Update on direct actions in Greece the week between February 27th – March 5th.
Posted by clandestina on 7 March 2009
We copy below an update on direct actions of the last week. The original article appeared at libcom.org authored by the user taxikipali .
Anti-fascist protests end in riots, neo-nazi headquarters torched to the ground in Athens
Protest marches in response to the fascist-parastate handgrenade attack against the Immigrants’ Social Centre in Athens erupt in riots seeing neonazi national offices burned.
Riots broke out twice during the last week, both times in during protest marches against the fascist-parastate attack against the Immigrants’ Social Center in Exarcheia with a hand-grenade on the 24th of February.
During the first march two days after the attack, anarchist protesters detached themselves from the main body of the demo to attack the HQs of Apogevmatini, an ultra-conservative daily making consistent attacks on social and labour movements, whose editor in chief, Momferatos, had been executed by N17 guerrillas in the mid 80s, for his cooperation with the CIA during and after the colonels’ junta.
The much larger protest march that took to the streets of Athens on Thursday 5/3 erupted in extended street battles between protesters and provocative riot police forces attacked the demo. During the clashes that spread throughout the city centre several banks and expensive shops were destroyed, while protesters broke into the offices of Golden Dawn [Xrysi Avgi] the neonazi parastate organisation responsible for numerous assassination attempts against immigrants, anarchists and the left, as well as a campaign of terror against radical infrastructures. The offices were torched to the ground.
During the corresponding antifascist protest march of the same day in Salonica, street battles erupted between protesters and the riot police along the city’s central boulevard.
The renewed tension in the streets of Athens comes at the end of another turbulent week:
- On Friday 27/2, pupils from the state schools of Philothei and Palaeo Psichico, Athens richest suburbs, attacked the exclusive private school “Athens College”, cradle of the country’s ruling class, under the pretext of the traditional orange war between local schools at the end of the Carnival. The pupils broke the back entrance of the school smashed the guard post spraying anarchist slogans and signs on the walls. Then they fired firecrackers and piled school buses with oranges. In their effort to storm the main building they were confronted by strong police forces. The cops attacked the pupils and arrested a 13 year old boy and a 12 year old girl who was dragged on the ground. The police had to release them both when the pupils counterattacked surrounding the officers with the help of teaching stuff who accused them of brutality.
- On Monday 2/3, Afghan immigrants and locals in solidarity blocked the main seaside avenue of Patras, erecting flaming barricades, after an Afghan man tried to climb on the rear of a passing truck and a driver of a follow up truck spotted him and speeded up with the intention liquidate him. The immigrant was trapped in motion between the two vehicles and is being treated in hospital with life threatening wounds, while the driver was arrested for attempted manslaughter. The reaction of over 1000 Afghan immigrants was immediate but faced fierce police reaction with the help of local fascist elements. After an extended use of tear gas and repeated brutal attacks by the riot police and their neonazi allies the Afghans were forced back into their slum. During the repression four protesters were arrested. One of them, a Greek, was brutally beaten within the riot police armoured van. Later the same night local Greeks prevented an attempted fascist attack on the slum by pilling the gathered parastatist elements with bottles and other projectiles from their balconies. Patra has a long tradition of extreme-right ‘parastate’ organisations, including the Kalabokas gang that in 1991 assassinated the Communist teacher Temboneras during the squat movement against conservative educational reform.
- On Tuesday 3/3 1:00 a.m. and upon reaching the terminal station of ISAP in Kifisia, a rich northern suburb of Athens, the last night-train of the service was attacked when passengers masked in fancy costumes exited its wagons shouting slogans and pouring gasoline inside, and proceeded by throwing Molotov cocktails. The fire which completely destroyed the entire train despite efforts of the fire brigade, spread wildly to other stationed rail vehicles and the station’s roof, damaging the rail-lines and thus rendering the terminal station as well as the two next to last stations before it non-functional for the near future. ISAP has been subcontracting K. Kouneva, the immigrant cleaner attacked with acid last December by corporate thugs, and has been the target of a persistent violent and nonviolent campaign with regards to cleaners’ right. The group that claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack under the name “Conscience Gang” placed its action within the framework of the new urban guerrilla warfare that government circles have referred to as “low intensity civil war”, and connected their choice of target both with the plight of K. Kouneva, and with the death of Barns, a young graffitist who was electrocuted while being chased by security guards last September in an ISAP station. The group had in the past attacked the police station at Aegaleo, a western proletarian Athens suburb.
- On Wednesday 4/3 in the morning local youth gathered at the site of Alexandros Grigoropoulos’ assassination in Exarcheia, downtown Athens. The youth tried to stop the works of the construction company which is trying to erect a block of flats in the empty lot next to the site of the murder. In the past days efforts at setting up building infrastructures have been halted by protesters. That morning the youth attacked the construction vehicles, burning a big bulldozer to the ground, leading the riot police to attack with tear gas and limited street battles in the surrounding alleys. Another big empty lot near Alexandros’ assassination site, belonging to the Municipality of Athens is being reclaimed by locals as a free public space, leading to renewed tensions of the urban social movements with Athens City Hall.
- The same day workers of mental health institutions from throughout Greece gathered in Athens and pitched tents outside the Labour Ministry demanding their due salaries. The mental health workers have not been paid since last August. Mental health institutions of the greek NHS are suffering from both serious underfunding and lack of political initiative regarding the half started half completed de-asylumisation of mental health services.
- The archaelogical site of the Akropolis (Parthenon) remains closed by an open-end strike of workers demanding an immediate payment of 4 months unpaid salaries by the Ministry of Culture.