War-Zone Athens: three people dead, many buildings burning as general strike march turns into a battle

War-Zone Athens: three people dead, many buildings burning as general strike march turns into a battle

Three people have suffocated to death as a result of a fire in Marfin Bank during ongoing battles between anti-measure protesters and police in Athens.

The Athens protest march marking the zenith of the general strike called for the 5th of May was attended by an approximate 200,000 (20,000 which is the foreign broadcast number referring to the PAME march alone), although because of lack of media coverage due to the media participation in the general strike no concrete estimates can be made. After the PAME (Communist Party union) protesters left Syntagma square, the first lines of the main march started arriving before the Parliament with the first clashes erupting at the end of Stadiou street. The march then walked on the Unknown Soldier grounds leading the Presidential Guard to retreat, and attempted to storm the Parliament but was pushed back by riot police forces which today demonstrated a particularly staunch attitude and resolve against the demonstrators. Soon battles erupted around the Parliament with protesters throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks, with one riot police armored van torched, and the police responding by extended use of tear gas that soon made Athens’ atmosphere unbearably acrid. As more blocks reached Syntagma square, the battles spread across the city center and lasted for more than five hours.

During the clashes several state buildings were set ablaze including the County Headquarters of Attika. At the time of writing the Ministry of Finance is reported to be on fire, and vital tax documents as destroyed by the raging fire. However the strange thing is that it is the fourth floor of the building that is burning, at a height inapproachable to petrol bombs. The building is in danger of total collapse.

According to news reports that began at 14:00 Greek time after, under pressure by the events, most radio and TV stations decided to break their strike, claim that the fire at Marfin Bank’s Stadiou street branch that has led to the death of three workers (one a pregnant woman) was started by protesters. However this remains an unsubstantiated claim. A similar case three decades ago had originally put the blame for the fire at Kappa-Marousi building on Panepistimiou street, leading to the death of several people inside, to anarchists, while its was later proved the fire was caused by tear gas fired by the police.

A video of the fire-brigade trying to evacuate the building can be seen in http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8661385.stm

After the tragic death of the three workers made the round of Athens, new clashes started to spread in the Greek capital, with a large crowd gathered outside the burned bank when Marfin's boss tried to visit the site. Clashes broke out between the crowd and police when the former attacked the bank magnate accusing him of forcing the dead workers to scab on a general strike and locking them in the building despite them demanding to evacuate it since 12:00.

In Parliament the Communist Party of Greece has accused the government for the deaths, claiming it was a result of agents provocateur fascist groups. The claims of the Communist Party are based on the fact that 50 fascists tried to enter the PAME demo bearing the flags of the union earlier in the morning. The fascists were spotted, chased and sought refuge behind riot police lines. Accusing the extreme-right as being behind the deaths, the Coalition of Radical Left has declared in Parliament that the government cannot pretend to be in grief for the loss of life, as it has been attacking human life by all means possible.

Meanwhile, extended clashes broke out in Salonika where approximately 50,000 people marched destroying dozens of banks and corporate shops in Greece’s second largest city. Clashes with the police continued for several hours. According to news broadcasts anarchist have occupied the Labour Center of the city.

In Patras, around 20,000 protesters were joined by tractor drivers and garbage truck drivers on their vehicles, as flaming barricades were erected along central streets of the city and clashes developed between protestors and the police.

In Ioannina the protesters attacked banks and corporate shops leading to extended use of chemicals by the police. In Heraklion, 10,000 people are reported as marching against the measures. In Corfu, protesters taking part in the anti-measures march occupied the County Headquarters. Protesters have occupied the Administrative Headquarters of Naxos and the City Hall of Naoussa.

As a result of the Athens riots, the police have cordoned off the entire center of the city, erecting check points of entry and exit, while all police work permits have been recalled. At the time of writing battles continue to rage in the inner city, while news broadcasts claim the police is mobilising its forces to storm an anarchist squat in Exarcheia.

Comments

taxikipali
May 5 2010 16:21

Update: the union of bank workers (OTOE) has declared a strike for tomorrow in response to the death of the three bank workers today. The union puts the blame for the deaths on the bank bosses and the police.

A video of protesters attacking Mr Vgenopoulos the boss of Marfin visiting the burned bank, calling him a murderer can be seen here http://www.zougla.gr/page.ashx?pid=2&aid=131644&cid=4

A video of riot police smashing a coffee shop in Exarcheia can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkQ4YsRlFxI&feature=player_embedded#%23!

Riot_Queer
May 5 2010 16:47

Fucking framing Anarchists....back in fashion eh? Haymarket take 2?

MD
May 5 2010 19:09

Hey taxipali, i have heard from some PAME and KKE members that it was the fascists who tried to storm the parlament as a form of provocation (and also that they were the ones who threw the petrol bombs that killed those people). They say that the fascists stole flags from the leftist groups, was chased away, but then showed up again later and stormed the steps.

What can you tell us about that?

iaourti iaourtaki
May 5 2010 19:52

#279 | An employee of the burnt bank speaks out on tonight’s tragic deaths in Athens – please spread

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tonight’s tragic deaths in Athens leave little space for comments – we are all very shocked and deeply saddened by the events. To those (on the “Occupied London” blog even) who speculate that the deaths might have been caused purposefully by anarchists, we can only reply the following: we do not take to the streets, we do not risk our freedom and our lives confronting the greek police in order to kill other people. Anarchists are not murderers, and no brainwashing attempted by Greek PM Papandreou, the national or the international media should convince anyone otherwise.

That being said, and with developments still running frantically, we want to publish a rough translation of a statement by an employee of Marfin Bank – the bank whose branch was set alight in Athens today, where the three employees found a tragic death.

Read the letter, translate it, spread it around to your networks; grassroots counter-information has a crucial role to play at a moment when the greek state and corporate media are leashing out on the anarchist movement over here in Greece.

I feel an obligation toward my co-workers who have so unjustly died today to speak out and to say some objective truths. I am sending this message to all media outlets. Anyone who still bares some consciousness should publish it. The rest can continue to play the government’s game.

The fire brigade had never issued an operating license to the building in question. The agreement for it to operate was under the table, as it practically happens with all businesses and companies in Greece.

The building in question has no fire safety mechanisms in place, neither planned nor installed ones – that is, it has no ceiling sprinklers, fire exits or fire hoses. There are only some portable fire extinguishers which, of course, cannot help in dealing with extensive fire in a building that is built with long-outdated security standards.

No branch of Marfin bank has had any member of staff trained in dealing with fire, not even in the use of the few fire extinguishers. The management also uses the high costs of such training as a pretext and will not take even the most basic measures to protect its staff.

There has never been a single evacuation exercise in any building by staff members, nor have there been any training sessions by the fire-brigade, to give instructions for situations like this. The only training sessions that have taken place at Marfin Bank concern terrorist action scenarios and specifically planning the escape of the banks’ “big heads” from their offices in such a situation.

The building in question had no special accommodation for the case of fire, even though its construction is very sensitive under such circumstances and even though it was filled with materials from floor to ceiling. Materials which are very inflammable, such as paper, plastics, wires, furniture. The building is objectively unsuitable for use as a bank due to its construction.

No member of security has any knowledge of first aid or fire extinguishing, even though they are every time practically charged with securing the building. The bank employees have to turn into firemen or security staff according to the appetite of Mr Vgenopoulos [owner of Marfin Bank].

The management of the bank strictly bared the employees from leaving today, even though they had persistently asked so themselves from very early this morning – while they also forced the employees to lock up the doors and repeatedly confirmed that the building remained locked up throughout the day, over the phone. They even blocked off their internet access so as to prevent the employees from communicating with the outside world.

For many days now there has been some complete terrorisation of the bank’s employees in regard to the mobilisations of these days, with the verbal “offer”: you either work, or you get fired.

The two undercover police who are dispatched at the branch in question for robbery prevention did not show up today, even though the bank’s management had verbally promised to the employees that they would be there.

At last, gentlemen, make your self-criticism and stop wandering around pretending to be shocked. You are responsible for what happened today and in any rightful state (like the ones you like to use from time to time as leading examples on your TV shows) you would have already been arrested for the above actions. My co-workers lost their lives today by malice: the malice of Marfin Bank and Mr. Vgenopoulos personally who explicitly stated that whoever didin’t come to work today [May 5th, a day of a general strike!] should not bother showing up for work tomorrow [as they would get fired].

- An employee of Marfin Bank [greek original]

KKE/SYRISA:

1. In Parliament the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has accused the government for the deaths, claiming it was a result of agents provocateur fascist groups. The claims of the Communist Party are based on the fact that 50 fascists tried to enter the PAME demo bearing the flags of the union earlier in the morning. The fascists were spotted, chased and sought refuge behind riot police lines.

2. Accusing the extreme-right as being behind the deaths, the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRISA) has declared in Parliament that the government cannot pretend to be in grief for the loss of life, as it has been attacking human life by all means possible.

iaourti iaourtaki
May 5 2010 20:53

for translations into french, italian, spanish, dutch and german may be use this site, click on translate and copy/paste your translation pl

robot
May 5 2010 21:01

Part of the material used for a German language article at:

http://www.fau.org/artikel/art_100505-225607

Mark.
May 5 2010 22:04

Spanish translation (in third comment down)

http://www.alasbarricadas.org/noticias/?q=node/13934

iaourti iaourtaki
May 5 2010 23:38
giannis
May 6 2010 01:23

This is my first post ever in English so sorry for my mistakes.

About the strike an the march. I think that taxikipali's report is accurate. Many people participated in the strike and the march in Athens and a lot of them were very very angry. Personally today's march reminded me December '08. In December the youth played the key role in the demos and the clashes but today more older protester participated even with bare hands.

About the death of the three workers. It is a common practice in Greece to attack banks in marches. In a march that the anarchists participate, If the police isn't defending a bank it is more than certain that it will be attacked and even burnt down. So when a big march is taking place all the banks close down and employees leave the place and if they don't anarchists never start a fire. Such think happened in this situation. The bank was closed and there was nobody in. Alongside with the march a small group of black blockers was moving. When they reached the bank a guy shattered the front window, threw flammable liquid in and started a fire. What they didn't know was that the bank had also offices in the same building and people were working in. The workers went on the windows and shouted people to stop the fire. People tried to put out the fire and go into the building out the doors were locked. Also the building didn't have an emergency exit. Furthermore, a firetruck that arrived first had only a small ladder that couldn't reach the upper windows and no information about the building or the number of people in it. All those things led to the tragic lose of three lives not by the fire but by suffocation.

When I was going home after the march I was happy about the outcome and thought that something big is rising up from the ashes of the December. Then I heard about the incident in the bank and I froze. Suddenly everybody stopped talking about how great the demonstration was and started talking about the people who died. All those years hundreds of banks were burnt with no causalities and none could imagine such a result. Media started accusing everybody who clashes with the police as a murderer. In one of the biggest tv channel a reporter even claimed that he had exclusive information that the attackers new that people were in but they didn't care for their lives. More or less they tried to convince everyone that if you are not a peaceful crowd people like you will die. Alongside came analysis that wild demonstrations are responsible for the countries debt because they scare tourists away.

The state almost immediately took action. They cleared the streets with extensive use of violence and each time they saw a group of people trying to move in the center of Athens they stopped them. Also they invaded the district of Exarcheia were many anarchists and leftists hang out and cleared it too. They also invaded the offices of and anti-racist group and an anarchist squat.

To me it is obvious that the state is trying to turn people against anarchist but also against everyone who clashes in the streets. The last thing that government wants at this point is large demonstrations of an angry crowd. I think that eventually they will achieve this goal, for a while at least. Maybe at least the clashes with the police will continue, I don't think so but some people do. But it is more than certain that the government does not want everyday people that are furious with the economic measures and started just recently going on marches getting in touch with anarchists. They have decided, and every single anarchist in Greece knows it, that now more than ever is the right time to put an end in the growth of the Greek anarchist movement and smash it like they did in 1995 without making the same "mistakes". Harsh days are coming lets hope we are strong enough to survive..

jesuithitsquad
May 6 2010 01:50

giannis-thanks so much for your informative and thoughtful post. please be safe.

your english is fine, by the way.

Gareth woz ere
May 6 2010 02:01

Can anyone tell me what the “Occupied London” blog is?

jesuithitsquad
May 6 2010 02:01
Gareth woz ere
May 6 2010 02:16

Thanks jesuithitsquad

fondis002
May 6 2010 04:14

An employee of the burnt bank speaks out on tonight’s tragic deaths in Athens – please spread (translation: http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/)

"I feel an obligation toward my co-workers who have so unjustly died today to speak out and to say some objective truths. I am sending this message to all media outlets. Anyone who still bares some consciousness should publish it. The rest can continue to play the government’s game.

The fire brigade had never issued an operating license to the building in question. The agreement for it to operate was under the table, as it practically happens with all businesses and companies in Greece.

The building in question has no fire safety mechanisms in place, neither planned nor installed ones – that is, it has no ceiling sprinklers, fire exits or fire hoses. There are only some portable fire extinguishers which, of course, cannot help in dealing with extensive fire in a building that is built with long-outdated security standards.

No branch of Marfin bank has had any member of staff trained in dealing with fire, not even in the use of the few fire extinguishers. The management also uses the high costs of such training as a pretext and will not take even the most basic measures to protect its staff.

There has never been a single evacuation exercise in any building by staff members, nor have there been any training sessions by the fire-brigade, to give instructions for situations like this. The only training sessions that have taken place at Marfin Bank concern terrorist action scenarios and specifically planning the escape of the banks’ “big heads” from their offices in such a situation.

The building in question had no special accommodation for the case of fire, even though its construction is very sensitive under such circumstances and even though it was filled with materials from floor to ceiling. Materials which are very inflammable, such as paper, plastics, wires, furniture. The building is objectively unsuitable for use as a bank due to its construction.

No member of security has any knowledge of first aid or fire extinguishing, even though they are every time practically charged with securing the building. The bank employees have to turn into firemen or security staff according to the appetite of Mr Vgenopoulos [owner of Marfin Bank].

The management of the bank strictly bared the employees from leaving today, even though they had persistently asked so themselves from very early this morning – while they also forced the employees to lock up the doors and repeatedly confirmed that the building remained locked up throughout the day, over the phone. They even blocked off their internet access so as to prevent the employees from communicating with the outside world.

For many days now there has been some complete terrorisation of the bank’s employees in regard to the mobilisations of these days, with the verbal “offer”: you either work, or you get fired.

The two undercover police who are dispatched at the branch in question for robbery prevention did not show up today, even though the bank’s management had verbally promised to the employees that they would be there.

At last, gentlemen, make your self-criticism and stop wandering around pretending to be shocked. You are responsible for what happened today and in any rightful state (like the ones you like to use from time to time as leading examples on your TV shows) you would have already been arrested for the above actions. My co-workers lost their lives today by malice: the malice of Marfin Bank and Mr. Vgenopoulos personally who explicitly stated that whoever didin’t come to work today [May 5th, a day of a general strike!] should not bother showing up for work tomorrow [as they would get fired]".

klas batalo
May 6 2010 08:49
Quote:
OTOE: THREE DEAD Bank Employees
... dead by three colleagues, workers at 11:34 a.m., Thursday, May 6, 2010
The OTOE launches tomorrow 6 MAY 24
Nationwide CONTENTS A C I A

Three dead colleagues, working in Marfin - Egnatia Bank are the victims of riots that occurred in the late panergatikis peaceful demonstration in the center of Athens.
The three unfortunate employees trapped in the shop of the Bank, which burst into flames could not be removed, thereby losing their lives.
The OTOE condemns in the strongest terms those who engage in such acts of violence with which it dealt with the problems of the people of our country and demands exemplary punishment of the culprits.
But this tragic event which deprived the lives of three colleagues (two women and one man) is the sad result of unpopular measures roused the popular anger and protest of hundreds of thousands of workers, which, however, have physical and moral perpetrators.
The perpetrators must be found and punished exemplary.
The instigators, but must be sought on policy, the operational attitude of the police and the bank management that the coercive practices hinder the participation of workers in action and the irresponsibility of not receiving timely manner all necessary security measures to protect the lives of workers and citizens to bank branches, which are familiar and timeless goals throughout the itinerary whenever the workers' demonstrations and protests.
But serious political responsibility has the government apparently did not calculate the size and extent of effects on Greek society and people's decisions regarding the economic tradition of our country in the troika of D.N.T ., the European Union and the ESF, and the temporal demands of the local chapter.
The OTOE in protest, expressing anger and indignation of the bank sector and the entire Clerks and Workers union movement against the individuals and sponsors of the horrific events of loss of life of three colleagues, Nationwide launches 24-hour strike tomorrow, Thursday, May 6 .
We urge the government to reconsider its policy directed exclusively against non-privileged citizens of our country.
To look into alternatives paths to observe the weak masses will have to pay those who are truly responsible for the tragic economic bottlenecks facing our country.
It is high time all of the political system to understand that the river of popular rage is not guided, not entrenched and will not stop until there is justification and democratic governance fully conforms with the popular sentiment.

THE PRESS OF OTOE

Entdinglichung
May 6 2010 09:45

according to http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100002_06/05/2010_116899

"Marfin Bank also issued a statement in which it laid the blame for yesterday’s incidents at the feet of Greece’s politicians. “We hope that the perpetrators will be arrested and punished,” it read. “But the greatest responsibility lies with the moral instigators who, unfortunately, will never be punished.”"

Mark.
May 6 2010 09:50

Comment from a discussion on abc
http://www.anarchistblackcat.org/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6566

Quote:
Anyway, about the news for the three deaths in the fire at this bank, not only me, but the group I am in (MACG) and also other anarchists from my country of origin think that should make the movement sit up & take notice. The macho militarism by certain groups within anarchist movement in Greece, which sees the revolution as being a series of ever-larger clashes with the police, is a dead end and will only divide the working class.

We gain our strength from withdrawing our labour. The working class approach to the use of force is to set up picket lines in industrially significant locations (including, but not only, struck workplaces) and then use reasonable force to defend them when the bosses or the State attempt to break them up with force. Molotov cocktails are the work of people who have no confidence in the working class and who seek to substitute themselves for it.

Any thoughts on this?

klas batalo
May 6 2010 10:13

yes occupy the factories, i say

occupy everything

revolution!

taxikipali
May 6 2010 10:37

The comment by JH on macho militarism hits exactly to the point. The truth is that, even if the left wing press like Eleftherotypia are right in pointing out that the tragedy might have been a result of parastate or fascist groups that were seen to have penetrated the mass rally, the possibility of it happening today or tomorrow as a result of the rising militarism and nihilism of anarchists in greece has always been very high.

I do not want to exploit my position as a contributor to articles here, but the situation is very serious and no one can keep silent any longer: since December the anarchist scene has been characterised by a mass quantitative increase and a critical qualitative leveling. As a result it is verging on the dangerous limits of what one could call "an unprincipled struggle" where violence has acquired an almost totemic dimension. That is not to say that there are no groups which have engaged critically with the issue of violence in the last year or so, but these efforts have been brushed aside as either too academic or too pacifist or whatever, and marginalised.

The only thing that can save the anarchist scene in the eyes of the much wider social and labour movement in greece is at last some trace of self-criticism. Anarchists should develop a sense of public responsibility and realise the consequences of "playing war" on the backs of others. If the anarchist believe they are the vanguard of society that need give word to no one because they embody some historical necessity, they are no better than the Stalinists in the KKE.

ASyndicalist
May 6 2010 10:59

russian translation:
http://aitrus.info/node/838

There information in russia from Anti-authoritarian Movement that this is really was an anarchists who frame the bank and that they know thap people was here:
Самое гнусное в том, что этот поджег произвели действительно "анархисты" и еще гнуснее, что они знали, что в здании есть люди.
Так что, с одной стороны вчера были массовые демонстрации, число участников которых доходило до 300.000 в Афинах и 80.000 в Салониках, а с другой стороны, были те, кто прикрываясь своей идеологией, чинили беспредел.
Сейчас мы потеряли все, что было в Декабре. Конечно, то же самое происходит со всеми организациями, леваками и анархистами, организованными и неорганизованными, программными и беспрограммными...
(http://community.livejournal.com/anarchia_ru/830018.html)

Who can say something about it, and what?

akai
May 6 2010 12:34

One Polish guy was there. Here are his photos:

http://cia.bzzz.net/zdjecia_tomasza_grzyba_z_greckiego_strajku_generalnego_i_pozaru_marfin_banku_5_05_2010

I wouldn't care to speculate here on who did what but the suspicions raised above have been repeated. That said, witnesses often jump to the wrong conclusions by looking at how somebody is dressed.

burakumin
May 6 2010 12:35

Hey everyone,
I jsut felt a need to comment as I think the line of argument is going a bit to strong against militant action.
No doubt the events are tragic and three people lost their lives yesterday without having done anything to deserve it.
We are witnessing this every day, that people loose their lives in the most senseless and stupid ways, out of hunger, thirst, becuase the right medication is not avaliable, because they don't see any other alternative for themselves than take their lives.
I don't think there is any way to get your way around this with arguments, that IF these deaths were not caused by provocateurs or police this is a grave misdoing on the side of the protestors (do only anarchists throw molotovs?).
Still I personally believe that any given struggle should not try t abandon the way of militant resistance to the capitalist system. Capitalism is death and murder. The European/US-American/Japanese/"First world" state of peace can only be upheld because the conflicts, that are inherent in the way our societies are run, are being externalized, we don't have to bear the gross burden of the capitalist domain, other people suffer and die on a daily basis for the greed an profit of the few.
I think anybody who in this world feels compelled to take militant action has her reasons.
I don't think that "Bank-smashing" is close to an efficient way to bring this system to fall. Which can only be done through long term organizing and struggle.
I am not a very militant person myself, still I am in solidarity with the people who engage in it. In my opinion we can not simply give the mandate of force to the state, as the state is a power structure that is only there to support the ones who are in power.
I think this is one of the most difficlt issues that exist, so we should be trying to be open minded when talkign about this, even though everyone of us has a background with this stuff and therefore a point of view.
Peace

taxikipali
May 6 2010 13:30

For the "Statement by the Skaramanga squat in Athens regarding today’s events: The murderers “mourn” their victims" see

http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2010/05/06/280-statement-by-the-skaramanga-squat-in-athens-regarding-todays-events-the-murderers-mourn-their-victims/

petey
May 6 2010 18:15

i strongly support dmitri's statement from abc and taxikipali's statement here. spectacularist violence is never productive, it victimizes the lives often enough of FWs, and gives the state a golden propaganda opportunity. i'm just old enough to remember the late 60s and was permanently turned against such stuff by the arrogance of the vanguardists and their liberal excuse-makers.

AIW
May 6 2010 18:22

Petrol bombs have been used defensively; I think they were used to take out tanks in the Hungarian revolution. Only weapons of mass destruction have no defensive application.

I've heard of workplace occupations and bosses lockouts before but I've not heard of the employer locking the workers in the workplace.

This couldn't happen if you had a fire exit. Workers in unsafe environments might campaign for the bosses to fit fire exits or for the state to develop an effective Health and Safety Executive to force the bosses to fit fire exits or they might fit them themselves. The workers might fit fire exits in the bosses time and charge the company for them. It would be an interesting tribunal if they were sacked for making an unsafe work place safe.

Rest in peace fellow workers.

jesuithitsquad
May 6 2010 19:20

While I firmly agree with the prevailing sentiment, I would point out there's a difference between this critique and the one lproyect linked to above which appears to see non-violence as a strategy instead of a tactic. There appears to be quite a few Leninist overtones to his/her criticisms, and it seems exactly like an opportunity to 'pile on' and settle old scores. If I'm misinterpreting and or misrepresenting this viewpoint, apologies in advance lproyect, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.

Further, on the 'pile on' thing, I'm not sure whether or not it is the appropriate time for those of us not in Greece to add our criticisms. Though I am certain 'piling on' isn't the intention of the known posters here, I can imagine it could appear that way to folks involved in the struggle. This doesn't mean we should muzzle ourselves, or be lax with our principles--and I might be completely wrong about this--but maybe it just isn't the best time?

iaourti iaourtaki
May 6 2010 20:23

admin - no flaming.

iaourti iaourtaki
May 6 2010 20:26

what about the communique of the three of "EA" any translation around or any other results of torture?

Django
May 6 2010 20:50
Taxikipali wrote:
The comment by JH on macho militarism hits exactly to the point. The truth is that, even if the left wing press like Eleftherotypia are right in pointing out that the tragedy might have been a result of parastate or fascist groups that were seen to have penetrated the mass rally, the possibility of it happening today or tomorrow as a result of the rising militarism and nihilism of anarchists in greece has always been very high.

I do not want to exploit my position as a contributor to articles here, but the situation is very serious and no one can keep silent any longer: since December the anarchist scene has been characterised by a mass quantitative increase and a critical qualitative leveling. As a result it is verging on the dangerous limits of what one could call "an unprincipled struggle" where violence has acquired an almost totemic dimension. That is not to say that there are no groups which have engaged critically with the issue of violence in the last year or so, but these efforts have been brushed aside as either too academic or too pacifist or whatever, and marginalised.

The only thing that can save the anarchist scene in the eyes of the much wider social and labour movement in greece is at last some trace of self-criticism. Anarchists should develop a sense of public responsibility and realise the consequences of "playing war" on the backs of others. If the anarchist believe they are the vanguard of society that need give word to no one because they embody some historical necessity, they are no better than the Stalinists in the KKE.

Thanks for the insights from Greece - they're much appreciated by those of us following events from abroad.

Though the details of what happened aren't clear, despite the clear disregard of the employers for their staff's lives, and despite the ultimate cause of events being the attacks on living conditions in Greece, if the fire was deliberately set by demonstrators no excuses can really be made for it. Setting a building on fire without knowing who is inside is horrendously stupid, and if the statement of an employee is accurate, has led to the deaths of working class people coerced into staying in the building and locked in without fire escapes.

And of course it is the best excuse the state could have for justifying cracking down on the anarchist movement and more importantly the movement against the austerity measures.