not take into account the possibility of the intended malicious murder of yet another person, the pupil N.P. who has declared that Ep. Korkoneas [Alexandros' murderer] "shot against him". Lets not forget that there were two shots
c) The second bullet was never sought at all by the authorities
d) The trial has been moved to Amfissa, without waiting the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to which I have taken recourse. The choice of Amfissa creates huge questions since:
e) substantial witnesses have not been called by the persecuting authority
f) the police-conduct files of the accused [policemen] has not been sought, so as to see if there are disciplinary rulings against them in the past, and to evaluate their personality".
In the countdown to the trial, the authorities, obviously embarrassed by the revelations of the mother, have been plagued by a climate of rising tension that hardly resembles their desired state of "silence, order, and security".
Farmers mobilisation has been intensifying by the day, with defense lawyers of the Grigoropoulos family, pointing out that it is doubtful that road access to Amfissa would be even open at the time of the trial. The farmers (who come under different unions) have already set up 7 blockades on the national highway system hampering cross-country traffic, in some places to a complete standstill. And this is only the start, a warning move in anticipation of the real thing starting on Monday when tractors are expected to be brought out in a massive "dynamic mobilisation".
In Athens itself labour issues are not calm either. After a month of strike the workers of Elite, the country's second biggest shoe producing industry have stepped up their struggle by occupying the company's main factory in Athens. The workers are demanding immediate payment of salaries since November and transparency over the fate of the company (which despite rising profits is threatening them with closure, in order to move the capital towards its retail branch). The workers who marched at the midst of last week from their factory to the Ministry of Labour are demonstrating an impressive organisational and struggle cohesion which has won the solidarity of locals. The closure of the factory would jeopardise the employment of 2,000 more workers in enterprises dependent on the industry. Mr Lomberdos, the Minister of Labour, has ominously declared that he expects overall unemployment in the country to rise from 450,000 to 1,000,000 people within 2010 - a 20% of the working force (not including in the stats as unemployed the students and men performing their military service).
Finally, the intensification of what looks like a winter offensive by the urban guerrillas in Athens is yet another headache for the authorities. On Friday night, just before the clock stroke midnight, a medium-force bomb blew the ground floor of the Ministry of Press (aka General Secretariat of Information in socialist newspeak). The bomb which did not cause any human injuries due to its being pre-announced to the press, destroyed large part of the premises as well as several parked cars and two fast-food shops which had been also evacuated. At the time of writing no communique has been published claiming responsibility for the attack that comes less than a week after the bomb in the greek parliament's front yard.