Long battles erupted 5/6 March at the Athens protest march against the measures. The GSEE union boss was heavily beaten by protesters while battles with the cops developed for 3 hours all across the centre of the city after riot police attacked anti-Nazi resistance symbol Manolis Glezos
The demo called by ADEDY, the public sector umbrella union, and GSEE, the private sector umbrella union, started gathering at 12:30 in Syntagma square, after another 10,000 strong demo by Communist Party umbrella union, PAME had ended its own demo and marched to Omonoia square. Soon around 10,000 people gathered in Syntagma, a large number considering there is only a 4 hour stoppage and not a strike today.
All was quiet until the GSEE union boss Mr Panagopoulos took the microphone to address the protest. Before managing to utter more than five words, the hated union boss was attacked by all kinds of protestors who first heckled him and threw bottles of water and yogurt on his face and then attacked him physically like a giant swarm. With bruises, cuts and his clothes torn, the PASOK lackey struggled his way towards police lines, as the people attacked again and again. Finally he managed to hide behind the Presidential Guard and up the steps of the Parliament where the hated austerity measures were being voted. The crowd below encouraged him to go where he belongs, to the lair of thieves, murderers and liars.
What the bourgeois media call the “lynching” of the union supreme boss became a prime subject of infight within the parliament with the government accusing the Radical Left Coalition that the attackers originated from its block (GSEE itself blaming KOE, a Maoist group of the Coalition), a half-truth at best. The Communist Party has refused to condemn the attack, only noting it disagrees with it. This is the first time such a high ranking union boss is attacked at a rally that its union has called, and the act is widely believed to mark a new era in union history in greece. The initial phase of the attack against the union boss can be seen here:
Soon after the beating of Panagopoulos, small skirmishes started between protesters and riot police forces in the form of body-to-body battles in front of the Parliament. During one of these incidents, riot cops attacked Manolis Glezos, the heroic anti-nazi resistance fighter who had lowered the nazi flag from the Acropolis during the german occupation. The elderly man was trying to help a man from being arrested at them time and had to be removed from the battle scene in an ambulance as tear gas fired directly on his face caused him serious pneumonic problems and he remains in serious condition in hospital.
The attack on Glezos gave the signal for a general attack of thousands of people against the cops, many of who were wounded during the battles which included rocks, sticks but no molotov cocktails. During the clashes 5 people were arrested, 2 of who are accused under the anti-hood law, while the rest with small non-criminal breaches of the law. During the clashes many riot shields and helmets were taken from the cops and burned along with other flaming barricades on the streets. 7 cops are reported by the police as heavily wounded, some with knee-cap and other bone breaks.
Due to extended use of tear gas at around 14:00 the atmosphere in Syntagma square was so unbearable that among chanting “the cops are not the children of the workers, they are the dogs of the bosses”, the demo turned into a protest march with the direction of the Ministry of Labour, half a km south of Omonoia square. At reaching Propylea more clashes with the police took place, while a sole high-ranking cop was isolated and beaten by the crowd. Further down on the way to Omonoia, protesters attacked a riot police squad that was guarding the National Legal Council. The riot police squad was cornered and attacked by means of sticks rocks and flares, before being forced to retreat inside the building after one of its members was captured by protesters and repeatedly trampled by the angered crowd.
The march then continued to Omonoia and from there down Peireaos street where banks, economic targets and expensive cars came under attack, before the march reached the Ministry and the protesters tried to break its central doors. More clashes with the police ensued and the march turned back to front and decided to march once again to the Parliament. On the way, cops came once again under attack by protesters with many riot policemen wounded and retaliating by means of tear gas. After reaching the Parliament, the march refused to desolve and took once again to the street in a bravado of resolve, until it reached Propylea where it came to an end. After the end of the march 6 more people were detained while taking refuge to the Social Security Headquarters, but have been released without any charges against them.
In Salonica, upon reaching the gates of the Ministry of Thrace and Macedonia protesters pulled down the heavy iron fences of the Ministry and moved into its front yard where they were confronted by riot police who made use of tear gas amongst flaming barricades.
Finally, the workers of the National Printing Units have occupied the premises and refuse to print the legislation imposing the austerity measures. Unless the legislation is printed there, it is not legally valid. Meanwhile the occupation of the State General Accountancy by layed-off Olympic Airways workers continues. The workers have also permanently closed off Panepistimiou street (the equivalent of Oxford street in London), at the heigh of the building, with all traffic diverted by side-roads.
Mass strikes with only hours prior warning are unfolding in Greece after the government announced new crippling measures for workers
The government’s announcements of the new austerity measures dictated by the EU have rendered the greek PM’s talk of a “state of war” concrete. The new measures include a 30% cut in public workers’ 13th and 14th salary, as well as 12% cut in all salary subsidies, which in reality amounts to a sum of more than 1/12 of the total annual salary. In addition the government has announced new taxes for alcohol and cigarettes, as well as a universal VAT of 21% that is considered crippling by shop-owners and small free-lance entrepreneurs. Not one measure is however targeted towards the construction-banking-press-shipping trusts that plague the country.
The reaction to the measures has been immediate and acute:
Just hours after the announcement of the new measures, layed-off workers of Olympic Airways attacked riot police lines guarding the State General Accountancy and have occupied the building, in what they call a open-ended occupation. The action has led to the closing of Athens’ main commercial street, Panepistimiou, for long hours.
On Thursday morning, workers under the Communist Party union umbrella PAME occupied the Ministry of Finance on Syntagma square (which remains under occupation) as well as the county headquarters of the city of Trikala. Later, PAME also occupied 4 TV station in the city in Patras, and the state TV station of Salonica, forcing the news broadcasters to play a DVD against government measures.
On Thursday afternoon, two protest marches took to the streets of Athens. The first, called by PAME, and the second by OLME, the teachers union and supported by ADEDY. The latter gathered around 10,000 people despite less than 24h notice, and during its course limited clashes developed with the riot police which was pilled with rocks outside the EU Commission building. Also two protest marches took to the streets of Salonica at the same time.A protest march was also realized in the city of Lamia.
Finally, the party offices of PASOK in the town of Arta were smashed by what it is believed to be people enraged by the measures
ADEDY and GSEE (public and private sector union umbrellas) have declared a 4h stoppage of work across the country for tomorrow and a central demo outside the Parliament at noon. The two giant unions are hinting at a general strike for the 11th of March.
PAME has declared a 24h strike in all sectors for Friday.
All buses, trolleys, the metro, intercity trains, and trams as well as most flights of Aegean and Olympic Airways apart from a few security flights been be halted, as workers in means of mass transport have called a 24h strike. The strike will immobilize the country.
All schools will remain closed, as teachers have called a 24h strike.
All public TV and radio, as well as the Athens News Agency, all municipal radio stations and the Ministry of Press have declared a 24h strike and a demo in front of the Journalist Union building in Athens.
All hospitals across the country will be serving only emergency cases, as doctors have declared a 24h strike.
No garbage will be collected on Friday, as refuse collectors have declared a 24h strike, while they have also announced another strike and a protest march for March the 10th.
Pensioners will be performing a protest march in Salonica on Friday morning.
Students are holding assemblies in their schools to decide their participation in the struggle, with many schools already having decided to move to occupation and participate in the marches.
It is indicative of the climate of public rage that even cops have announced a demo outside the Athens Police Hq for the 11th of March.
Tax officers have also announced a 2day strike starting on Monday, while school traffic wardens in Northern Greece have announced a 3-day long strike starting on Monday.
The people’s reaction to the austerity measures are expected to further explode as the EU Commission is pressuring for the implementation of similar measures for the private sector. It is believed that such a move could bring the country on the brink of social insurrection.
The workers who should print the new law on measures still strike and occupy their working place. unless the law’s not published it’s not legal and the capitalists will love that friday the 5th: 4 hours stoppage/ demos with 10000/ three hours of clashes with police/ lots of helmets and shields bbq’d/ Vyronas after the murder and the attack of the moto-bike-cops occupied Park in Exarchia 9 weeks of migrant fishers strike and soli-demo in salonika
Friday 5th March 2010
Gatherings and demonstrations all around Greece against the Greek government’s and EU’s austerity program. In Athens more than 10.000 people in the gathering of PAME and almost the same number in the gathering of out-parliamentary organizations to express their opposition to the new slavery plans. Mr. Panagopoulos, the head of GSEE (General Confederations of Workers Greece) was attacked with yoghurt, coffee and water when he tried to make a speech among the protestors; the anger of the workers rised up and some clashes with him and his bodyguards took place. Just to remind about him, this pimp of the workers’ rights, has refused during the last days to announce an official General Strike for today, day when the governors voted for the austerity program. The special pigs’ units sprayed also teargas on the face of Manolis Glezos, 88 years old, when he tried to take a youngster away from the pigs’ hands and avoid this arrest. Manolis Glezos took down the German Nazi flag from Acropolis in May 1941 and now in 2010 was attacked by the servants of neoliberal economical plans. After the attack against Glezos, many people moved against the pigs in front of the parliament and took away their shields, helmets and other “democratic” equipment of them. Many clashes with cops also in front of Arsakeio school and at Propylaia area. The government gave order to evacuate the Labor Ministry, where people tried to brake the front door, but the pigs deffended the building. The General State Accounting offices squatted for one more day with strong clashes in front of the building. Many banks, street cameras, luxurious cars and shopping malls also smashed down. The National Printing bulding squatted by workers of the Inland Ministry to stop the printing of the new economical laws and condemn that the government keeps also a secret agenta. In total, 5 arrests in Athens; 2 persons accused with heavy crimes and 3 with light ones.
– Video, one of the arrests:
Athens, Parliament: https://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1140004
Athens, StE: https://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1140023 on 11th March, one more Panhellenic General Strike …
Saturday 6th March 2010
•Motorcycle demonstration in Thessaloniki under cold and rain in solidarity with the Egyptian fishermen workers who strike for almost 9 weeks now. The protestors informed people in the streets and in the local fish market about the fishermen’s strike and the fascistic attacks against them. (watch older updates) Demonstration in the neighbourhood of Exarcheia among the 3 days mobilization actions of the self managed park of Navarinou street which was squatted by citizens in December 2008 and is still squatted without any comercial use or involve of the government.
Video and Photos: https://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1140212
Information action in Vyronas district of Athens, where Nikolas Toddi was killed by pigs on 16th February 2010. The demonstration that took place on 27th February in the district to condemn this event was brutally beaten up by pigs and many people are accused by law for their decision not to remain silent to the state’s murders.
A general strike by ADEDY and GSEE has been called for March 11.