Strikes, hunger strikes and clashes in Greece

Strikes, hunger strikes and environmental action leading to clashes with riot police open week after weekend of state terror in Greece.

Submitted by taxikipali on July 14, 2009

After the weekend of terror in Greece, the mid-summer week has started with a wave of strikes and environmental actions, underlining that the spine of the movement is too strong to break.

On Monday 13/7 trains across Greece came to a halt for 48h as a result of a rolling 3-hour stoopage industrial action by railway workers.At the same time workers at Wind, the mobile telecommunications giant, in Greece declared a 24h strike. Workers of Wind and solidarity workers of other industrial sectors gathered outside the company's HQ and blockaded its entrance on Tuesday 14/7 morning till the afternoon.

The same day the committee against harm, and the committee against exploitation in the village of Megali Panagia in Chalkidiki joined by scores of locals form the wider area built block houses along the forest roads leading to Scouries, the area that a big gold-mining company wants to transform into a wasteland with the support of the greek government which has recently passed a law that declares any opposition to the exploitation of minerals as treason. The area has a long history of struggle against gold mines which peaked in the late 1990s with the titanic struggle of Olympiada villagers against TVX-Gold.

Meanwhile OTE, the National Telecomunication Company has sued the historical Athens Polytechnic for hosting athens indymedia in its server, alleging that this violates the conditions of its contract with OTE. The Polytechnic has condemned the legal action as censorship in line with LAOS (fascist party) demands of gagging radical dissent to the regime. The legal action was also condemned by the Coalition of Radical Left. On Tuesday 14/7 protesters attacked the central OTE tower in Athens with black paint symbolising the information black out planned by its managers. Many workers in the tower expressed their support to the action.

The same day locals of Grammaticos who are resisting the construction of an open refuse damp in their area, and clashed with riot police last week erecting barricades and torching company bulldozers organised a protest march towards the riot police blockade of the construction site. The locals clashed with the police throwing stones and other projectiles, including a few molotov cocktails. The battle lasted for about an hour and the locals suffered the extended use of tear gas and 'blast flash' grenades.

In the prison front, Thodoris Iliopoulos started a hunger strike on the 10th of July 2009. Iliopoulos was arrested on the 18th of December 2008 in Akadimias street during a riot police sweeping operation in the context of the December Uprising. He is held since the 22nd of December in the Court Prisons of Koridallos accused for 3 crimes with no witnesses other than policement. Iliopoulos denies all charges against him, and has launched a long campaign to prove his innocence. On the 8th of July his petition for release until his trial was waived by judges, being the only arrested from the December Uprising to be still held hostage. On beginning his hunger strike Iliopoulos declared: "In go on hunger strike. It is the only means remaining to me as a hostage on order to cry out the truth and denounce the terrible injustice. To denounce the hatred and the empathy of 'justice' mechanisms. To denounce the arbitrariness and the violence of a 'justice' which is blind indeed, the its even more 'blind' functionaries". In solidarity the convict Nicos Tsouvalakis has also started a hunger strike demanding the release of Iliopoulos and in protest to the dehumanising prison conditions. As of Monday 13 of July the inmates of the First Wing of Koridallos Prison, the central prison of the country in Athens, declared that they abstain from the prison kitchen ration.

Meanwhile 19 Pakistani asylum seekers held in the police station of Glyfada, south Athens, are in their fourth day of hunger strike in protest to the agreement of the ministry of Public Order and the Pakistani Embassy to repatriate them. The asylum seekers claim that their life is in danger if they return to Pakistan.