5. Breaking new ground

Chronology: March-October 2009

Submitted by Uncreative on December 18, 2010

March 7: In Exarchia, 4,000 people rip down the wall around a vacant lot destined to become a parking garage, tear up the asphalt with jackhammers, plant trees, and create a free park fifty meters away from the spot where Alexis was killed.

March 9: In separate incidents in Athens, a group of youths smash two banks in the middle of the afternoon, while early in the morning a homemade bomb explodes outside a Citibank branch, causing extensive damages and no injuries.

March 13: Fifty masked anarchists smash dozens of luxury shops in Kolonaki, the wealthy downtown district of Athens, in broad daylight, distributing flyers in solidarity with anarchist prisoner Yiorgos Voutsis-Votzatzis, and disappearing before police arrive.

Mid-March: Spectacularising the Kolonaki attacks, the media go into overdrive presenting the anarchists as a threat to order. The government announces several new security measures, including announced changes in the law to aid the criminalisation of protests, the arrival of police consultants from Scotland Yard, and the creation of Delta Force, a new police corps that will patrol on motorbikes and function as a rapid response force.

March 21: After hearing about the assassination of prisoner activist Katerina Goulioni, women prisoners in Chania and Thiva revolt and occupy their prisons.

March 30: The various squatted parks, social centres, and assemblies of Athens convoke thousands of people in a major protest march, starting at the new Navarinou Park in Exarchia and ending at City Hall.

March 31: Anarchists occupy the President’s Office of Athens University at Panepistimio, hanging a huge banner from the front of the building calling for solidarity with all squatted and self-organised spaces throughout the country on and off the universities, as well as for university asylum.

April 1: Kouzina Collective appears in Athens, serving free food in public. The same day in lraklion, three hundred people hold a demonstration in solidarity with those arrested in December.

April 2: During the national general strike day 50,000 people demonstrate in the streets of Athens while major demonstrations take place in other cities. In the middle of the demo a group of anarchists smash the Athens offices of OIKOMET while members of Kuneva’s union, with protection from anarchists and autonomists, occupy the offices of the train company forcing them to cancel their contract with OIKOMET and give the cleaners permanent contracts directly with the public transportation company

April 4: Members of the neighbourhood assembly of Petralona (Athens) along with the Assembly for Health, occupy PIKPA, a two-storey former hospital, in order to establish a social centre that will be used for many events and as a facility to provide free health care for the neighbourhood.

April 15: The British College in Thessaloniki is attacked with a gas canister bomb in solidarity with the people arrested and repressed in London and Nottingham around the G20 protests, during which one older demonstrator was killed by police violence.

April 16-18: A string of arson attacks in Xanthi targets the house of a police informant, the ATM of the central bank, the luxury car of the city’s bishop, and the car of the chief justice of the city

April 25: 5,000 people take over a pedestrian street below the Acropolis for a DIY punk concert, one of several massive public, open air free festivals, concerts, and illegal raves to oc- cur throughout the spring and summer.

April 28: 3,000 people march from the occupied park in Exarchia to the occupied park on Patision in opposition to the new anti-protest law criminalising wearing masks or insulting police off1cers.Along the route, many CCTV cameras and banks are smashed. One thousand people, mostly anarchists, march in Thessaloniki in support of the occupations.

May 9: The neo-nazi group Golden Dawn, together with the MAT hold a protest against immigrants in Omonia. Anarchists who try to attack the protest are pushed back by riot police, and fighting occurs around the Polytechnic.

May 12: A branch of Eurobank in Athens is destroyed by a bomb. The same day an arson attack targets the national electricity company in response to the deaths of two workers.

May 18: A barrage of simultaneous arsons in eleven different areas of Athens target a shop selling police uniforms, a police training school, a surveillance systems corporation that works with police, two shops that sell guns to police, the central office of a private security company in a wealthy neighbourhood, a Suzuki exhibition that provides the police with motorbikes, two private motorbikes and two private cars of cops parked outside their houses, and an exhibition of Skoda, a company that provides the police with vehicles. The communiqué was signed by “Enflamed Shadows? In the preceding days, similar attacks also occur in Thessaloniki and in Hania.

May 20: Police raid a café in Athens where many migrants gather. During the raid they tear up a Koran. Over the next two days immigrants organise several demonstrations and attack the police with stones. Hundreds participate, and police respond with tear gas. Sixteen are arrested, one, a Syrian immigrant, for throwing a molotov at a police station. Seventy-five cars, five shops, and one bank are damaged or destroyed.

May 27-31: 40,000 people participate in B-Fest, a week-long festival on the campus of the University for Fine Arts that includes concerts, raves, and a multi-day international conference that features anarchist and autonomist speakers from other countries, such as Noam Chomsky (via video feed), Bifo, Class War editors, and Michael Albert.

May 28: The Anti-sexist Faction commits an arson attack against two high-end brothels,"not for them [the sexworkers] but for us." Their communiqué also mentions the trafficking of women.

May 29: The offices of fascist party LAOS are smashed in the city of Pyrgos. Similar attacks against LAOS are carried out in several other cities over these weeks, accompanied by accusations that they coordinate with paramilitary groups inside the police to repress the social movements.

June: Fascists in the Athens neighbourhood of Aghios Panteleimonos stir up racism against the strong immigrant presence in a local park, situated near a church that was giving aid to undocumented people. The fascists instigate a right-wing neighbourhood assembly that occupies the park and kicks out the immigrants, protected by the riot police and supported by the Minister of Public Order. Shortly after the Minister speaks at the right-wing assembly fascists attack the nearby anarcho-punk squat Villa Amalias with firebombs. On the 9th of June, anarchists manage to iight off the fascists and open the playground, but they are subsequently attacked by police. They injure one cop, but five are arrested.

June 4: A police station in northern Athens is attacked by ten hooded anarchists with molotovs. Meanwhile three banks in different parts of Athens are firebombed at the same time.

June 7: Early in the morning, a group of hooded assailants attack a police station in Patras with molotovs and escape on motorcycle.

June 8: A bank in Thessaloniki is torched with a gas canister bomb.

June 11: About twenty hooded anarchists attack a group of police in Exarchia with molotovs and escape on foot.

June 17: In Athens the Sect of Revolutionaries assassinates a policeman who was guarding the home of a prosecution’s witness in the terror trial of members of ELA. In a subsequent communiqué, they threaten to target politicians and journalists, and include “everyday life" and "normal people" in a long catalogue of enemies of the revolution.

July 2-4: In response to the collaboration between the State and the neo-nazis, the Interior Ministry the political office of the ex-Minister of Public Order, the offices of an advisory think tank for the military the Institute for Immigration Policy think tank, and the car of the president of the Constitutional Court are targeted in a barrage of arson attacks claimed by “Combat Groups for the Elimination of the Nation."

July 7: 3,000 people in Athens and one thousand people in Thessaloniki march in solidarity with immigrants. Fascists attempt to attack the Athens march with molotovs. Demonstrators blockade Patision Avenue outside ASOEE, burning dumpsters and fighting with police and fascists into the night.

July 8: The last remaining prisoner of December, Thodoros Iliopoulos, is denied bail on the grounds that he is an anarchist and a"danger to democracy" He goes on hunger-strike in protest.

July 10: A riot police bus is fired upon in Athens, forcing the cops to abandon the bus and run for their lives.

July 11: The Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire carries out a bomb attack against the home of a former interior minister and warns that the new national intelligence chief could be next. Dozens of fire bombings have already been claimed by this anarchist group. In contrast, most other anarchist fire bombings and attacks were claimed by groups that disappeared after signing their name to only one or two communiqués.

July 12: A large refugee camp in Patras is mysteriously burned to the ground during a police operation. The city subsequently bulldozes the remains, preventing its reconstruction.

July 14: Villagers near Chaldiki block the road to Scouries, which a major gold-mining corporation wants to exploit and destroy In Athens, protesters attack the central tower of the National Telecommunications Company with black paint, with the support of many workers there, after the company sues the Polytechnic University for hosting the Athens Indymedia server. Protesters claim the company is taking cues from LAOS politicians who want to gag radical dissent.

July 22: Police defuse a bomb placed by the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire in front of the Chilean consulate in Thessaloniki, in memory of Mauricio Molares Duarte who had recently died while carrying a bomb meant for a police target in Santiago,

August: Dozens of actions, from gas canister bombings to radio station occupations, occur all across Greece in solidarity with the last prisoner of December, Thodoros Iliopoulos, who is still on hunger strike. Thodoros is subsequently released. Also, the occupied social centers all across Greece continue to maintain and also defend themselves, and the occupied parks expand, with the planting of more trees and flowers, the construction of playgrounds and tile mosaic walkways, becoming more beautiful than any park the State has ever produced ....

August 10: Eco-anarchist group "Animals’ Revenge" rescues 7,000 mink from two different fur farms in Kozani, in northern Greece, causing hundreds of thousands of euros in damages.

August 21: Major forest fires begin just north of Athens and burn for four days, destroying 40,000 hectares of forest, olive grove, and shrub land. Many people understand that these tires are set intentionally by real estate developers.

August 25-31: Anarchists and leftists hold a No Border Camp, amidst an extreme police presence, at Mytilini, on the island of Lesvos, near Turkey

September 2: Revolutionary Struggle bombs the Athens Stock Exchange, calling in a bomb threat first to avoid casualties. The building is heavily damaged by the huge blast.

September 5: Athens police chase some people painting graffiti into Exarchia, where a crowd gathers attempting to stop the arrests.Delta Force arrives and they attack anarchists throughout the neighbourhood,yell at neighbours, smash things in the occupied park, and generally behave like hooligans. They arrest five people though all are later released with charges dropped. Police kick one of the‘detainees until they rupture his lung.

September 23: A suspected cell of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire is caught by police in Athens after the explosion of a small bomb in front of the house of an ex-minister of finance and PASOK member, just days before PASOK wins the national elections. Three men and one woman are arrested and given terrorism charges. One is released on provisional liberty awaiting trial, with the terrorism charges dropped. Six other people are wanted by police. In the months since December, the group had claimed responsibility for 160 attacks.

October 2: The Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire take responsibility for a small bomb placed close to the stage where the current prime minister and candidate for ND is giving a major public speech, just two days before the election.

October 4: PASOK win the national elections, which had been called largely in response to the political crisis of legitimacy exacerbated by December, and the December revolt proves to be a major election topic. 30% of eligible voters abstain (compared with 26% in 2007), PASOK takes 43.9% of the votes, ND takes 33.5% (their lowest polling ever), KKE takes 7.5%, LAOS takes 5.6%, SYRIZA takes 4.6%. The Green Party with only 2.5%, do not win enough votes to enter Parliament.

October 7: Three days after the elections, prime minister-elect Giorgos Papandreou (son of the legendary former Prime Minister) says in a public speech to his new ministers, "We must be like anti-authoritarians in authority.. our main target is to bring equality to all genders, races, economic classes, and nationalities, bringing together all differences,” revealing both how much the real anti-authoritarians had influenced the political structure, and also hinting at the strategy of the Socialists for recuperating the revolt. Meanwhile, anarchists and the extreme Left riot nearby in Istanbul, Turkey in protest of the International Monetary Fund, while World Bank president Robert Zoellick declares an end to the days of elitist decision-making without input from developing countries, mirroring the PASOK rhetoric.

October 8: At midday about thirty koukoulofori in Exarchia smash out the windows of a half dozen corporate targets, including the National Bank of Athens and a fascist bookstore, as well as a few luxury vehicles, disappearing before the arrival of Delta Force, units of which had been parked nearby. That night, hundreds of police invade the neighbourhood, searching some 200 people, eighty-one of whom are taken to the police station and eight of whom are arrested (for poverty-related crimes). They also search sixteen automobiles and twenty-six cafés. The next day the new minister of public order, who some years earlier was responsible for torturing suspects in order to bust and imprison several members of 17 November, says on television that the purpose of the raids is not to go after the anarchists but to arrest the vandals and hooligans and establish police authority in Exarchia. The massive and aggressive police presence, raids, and arrests continue. The last time it was like this, recall the old timers, the Socialists were also in power; it was after the 1989 riots sparked by the acquittal of the cop who killed anarchist Michalis Kaltezas, and then the police occupation of Exarchia lasted for three years.

October 10: In the afternoon, several hundred residents of Exarchia and anarchists hold a protest against the police occupation, angrily confronting a line of riot police guarding a government building, but deciding not to attack. The neighbourhood assembly of Exarchia has decided to permanently resist the repressive measures. At night, on Strefi Hill above Exarchia, four thousand young people take over the park for an unpermitted free festival with DJs, VJ's, and bands. At one point Delta Force makes a threatening show of force but leaves without provoking a fight.

The neighbourhood assembly continues holding protests twice a week, bringing thousands of people together to march from Exarchia Square to Parliament and back, vowing to continue until the police presence is removed. The struggle continues...