Migration and Struggle in Greece

Change in khaki: a very Socialist repression looms in Greece

Posted by clandestina on 9 October 2009

Submitted by taxikipali on Oct 9 2009 at

Change in khaki: a very Socialist repression looms in Greece

Continuing waves of mass police operations in down town Athens set the pace for new era of repression in Greece

Everyone thought it was just a show of power – but it proved to be the Socialist government’s plan for “change” after 5 years of brutal right wing rule.

The police invasion of Exarcheia, the Athens alternative-radical hub, on the early hours of Friday 9 October was evaluated by most journalists, activists and veteran politicians as a power-show of the new government, in response to a limited solidarity attack against banks in the area just out of Exarcheia earlier the same day. Minister of Public Order Mr Chrisochoidis, the notorious anti-terrorist mastermind of the last Pasok administration, appeared to many as just typically determined to show who is the new boss. But the continuing waves of police invasion (3 by Friday 19:00 pm) into an area which is commonly acknowledged as the most vibrant intellectual, student and political hub of the country, with hundreds of people stopped and checked, many manifold times in the same day, shops stormed, and locals humiliated by being made to kneel on the pavement and body-searched, has come to prove the new government’s self-professed “antiauthoritarianism” a bitter joke.

Pasok, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, now in power has a long record of police brutality.

In its first 8 years of rule, the “democratisation of the police” was revealed as a sham with the execution of 15 year old anarchist Michalis Kaltezas in November 17 1985 during the usual protest marches commemorating the 1973 Polytechnic uprising. The identification of Pasok with police rule at the time was reflected in a popular slogan about the chief of the Athens police: “Change cannot happen without Arkoudeas; he is not a man, he is an idea!”. In the second round of Pasok rule from 1993 to 2004, the Socialists gave away any remaining scruples by ordering the evacuation of the Polytechnic on November 17 1995, breaking for the first time the academic asylumtime since the student massacre of 1973, with 500 people arrested. Also under the 1990s Pasok administration the Golden Dawn, the infamous neo-nazi organisation of thugs, was allowed to form a paramilitary unit and participate in the Serbian sacking of Srebrenica, and the consequent massacre of thousands of muslims.

The new Pasok administration under Papandreou the third (son of Andreas Papandreou, founder of Pasok, and grandson of George Papandreou, the PM who led the British tanks against the people of Athens in December 1944) has assumed an antiauthoritarian gloss of postmodern proportions. The PM has called his government “antiauthoritarians in power” whereas Mr Chrisochoidis has gone public today saying that he is good friend with many anarchists and agrees on many things with them – pointing out that he is against vandals not political groups. Mr Chrisochoidis also claimed that from now on no police violence will be tolerated and any cop who brutalises citizens or has connections with the Golden Dawn will be immediately sacked. These official announcements have received great media coverage but also the scorn of people whose memory is not too short to remember Mr Chrisochoidis’s 2002 chemical torture of Savas Xiros, the first arrested member of the urban guerrilla group November 17.

Until now there have been 111 people detained and 8 people arrested during the operations.

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