The entire press and media world goes on 24h strike across Greece in response to the closing down of a major daily and radio station, in a context of rising repression and urban guerrilla warfare.
On the 24th of June 2009, the entire press and media apparatus of Greece came to a standstill due to a 24h strike of press and media workers in response to the surprise shutting down of Eleftheros Typos, one of the country’s oldest right-wing newspapers, and the popular City Radio, both owned by the tycoon and president of the 2004 Olympic Games, Mrs Angelopoulou. The closing down of the daily and radio station came with no previous warning and are considered to be the first major effect of the global economic crisis in the country. The industrial solidarity action that took place on the 24th and deprived the entire country of newspapers and news broadcasts on both radio, TV and the Internet is a first response to the sacking of 450 workers of the joint business. At the same time workers occupied the offices of the newspaper and the radio station.
The press-media crisis and labour struggle come at a time of renewed tension across the country despite the summer holiday season. Social polarisation, which is seen by many as a result of the December Uprising, peaked again last week with yet another urban guerrilla attack by the Sect of Revolutionaries, a group that had attacked a police department and a TV station with automatic weapons last winter. This time the country came to a standstill as guerrillas executed an officer of the elite and secretive anti-terrorist bureau who was guarding the only accusation witness in the so-called Revolutionary People’s Struggle (ELA) trial. The trial, which is going through the appeal court, has been accused by the vast majority of the legal world as a sham (the accusation witness is in fact the ex-wife of the chief accused), putting innocent people through a long and painful ordeal on non-existent evidence regarding their involvement in the urban guerrilla group that disbanded in 1995 after 20 years of action. In their much-publicised communiqué, the Sect of Revolutionaries promised to make Greece bleed, targeting journalists, politicians and fascist leaders, while putting forward a new class theory positing at its epicentre as an archenemy what the guerrillas call the Lumpen Petty-Bourgeois Class. The assassination and the communiqué have created havoc in the government, which has been trying to introduce a series of tough ‘Law and Order’ laws of disputable constitutional validity and judicial applicability.
The new police-state legislation introduced by the frail 1-MP majority right-wing government, which secured the backing of the tiny fascist party (LAOS), include: a) immediate extradition of any ‘foreigner’ (non-greek citizen, including EU citizens) who is accused (not convicted) for a crime that can receive a penalty of more than 3 months; b) up to 10 years imprisonment for any greek citizen who ‘helps or harbours’ ‘illegal immigrants’, doctors included; c) up to 10 years imprisonment of committing any crime or felony (from spitting on the street to murder) wearing a hood, or otherwise ‘disclosing one’s characteristics’, including heavy make-up; d) compulsory DNA sampling of anyone convicted to three months of prison or more; e) free and unlimited use of blast flash grenades by the police in dispersing crowds. The new dictatorial measures have been met with hostility of all the political world, fascists excluded, and by the Lawyer’s Union who has pledged to challenge their validity both in national and international courts.