Warm weekend in Athens: protests, street battles and occupations

Feminist protest march in solidarity to K. Kouneva

The first weekend of spring has been another warm one for Athens with protest marches, street battles, and occupations over a variety of social issues.

Submitted by taxikipali on March 9, 2009

On Friday 6/3 afternoon protestors occupied the metro/ISAP station of Attiki a central transit station between the two urban rail systems in solidarity to K. Kouneva. All ticket machines were disabled so that transport could be rendered free of charge. Despite propaganda from the megaphones of ISAP, damage was done to the station.

Later the same afternoon, a march took to the streets of Aegaleo under torrential rain to protest against the chain of organised fascist attacks against the Pakistani community in the area. At the same time a demo was held by the Pakistani community outside the courthouses of down-town Athens during the hearing of two fascist attackers arrested for assault and robbery after they broke in the house of immigrants, beating them and smashing up the furniture. This has been a tactic of terror used by neonazis in Athens during the previous year. The Pakistani community is a particular target of the extreme-right due to its political coalition with leftist groups and parties.

On Friday 6/3 evening, on the three month anniversary of Alexandros Grigoropoulos assassination by armed police, protesters gathered at the site of his murder. The local riot squad was attacked with molotov cocktails and street battles ensued through the area deep into the night.

On Saturday 7/3 morning the Feminist Centre of Athens, an organisation with deep historical roots and a long history of struggles organised a protest march in solidarity to K. Kouneva who is currently in a process of organ transplants to save her life from the corporate thug attack against her last December with sulphuric acid. The protest marched to the Parliament and then to Evangelismos hospital where Kouneva is being treated, shouting slogans like: “this society stinks of testosterone, cops fascists murderers” and “the self-organisation of women will be the tomb of the bosses”.

At the same time, in Perama, the poverty stricken docks of the capital, a protest march took to the streets and attacked the Port Police with paints while smashing the main entrance of the City Hall in protest for the death of 8 workers last July in the ship FRENDSHIPGAS, and the legal acquittal of the company owners and managers by the Greek courts and the outraging condemnation of one of the dead workers as responsible for the labour accident.

Throughout Saturday 7/3, the local People’s Assembly of Exarcheia occupied the big parking lot between Alexandros Grigoropulos murder site and the heavily guarded PASOK (Socialist Party) HQs in a move to reclaim one of the city’s last open spaces and demand its transformation into a park rather than yet another block of offices. The locals set up a day-long collective meal, with wine and dances, held workshops and smashed the asphalt, planting pine and olive trees. In the evening of Saturday a big painting given as a gift to the Greek insurgency by the Zapatistas in Chiapas was placed on the wall of the building opposite the murder site, already thick with hundreds of letters and a marble plaque by the boy’s family. The day ended in a big concert

On Saturday 7/3 evening, protestors of the LGBT community of Athens staged a demo at the entrance of the National Opera where Dvorak’s Rusalka’s premiere was interrupted the previous night by the State Orchestra which handed out homophobic leaflets to the audience condemning the French director of the play as a propagandist of “homosexual perversion”. The play was near cancelled after a fight ensued within the audience between homophobic scum in support of the bigotry and people who urged the orchestra to quit. When the protestors tried to enter the opera hall with the concession of the director they were confronted by State Orchestra members who did not allow them to read their communiqué and violently assaulted them, punching them and destroying the rainbow flag they were carrying.

On Sunday 8/3 in the evening another large protest march organised by the Pakistani community took to the streets of Aegaleo against fascist violence against immigrant workers in the area. At the same time in Piraeus local high school pupils held a big outdoor concert in solidarity to their arrested co-students who are being held under heavy charges for their participation in December's insurgency. The trial of the Piraeus pupils will be held on Monday 9/3.

On the urban guerrilla front, on the morning of Saturday 7/3 the offices of the National Electricity Company were attacked with arson devices; 7 company vehicles were torched to the ground. On Sunday 8/3 early in the morning a chain of attacks destroyed completely the Sprider shopping complex in Dafni, south Athens, and seriously damaged the offices of OAED, the general secretariat of employment in Kalithea, and the offices of the job inspection bureau in Agioi Anargiroi, both Athens suburbs. On the early hours of Monday 9/3 a big bomb destroyed the Citybank brach of Philothei, one of the richest suburbs of the greek capital. The attack comes weeks after the attmpted bombing of Citybank's greek HQs in Kifisia with 60kg of AMFO.

On the opposite side, an organisation of fascist policeman has announced its formation in the extreme-right press. In its communiqué, the group called ASPIS (Police Patriotic Force) an acronym (meaning shield) identical to the paramilitary group that lay the way for the 1967 junta, attacks police syndicalists as sold out leftist boot-lickers, and pledges to respond to anarchist violence and terrorist attacks by the same token. The organisation pays tribute amongst others to the gendarmes that successfully defended the last royalist bastion in Athens against the communist liberation army in December 1944, thus providing a footing for the British invasion that ensued. Analysts do consider the communiqué to be an act of psychological warfare on part of the Ministry of Public Order or the secret services, rather than a genuine document.


Kaze no Kae

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Kaze no Kae on March 8, 2009

"Organisation of fascist policemen"...isn't that called the police force?


15 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Anonymous on May 19, 2009

“Athens in the middle of the summer?”, my friends remarked. “You must be joking. Go to the beach instead.” “But summer is the best time to see Athens”, I answered.