Anti-fascist protesters march and smash neo-Nazi expansionist stunt in Ioannina, north-west Greece

A fascist expansionist stunt smashed by protesters in Ioannina, marking yet another low ebb for nationalist bigots.

In the evening of Saturday 14/3 a big antifascist protest march took to the streets of the city of Ioannina in NW Greece against the fascist laying of wreaths at the memorial stele of an ancient local statesman. The fascist annual public stunt organised and attended by members of the neonazi organisation Golden Dawn [Xrysi Avgi], known for its murderous attacks against leftists, anarchists and immigrants, whose leader has been exposed as a secret service [EYP] agent by the daily Eleftherotypia, provoked the public sentiment of the old city by claiming Greek sovereignty over south Albania, an area identified by the fascists as “North Epirus”. The protest march attacked the fascist gathering and thwarted its members, many of who had to be hospitalised with serious injuries. Despite the intervention of the riot-police, who in the past has provided protection for the neonazis, and extended use of tear gas, there have been no arrests or wounded amongst the antifascist protesters, and the march withdrew orderly with no damage done to property.

Earlier the same day an antifascist protest march took to the streets of the ultraconservative city of Komotini at the borders with Turkey. Police presence was expectedly disproportional and provocative. Komotini is the capital of the Pomak minority which has been brutally discriminated against by the Greek state, and until 1996 forced to live in a state of permanent curfew.

At the same time in Athens and its periphery a variety of protests were taking place:

From day to well into the night, locals from the Exarcheia people’s assembly continued their efforts to transform the vast parking lot near the assassination site of A. Grigoropoulos. Despite police harassment, the locals continued to plant trees and construct a children’s playground on the disputed lot. Performances and concerts continued at the site throughout the weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, a protest march gathered outside the adolescents’ prisons of Avlona to demand the immediate release of the imprisoned insurgents of last December, and prison abolition.

At the same time, locals from the suburb of Agia Paraskevi marched against the Da Vinci-Ferrari Club, an architectural elitist monstrosity that was built on a big public lot which the local people’s assembly demands to be transformed into a non-commercial green space. The locals, shouting slogans such as “if we do not resist in all neighbourhoods our cities will become modern prisons”, blockaded the Club piling its entrance with eggs, then blocked the main east west Athens avenue before marching to the City Hall which they again piled with eggs.

Later on Saturday, members of the LGTB community of Athens gathered outside the Opera House to protest against the continuing homophobic propaganda distributed by members of the State Orchestra in relation to the staging of Dvorak’s Rusalka containing a kiss between two men, which the homophobic musicians identified ‘as unacceptable as rape’ in leaflets they distributed at the beginning of the performance. The protesters closed the central boulevard outside the Opera and staged a mass public kissing, distributing leaflets and chanting slogans like: “Down with the scene of homophobia, fire on the gender power structure”.

Late at night street battles between anarchists and riot police developed around the Ministry of Culture at the outskirts of Exarcheia.

At the meantime, the greek government has pledged to create a new metropolitan repression structure and a special corps aimed at hindering political violence, while the Minister of Public Order is to meet with Scotland Yard and Ian Blair as well as with American security advisers, in an effort to seek means to repress the growing social movements.