Molotovs fly as police-nazi collaboration stokes the flames of Greek resistance
Posted by clandestina on 25 July 2009
source: athens indymedia article
Molotovs fly as police-nazi collaboration stokes the flames of Greek resistance
by AGENT ORANGE
Report and reflections on the violent wave of police and neo-nazi collaboration and ugly the rise of nationalism in Greece. Written on the ground, in the squat that was fire bombed this morning…
The sun is setting over central Athens as 3000+ protesters gather in Omonoia Square in opposition to the treatment of immigrant workers by the Greek state. No police can be seen as the crowd gathers, yet the mood is tense with grim determination and anticipation of the real possibility of extreme violence from the state. We march slowly down-town towards the Saint Pandeleimonas district, a suburb mainly inhabited by immigrants. A thunderous chant echoes through the darkening streets, as CCTV cameras and cash machines are smashed, shop fronts graffiti-ed and and hundreds of leaflets tossed across the pavements. On the flanks of the mass are defended by helmeted, pole-wielding marchers, as heavily armored riot police can be seen through side streets, moving down the parallel road. The crowd slows as orange flashes of fire can be seen far off at the front line, suddenly followed by the deafening boom of stun grenades, and plooms of tear gas. Fear spreads through some sections of the crowd as it surges back in retreat. Burning barricades protect our route to the ASOEE university and relative sanctuary. We are told that the front was attacked by moltov hurling nazis working within the police front line.
This co-operation between militant neo-nazi groups and the Greek police is nothing new, but in the last six months it has become increasingly frequent and audacious. The most dangerous neo-nazi group is Chrysi Avyi (Golden Dawn). Although they have relatively little popular support (23,000 votes in the last European elections), they are powerful due to their deep running relationship with the state, particularly the connections and wide spread support within the police force. In 2005 a leaked confidential internal police investigation concluded that:
1. Chrysi Avyi had very good relations and contacts with officers of the force, on and off duty, as well as with common policemen.
2. The police provided the group with batons and radio communications equipment during mass demonstrations.
3. The connections between the neo-nazi group and the Greek police force, helped delay the arrest of ‘Periandros’, a prominent member of Chrysi Avgi, wanted for the attempted murder of three left-wing students.
4. The brother of “Periandros”, also a member of Chrysi Avgi, was a security escort of an unnamed New Democracy MP.
5. Most Chrysi Avyi members illegally carry weapons.
This investigation only exposed a small, nasty taste of what was to come and since it was leaked, this co-operation between Chrysi Avyi and the police has increased dramatically. Even the bias mainstream media has had to accept and shamefully report this widespread collaboration.
Two days after the rally (09 July), as we were sat on the street corner where Alexandros Grigoropoulos was murdered last December, word quickly spread round that Villa Amalias, the 19 year old anarchist squat, had just been attacked by fascists with molotovs and projectiles. The squatters fought them back and the fascists retreated back behind police lines, which protected them. The attack was undoubtedly prearranged between the nazis and the police.
Twenty minutes before the attack, in the suburb of Agios Panteleimonas, the Minister of Public Order, Markoyannakis, met with the fascist vigilantes, headed by an army officer, Pipikios. They then left Agios Panteleimonas and attacked the squat. Attacks on squats are not that uncommon in Greece but this is the first time since the Junta dictatorship that a Minister has openly met with fascist combat groups. Two days later three immigrants (2 Iraqi and 1 Nigerian) were shot in a drive-by shooting in Omonia square. The same day the squatted former Court of Appeals building in central Athens, that accommodated hundreds of homeless immigrants, was hit by an arson attack. The police have attempted to evict the squat numerous times in the past and it has for a long time been the scene of constant nazi and police harassment and violence. Yesterday (21 July) the last phase of the eviction emptied the building. Of the hundreds of immigrants living in the squat, many have been arrested and will be imprisoned in one of the eleven disused army bases that have just been converted into concentration camps. Recently, on the July 12, the largest refugee settlement in Greece, outside the city of Patra, was brutally evicted, bulldozed and ‘mysteriously’ burned to the ground by police. More stark evidence of the rising totalitarianism in the treatment of refugees, a trend that is currently growing, in Greece, as well as most of Europe.
In the recent European elections, extreme-right party LAOS made a political breakthrough, with 7.2 per cent of the vote. Desperate for support, the ruling, conservative New Democracy party has taken to increasingly far-right behavior: the moronic scapegoating of immigrants, squatters and anarchists, fear mongering propaganda and constantly pleading for “national unity” though out the population. The Greek press and television have recently taken extremely xenophobic views, fully supporting the government’s attempt to unite people in an ugly wave of nationalism, and to drive people’s attention away from the economic crisis.
This increased police-nazi cooperation brings the counterinsurgency strategy of the State into harsh, new perspective. The government has previously said that the “terrorist” harboring squats will be evicted this summer, between the middle of July and the middle of August. Tactically this makes sense, as a lot of people have vacated the cities to escape the choking summer heat, leaving the squats more vulnerable to attack or eviction. This week a squat in Thessaloníki, where the local pirate radio station operates, was also attacked with molotovs. The tension is high, defenses are being built and a lot of squatters have stayed in the city and are organising resistance strategies. The threat is uncertain, but there is no doubt that mass evictions would result in a massive flare up of resistance. The authorities are aware of this and are apprehensive to fulfill their desired plan. Instead they have been focusing on the easy targets of immigrant squats and so not losing face.
Another dangerous organisation co-operating with Greek police is Scotland Yard. In March this year British “anti-terrorist experts”, including Sir Ian Blair, ex-head of Scotland Yard; as well as American “security advisors”, were in Athens giving advice on the tactics of oppression. The Greek government is desperate to upgrade its social control and surveillance apparatus, Greece’s parliament has just approved measures allowing police to use surveillance camera footage, create a DNA database and banning anonymous mobile phones. The British state have proven to be experts in these tactics of surveillance and intelligence gathering, and of course the information gained using these techniques, is falling into the hands of neo-nazis.
Despite the savage rise in right wing violence, the anarchist movement is still gathering more popular support, and now even the mainstream media have acknowledge it as legitimate political force. It seems unlikely, that the ruling government can maintain its treacherous course for long. Urban guerrilla insurrectionist groups has kept up a constant stream of attacks on the state and corporate business. Some of the attacks so far this month alone, include a bomb attack on the Athens home of a former deputy minister, a firebomb attack on a tax office, a bomb attack on a McDonald’s causing “extensive damage”, a bomb attack on a prominent Judges car, a failed bombing attempt at the Chilean consulate and there have been a string of strategic arson attacks on offices and vehicles. This month a police bus has come under fire from a masked gunman and last month an anti-terrorist policeman guarding a witness was shot dead by a two gunmen. Different anarchist and leftist guerrilla groups have claimed responsibility for most of these attacks.
The movement has learnt a lot from the December insurrection and while support for the guerrilla groups is widespread, many feel that without more wide spread social change, the revolution is distant. Yet resistance is stronger then ever and stands resolute in the sinister face of fascism. It is also worth noting, that during the recent upsurge in molotov use by neo-nazis, no one has been injured by the bombs, except on two separate occasions when the fascists managed to set themselves on fire. In the words of one Greek anarchist:
“Those comical scum, who have no idea how to handle the simplest of street weapons, the molotov firebomb, they are unable to fight us with our weapons. Molotovs are and will remain the people’s weapon, in defense of their freedom against fascist bastards.”
Amendment: Just before posting this piece, one of the squats, where we have been staying, the big squatted factory space called Yfanet, was attacked at 5 in the morning (25 July). The bomb containing 6 gas cans, a four-liter petrol canister caused no damage. The struggle continues…