Plus de 6000 policiers seront déployés à Athènes ce week-end à l’occasion du premier anniversaire de la mort d’un adolescent tué par la police, dont le décès avait déclenché les pires émeutes que la Grèce ait connues depuis des décennies.
Les troubles avaient duré plus de quinze jours l’an dernier après la mort d’Alexandros Grigoropoulos, âgé de 15 ans. Des magasins avaient été endommagés et pillés à Athènes. La Grèce redoute de nouveaux incidents ce week-end alors que le pays est confronté à une montée de la violence de groupes d’extrême gauche.
Le président grec Karolos Papoulias a appelé au calme vendredi. «Le meurtre d’Alexis Grigoropoulos a été non seulement un acte haineux, mais aussi une leçon pour nous tous (…) une obligation de tenter de garantir une société plus juste pour notre jeune génération», a-t-il déclaré. Et d’ajouter : «J’espère que le souvenir d’Alexis sera honoré pacifiquement parce que c’est le minimum que nous devons (à sa famille).»
De petites manifestations ont été signalées vendredi. Des groupes d’adolescents ont bloqué deux routes au nord de la capitale et une patrouille de police a été attaquée par une quarantaine de jeunes dans le centre d’Athènes, blessant légèrement deux policiers, selon les forces de l’ordre.
Une manifestation est prévue dimanche pour marquer l’anniversaire de la mort d’Alexandros Grigoropoulos. Jusqu’à 6500 policiers seront en service de samedi à lundi, selon les autorités. «Nous ne tolérerons pas le désordre ni les attaques contre des citoyens innocents», a prévenu le vice-Premier ministre Theodoros Pangolos. «Le gouvernement ne tolérera pas la violence ni le vandalisme.»
Deux policiers ont été inculpés de meurtre et tentative de meurtre pour la mort de l’adolescent. Ils doivent être jugés à partir du 20 janvier.
Leur presse (AP), 4 décembre 2009.
(…) On Thursday police fired teargas at around 100 students trying to occupy the Economics faculty to mark the death of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos on December 6 last year.
Staff unions said that students had staged occupations at dozens of universities and schools across Greece on Friday. (…)
Their press (Javno), December 4th.
Attacks against police in Athens in defiance to PM’s plea for calm
Attacks against the police marked Friday 4/12 despite the Prime Minister’s public plea for calm. The tension in the capital city of Greece is high with more than 400 high-schools and 30 universities occupied across the country.
The greek Prime Minister’s public plea for calm in the light of the first anniversary of Alexandros Grigoropoulos murder and the subsequent uprising last year was nullified today as the police was attacked three times in a few hours in the city of Athens.
Minutes after 12:00 at noon two police patrols were attacked simultaneously in Exarcheia, the radical enclave of the greek capital. Radicals attacked the police with sticks and caused serious injuries to the officers, two of which have been hospitalised, one in bad condition. Following the attack strong riot police forces surrounded the area and several people have been detained but are being currently released.
Two hours later high-school pupils formed a march in the northern suburb of Chalandri to commemorate the assassination of 15 year old Alexandros by cops last year, the first of its kind two days before the actual anniversary. The pupils marched to the local police station and attacked it with rocks and oranges. During the melee two banks were also attacked. There have been no arrests or detentions.
The anti-police attacks come to add to the electrified climate in Greece where at the moment 400 high-schools and more than 30 universities are under occupation. The government has announced a zero tolerance plan, claiming that although the assassination has “scarred the collective memory” of the people, it will not allow Athens to be destroyed again. Friday’s session in parliament devolved into a brawl between parties concerning the measures taken and last December’s uprising, amidst scaremongering by the extreme-right that “thousands of foreign anarchists” are flooding the country with sinister intentions. On a more calm note, the President of the Republic has declared the state “guilty towards the youth”, urging once again for peace and reconciliation.
1st Update: Forgot to mention that the previous night 50 radicals occupied the TV station of the local channel of Ioannina city during its main news broadcast. The radicals left after the channel broadcasted a 20 minute video on the December Uprising.
2nd Update: Riots broke out on Friday night in the city of Corinth. Around 300 high-school pupils formed a march in memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos in the centre of the city and attacked the central police station. The main branch of the national bank of Greece and one more bank are reported to have been smashed and torched, while riot police men guarding the police headquarters were attacked with Molotov cocktails and abandoned their positions. One person is reported arrested.
Libcom, December 4th.
Tension in Greece before critical weekend
Strikes, marches, blockades, occupations and nights of fire are setting the climate before the critical weekend of the first anniversary of Alexandros Grigoropoulos murder.
Political and social tension is rising across Greece before the critical weekend (Saturday 5- Monday 7) that marks the first year anniversary of the assassination of Alexandros Grigoropoulos and the subsequent December Uprising.
On the labour front, a series of sectors are restless. On Monday 30/11 Athens saw a demo of hospital doctors who went on a 24h strike in front of the Evangelismos hospital. At the same time nurses of the Agia Eleni hospital have occupied the management offices of the hospital demanding that employed nurses are removed from office work and placed only in medical care. On the telecom front, the workers of Wind have called another 24h strike for Thursday 3/12 in response to the forced “voluntary exit” of 200 workers. At the same time archaeologists employed by the Ministry of Culture have called a 48h strike for Wednesday and Thursday demanding immediate payment of all salaries. The archaeologists gathered in front of the Archaeological Museum of Athens and marched to the Ministry. On the heavy industry side, steel workers have called a 24h strike in protest to the layoff of 16 workers at the National Steelworks. The workers have gathered in front of the main factory of the industry and are closing on and off the national highway south of Athens. On the public sector on Wednesday 2/12 stage workers of the municipality of Salonica have blockaded the municipal headquarters disallowing all citizens and employers to enter the premises. The workers are demanding the revision of the new government’s plans regarding the integration of stage workers to permanent employment. On the farming side of things, peach producers have been blockading the Egnatia national highway, halting all traffic from Salonica west, demanding that the Ministry of Agriculture fix a universal price for their products.
Finally a striking event much discussed even in the mainstream media is an acid attack against the car of a cleaner, Venetia Monalopoulou, contracted to the Airport of Salonica. The cleaner is a leading syndicalist playing an important role in the efforts to built a united autonomous union front of cleaners on the model put forward by K. Kouneva, the Athens cleaner who is still in hospital a year after an assassination attempt against her with sulphuric acid. The latest attack came during an assembly of the cleaners and has been condemned by the cleaners as “boss terrorism”.
On the student front, a protest march took to the streets of Athens amongst piles of ungathered garbage due to a blockade of the Fylis refuse dump by locals. The students protested the closure of their schools by a collaboration if rectorial and police authorities during the 36th anniversary of the November 17 Uprising last month. A similar protest march took to the streets of the city of Volos on Tuesday 1/12. At the same time workers of the University of the Peloponese who have been occupying the rectorial headquarters of their university moved on Wednesday 2/12 to blockade the main Corinthian highway, thus putting all southbound circulation in the peninsula to a halt.
On the anti-repression front, as the trial of the imprisoned anarchist Ilias Nikolaoy started on Wednesday morning under draconian police presence, a big motorised protest march took to the prisons of Diavata the previous night. At the same time a big protest march took to the streets of Salonica on Monday 30/12 protesting against the para-state bomb attack against the Bueno Ventura antiauthoritarian social centre last week. A day earlier another anti-repression protest march took to the streets of Petralona in Athens against the petrol bomb attack against the house of a member of the Revolutionary Workers Party who is actively involved in the anti-gentrification movement in the area. At the same time two new squats have appeared in the archipelagos of social antagonism: on in Exarcheia and on in Corfu. The latter has been receiving pressure of eviction by local cops.
Finally the already tense social and political climate has been punctuated by a series of attacks against state and capitalist targets throughout the country. The latest of these was Tuesday night’s blitz Molotov attack against the commercial centre of Kaisariani, an eastern suburb of Athens, targetting mainly banks. In Salonica, a series of attacks against houses of policemen, judges and newspaper managers with small range explosive devices has been claimed by a the urban guerrilla group Convention of Anomics/ Ministers of Erebus.
Update: The plot thickened on Thursday with more strikes in Greece: the street-cleaners working for the municipality of Athens started a 48h strike; the forest fire-fighters have formed a demo outside the ministry of order blocking Katehaki avenue; municipal workers across the country have gone on a 24h strike and a demo has been formed outside the ministry of Interior; workers of the Athens Opera are holding an assembly in a central theater of the city and have announced a march towards the ministry of Culture for the early afternoon; road assistance drivers have lined their vehicles along Mesogeion avenue threatening to blockade the main centre-east traffic artery if their contract demands with the ministry of Transport are not immediately accepted; the strike of archaeologists continues.
On the student front, Thursday found several universities across the country have been occupied by students meaning to keep them open and under occupation throughout the anniversary of Alexandros Grigoropoulos assassination. The move comes in defiance to rectorial agreements with the police to impose a lock-out in the institutions. At the moment of writing such a lock-out has been attempted at ASOE, the Athens School of Economics (whose occupation played a pivotal role in last year’s uprising). The lock-out has been imposed on a pretext of swine flu emergency, something rendered even more ridiculous by the strong presence of riot police along its gates. Students are currently challenging the lock-out and confronting the flu-immune pigs.
2nd Update: The stand-off between students and riot police at the gates of the locked-out Athens School of Economics turned into violent clashes on Thursday noon which. The clashes that closed off Patision avenue forced the riot police to retreat and leave the university open. The planned general assembly of the students this afternoon is expected to decide the occupation of the building during the days commemorating Alexandros Grigoropoulos murder. At a TV appeal the Prime Minster pleaded for calm and called the citizens of Greece to honour the memory of the assassinated youth. The students have condemned the rectorial authorities of ASOE for breaching the academic asylum as protected by the constitution.
At the moment 9 universities across the country have been occupied by students.
A final update for the day: Thursday closed with a thousand strong anarchist protest march in solidarity to the imprisoned anarchist bank robber and prison abolition activist Yannis Dimitrakis whose brutalisation by screws had led to a cross-country prison uprising in 2007. The march was surrounded by strong police forces forming a pi around the march in a manner that has not been attempted for many years. Despite the provocative presence of the police, the march reached its end at the Law School in high spirits, chanting slogans like “In Greece, Turkey and Macedonia the enemy is in the banks and the ministries” and “The passion for freedom is stronger than all the cells”. Soon clashes developed around the occupied Law School in the centre of the city. Bourgeois media report several people detained during the clashes with the atmosphere around the Law School filled with tear gas and two people wounded by the cops.
On the legal front, the court in Salonica has found Ilias Nikolaou guilty of crimes related to possession and use of explosives (gas canisters) and has condemned him to 7,5 years of imprisonment. At the same time, the odyssey of the accused under the Revolutionary People’s Struggle (ELA) case who have been dragged from court to court since 2002 came to an end today with their being found not-guilty for all crimes accused. The court decision comes as a blow to the Minister of Public Order who claims he “has eradicated ELA”, the mass urban guerrilla group of the 1970s greek autonomia which disbanded itself in 1995. All the accused have denied their involvement in ELA, apart from Mr Tsigaridas who has claimed political responsibility for the group, a political statement that was recognised as not evidence of guilt by the court. The court ruling has a final character.
Libcom, December 2nd & 3rd.
Court overturns terrorism convictions of 3 Greeks
An appeals court on Thursday overturned the convictions of three Greeks who had been found guilty of belonging to a far-left terrorist group that was blamed for dozens of attacks on American targets.
Overall, the group Revolutionary Popular Struggle had been blamed for two murders and scores of murder attempts and bombings between 1975 and 1995.
Citing insufficient evidence, the five appeals court judges overturned a 2004 verdict which had convicted Christos Tsigaridas, 68; Irene Athanasaki, 55; and Angeletos Kanas, 58, of membership in a terrorist organization and sentenced each of them to 25 years in prison.
A fourth suspect, 58-year-old Costas Agipiou, died of cancer during the 13-month appeal, which was conducted inside the maximum security wing of an Athens prison.
Revolutionary Popular Struggle — known by the Greek-language abbreviation ELA — was one of the main militant groups that emerged following a 1967-74 military dictatorship in Greece, which received support from the United States.
ELA was seen as the forerunner of several other extremist organizations, including newer groups that have stepped up bombings and shooting attacks this year.
Before it disbanded in 1995, ELA frequently aimed its attacks at American targets in Greece, mostly in the early 1980s. They included the bombing of the U.S. ambassador’s residence, embassy vehicles, as well as branches of American banks and companies.
The four suspected ELA members were arrested during a security crackdown ahead of the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
The original convictions hinged on testimony given by the ex-wife of one suspect. But the credibility of that testimony was treated with greater skepticism at the appeal.
Their press (AP), December 3rd.