The general strike in greece called by public and private sector umbrella unions has led to a mass walkout but demonstrations have been composed of very small numbers of protesters.
The general strike called by GSEE (private sector umbrella union) and ADEDY (public sector umbrella union) for the 20th of May was the first mass mobilisation against the IMF/EU related austerity measures since the massive but also tragic general strike of the 5th of May.
According to all existing sources the participation in the strike was massive, and has been described by bourgeois media as reaching levels near 100% in some areas.
However the numbers of protesters on the streets of Athens and other major cities were strikingly small and the protest marches have been characterised by low-key or even numb tone of participation. In Athens the central protest march called by PAME, the Communist Party union umbrella did not walk to the Parliament but opted to march to the Ministry of Labour which PAME workers had occupied since early in the morning, and then to Thesion. The GSEE-ADEDY demo, numbering only a few thousand people, marched to the Parliament where slogans like "Thieves, Thieves", "Fascist scum, nooses are coming" and (surprisingly perhaps given the fire-related tragedy of the previous General Strike) "Burn, burn the brothel called Parliament" dominated the moment. A striking feature of the march were the firemen who shouted slogans holding big pictures of colleagues who have lost their lives at work (a video of the firemen's march can be see at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ9bezrc3XM&feature=player_embedded). Before the start of the march, strong motorised police forces performed 98 preventive detentions while blockading the central social center of AK, Nosotros, in Exarcheia and the offices of the Anarchist Archive. The police only let people inside Nosotros to go to the march after noting down their papers, a thoroughly illegal act of authoritarian arbitrariness.
It must be noted that in contrast to today's little attended marches, last Saturday PAME performed a rather impressive solo march against the measures numbering up to 100,000 people; a clear indication that the course of action adopted by the Communists lately is drawing mass popular support.
Whereas many people welcomed the respite of violence in today's marches, the small numbers of the protesters have caused widespread search for the meaning and reason of this anti-climax, believed by many to be the result of the death of the three people in Marfin Bank on the 5th of May. It must be noted that texts by anarchist collectivities criticising the Marfin burning as well as more general militant attitudes related to it are multiplying, not without counter-arguments raised in texts by other anarchists and notably a long communique by the NFC where the armed group goes as far as theorise and entice what is calls "revolutionary militarism", quoting the Peruvian Stalinist leader of the Shining Path, Abimael Guzman in support if its self-proclaimed nihilist project.