Immigrants march again in Athens despite fascist counterdemo

On Friday 29 May immigrants and solidarity protesters marched to the greek parliament despite fascist counterdemo and media scaremongering.

Submitted by taxikipali on May 31, 2009

Following the intensifying repression against immigrants, especially of muslim origin, across the country, and the greek police's failure to apologise for the public and humiliating destruction of a copy of the Koran during sweeping operations against immigrants in the coveted area of Agios Panteleimonas last week, thousands of immigrants and solidarity protesters took the the streets of Athens in protest against racism, police repression and parastate white terror. The protest march went ahead with no violence apart from a token destruction of the fascist party's (LAOS - Popular Orthodox Alarm) euroelection kiosk, despite a counterdemo organised by the Golden Dawn, the notorious neonazi organisation several members of which have been found guilty for attempted manslaughter against left-wing activists.

The fascist counterdemo, numbering less than one hundred parastate elements, was allowed to march in (a parody of) battle formation to the Parliament just before the immigrant march in order to lay a wreath to the unknown soldier monument in memory of the fall of Istanbul to the Ottomans in 1453. The Golden Dawn is primarily responsible for the mobilisation of extreme-right wing elements in the neighborhood of Agios Panteleimonas, forming lightly armed "self-defense" groups purging immigrants from the area's central square and attacking houses, burning down shops and community places of worship (mosques are illegal in Athens), smashing up public events, and targeting even the church of the parish, the largest in the country, which fell victim to fascist arson attack for providing support and supper for immigrants.

The night before the protest march local anarchists symbolically reoccupied the square of Agos Panteleimonas and broke the chains put by the fascists in order to keep the local playing grounds closed to avert "immigrant children polluting the greek". Nevertheless the area remains a fascist stronghold, enjoying the subtle backing of the majority of the bourgeois media which on the one hand present an endless spectacle of racist bigotry, and on the other hand cover up the involvement of the neonazis and their support by the police. It is characteristic that Kathimerini, the leading centre-right daily, in a recent long reportage of the situation only referred to the Golden Dawn once, to deny its involvement, although its members had attacked an editor of the newspaper covering the crisis only a few days before.

Protest marches against state repression and fascist terror were also held in Salonica, Patra, Volos, Heraklion and Chania in Crete.