Round-up of events from around Greece during the December 15th general strike which saw fighting between workers, students and supporters against police as well as an attempted occupation of the headquarters of one Greece's major trade unions.
No doubt remains, not even for the most naive, that the State – in close cooperation with all its supporters and mechanisms – has decided to wage a full-scale war against society. They are afraid of the natural social rage, that expressed so far, but also the rage to come. The repressive role of the State, as expressed through the murderous mechanism of the Greek Police – and not only them – has now began to spread its tentacles, in an attempt to spread and repress any generalized outbreak in the future. Fascists, undercover cops, peace-loving citizens, obedient householders and other social dregs have been recruited to act like a natural extension of this murderous formation.
It is a fact that it should concern us all, something that was happening before, but is now fully-fledged, in the most indiscriminate, naked and shameless way. It happens right before our very own eyes!
Athens: In a city full of police officers of all kinds in every corner, sample of the transparent effort to terrorize people and to present the city as an inaccessible place, controlled by them. Nevertheless…
Since the early morning of December 15th, huge numbers of people started to flock to the pre-gathering points in the center of Athens. Every part of Patission Avenue, from Areos’ Field to Omonia Square, was full of people, while the sidewalks were becoming increasingly crowded too. It may not be of great value to talk about exact numbers, but some rough estimates talk of about 200.000 people, a number that can only compare to the seminal May 5th General Strike. Before the demonstration started, there where at least three cases in which undercover cops were expelled from the demonstration after the dynamic intervention of comrades. In one case, they attempted to arrest four comrades who were heading to the gathering point with spears and banners, but the forceful intervention of 50-60 people stopped them from doing so.
The demo started in a passionate manner, with slogans vibrating the center of the city. A sample of the size of the demo is that when the first blocks were close to Syntagma square, the latest were still in Patission Avenue. During the march, and before this arrived at Syntagma, slogans were written, paints were thrown at governmental buildings, while it became clear that the spirit and the choice of the demonstrators wasn’t to attack during the march, but to give their battle outside the Parliament, with lots of people properly prepared (masks, malox and various self-protection materials), a fact strongly reflecting the confrontational mood of a fairly large part of the demo.
The clashes began when the main part of the demo arrived at Syntagma square. Large numbers of the demonstrators attacked the patrons of the local ruling class and Capital. For a long period of time, explosions could be heard throughout the area around Syntagma square. There were attacks with molotov cocktails, stones, dynamite, fire extinguishers, etc. against several squads around Syntagma, while in many cases there were melee collisions with the MAT forces (riot police) and the thugs of the DIAS motorcycle police force. The MAT forces responded with tear gas and flash-bang grenades, in this way achieving to cut the demo in various parts and locations – yet in so doing, they spread the conflicts that were now extended in various areas of the city center.
A large part of the demo was directed to Propylaea, attacking the MAT forces, banks and luxury cars, while riot police and undercover cops violated (once more) the university asylum, making arrests. At the same time, a large number of protesters that had been cut from the demo because of the cops’ attacks, were attacking the riot squads up to Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, where in one of them the protesters managed to repel the cops and set on fire a police paddy-wagon. At various parts of the center, people successfully faced the brutal raids of the police while at Alexandra Avenue sub-humans of DIAS motorcycle police force were beaten by angry demonstrators that burned both their bikes.
Meanwhile, demonstrators attacked the former minister of the conservative New Democracy government Hatzidakis, who escaped thanks to the intervention of his henchmen that accompany him at all times (photo).
All these were taking place while several blocks of the demo had not yet reached Syntagma square. The attacks of the MAT forces were indiscriminate and violent, beating badly unsuspected passers-by and everyone they felt like. At various parts of the center there were vans from which undercover cops were pouring out, hooded and dressed in black.
A spontaneous march by the Primary Unions and the AK (Antiauthoritarian Movement), moved toward the main building of GSEE (General Confederation of Greek Workers) in order to occupy it. There were melee clashes with the police, however the police’s superiority in numbers managed to deter them. Some cops didn’t hesitate to pull their guns.
Clashes continued around the Polytechnic School for several hours, while scores of people remained inside it, not able to leave since they were trapped there by riot police (MAT) forces.
Behind the University of Economics and around the Polytechnic school in Athens there were scattered clashes with cops in the street and barricades, as well down other streets of Exarchia, with people playing cat and mouse with the police after the end of the main demo. There were reports that the neighborhood of Exarchia has been completely militarized and that the police were stopping people there, arresting them, and harassing whoever they found on the street. One caller to the 98 anarchist radio station reported witnessing the police stop two people walking down the street in Exarchia, and beat them badly before arresting them. Ten people have been arrested in Victoria square, with reports of other sporadic arrests around the center of Athens throughout the day.
Fresh attacks by MAT caused multiple injuries to demonstrators. Rumors circulated concerning an attempt to violate the university asylum, something that did not eventually happen.
There are 15 people detained so far, of which 8 have been arrested and charged.
In provincial cities there was some powerful atmosphere too, with most people expressing their anger against the corrupt syndicalists and state partner unions. In some cities there were clashes between cops and protesters, while in most there were scores of cops and especially undercovers. P.A.M.E (the syndicalist union of Greek “Communist” Party) organized separate demos in each city, separating itself from the people’s wrath.
Thessaloniki: Massive demonstration by more than 10,000 workers, unemployed, students, grassroot unions, leftists, anarchists and angry people in general! A large part of demonstrators marched from the gathering point of Kamara toward the Labor Center where there was gathering point and speech by the corrupted unions of GSEE (General Confederation of Greek Workers) and others. Anarchists shouted slogans against these unions,water was thrown to the speakers-representatives, mics and speakers were disconnected, and demonstrators called for a “wild strike”. Along the route of this “intervention demo” texts were distributed to store workers that were not on strike – their bosses had threatened some with dismissal should they strike.
During the powerful demonstration that started at around 11a.m. ATMs, banks, large chain stores, post offices, McDonalds restaurants and bank CCTV cameras were smashed while goods from a supermarket and a patisserie were expropriated. When the demonstration arrived at the former ministry of Macedonia-Thrace (and still the region’s main administrative building), cops came out and attacked the demo using tear gas and flash bang grenades with no provocation from the side of the protesters. The demo continued in several pieces while riot cops and undercovers detained around 20 people from the demo’s body but also from building entrances, using an unmarked van. Two or three of those detained were injured were in need of hospital treatment and so the cops turned their detentions into arrests in order to justify the injuries… their usual tactic.
Patras: More than 4,000 people marched through the streets of Patras in massive student, grassroot union, leftist and anarchist blocks. There were attacks with stones and molotov cocktails against the local Courthouse, several banks and a police van. A march of a similar size was also organized by P.A.M.E. (the syndicalist union of Greek Communist Party).
“They're bringing us the Axis Occupation, '40-44”
Heraklion (Crete): Massive demonstration in the morning with around 2000 people; various grassroot unions, unemployed, immigrants, leftists, anarchists etc. Some leftists blocked the speeches of the Labor Center’s president and other corrupt labour representatives. During the demo ATMs, bank CCTV cameras and windows were smashed, slogans against the corrupted unions were shouted and written on walls while cops and undercovers followed the demo, without any clashes. In the afternoon an anarchist march was also held in the city’s neighborhoods.
Chania (Crete): Around 1,500 people marched in the city. Blocks of workers, unemployed, students, anarchists and leftist groups but also a block of immigrants that had managed to go on strike participated in the demo. During the demo, slogans were written on the walls, leaflets were thrown and some superstores were sabotaged by throwing “smelly capsules” inside. Demonstrators verbally attacked the local puppet-syndicalists, just like in other cities.
Volos: Very massive demo of about 2,500 people. Before the march begun, speeches of local parties representatives and corrupted syndicalist were blocked. Symbolic attacks against banks and the Prefecture building.
Xanthi: One of the most massive demonstrations the city has seen. 1,500 people marched downtown, slogans were written on walls and paint was thrown at banks.
Ioannina: Powerful demo of about 2000 people with awesome pulse and numerous slogans in the city center. Agricultural tractors also joined in the demonstration.
Similar demonstrations/marches by hundreds of people were held in many other cities and islands of Greece, such as Kavala, Veria, Aigio, Zakynthos, Larissa, Corfu, Lesvos, Naxos, Rethymnon, Serres, and Sparta.
FREEDOM TO ALL HOSTAGES