Wednesday, February 23, 2011


More than one hundred thousand workers, students, anarchists, and leftists of all stripes marched through Athens (with thousands more in other Greek cities) and along with a general strike pretty much closed the country down.  Police fired teargas and flash bombs and made lots of arrests, but the people fought back hard.

A protester kicks away a tear gas canister during clashes with riot police in central Athens
Angered by the so called socialist government's austerity measures the crowd unfolded a banner if front of parliament which read, "We are dying."

"We've reached our limits! We can't make ends meet," said 60-year old Yannis Tsourounakis, who has three children and is unemployed. "Our future is a nightmare if we don't overturn these policies."

Not all Greeks are, of course, suffering.

"We can't take it any more. I have been looking for work for many months while others are eating with golden spoons," said Thanos Lykourias, 27.

The following report on the action is from Occupied London's From the Greek Streets section.

#513 | Live updates from the General Strike

22:00 (GMT+2) Athens: There are 20-25 people trapped in one of the entrances to the Great Britain Hotel in Syntagma Square. They are surrounded by police and are presumed to be detained. An hour ago, 70 people occupied the Foreign Press Association of Greece. That occupation has since ended.
20:07 (GMT+2) Athens: Things are calm for the moment and the crowd is dispersed, though some hundreds are gathered in an assembly at Propylaea. There have been 23 confirmed detentions, of which 9 became arrests. A collection of photos and videos will follow in a bit.
18:35 (GMT+2) Athens: A crowd of hundreds ripped up the benches from Syntagma Square to feed a fire they had built in front of the Parliament. The police had tried to disperse the gathering by circling around the protesters menacingly, but people stayed their ground. After a while, the police dispersed the crowd by forming a cordon around them and then chasing them aggressively away, attacking them with teargas and beating them.
17:37 (GMT+2) Athens: After a respite, there has been at least one more clash at Syntagma Square. The police attempted to disperse the calm crowd, and at least one person was beaten by as many as 10 police and has been detained. The situation has grown tense once more, and Syntagma Metro station is closed again.
16:50 (GMT+2) Athens: There is a call for a gathering at Syntagma Square at 19:00. So far there, six protesters have been confirmed as injured. Numerous police motorcycles and riot police are gathered along Alexandras Avenue.
Volos: There were three lively demos for a total of 3,000-4,000 people.
16:30 (GMT+2) Athens: One protester was seriously burned by a teargas canister and has been transfered to the hospital. His knee is hurt badly. As of now, there are at least 20 confirmed detentions and 4 or 5 confirmed arrests. A police motorcycle tried to hurt a protester near Syntagma Sq. but the two cops were attacked with a molotov and their bike was consumed by flames. People are attempting to organize an evening concert at Syntagma Square. Most people will stay until then.
Thessaloniki: 100-200 protesters are marching to the aristotelous police station in solidarity with the person who was arrested taken there.
16:10 (GMT+2) Athens: The police cleared off at least the larger part of Syntagma Square for a moment by attacking with teargas and motorcycle cops. People have begun to return. By way of a loudspeaker, people have called for an evening assembly in front of the Parliament. The central metro station has been re-opened.
Thessaloniki: random arrests by secret cops. Clashes around aristotelous sq. some minutes ago. Protesters attacked the police station on Ano Polis with molotov cocktails.
15:38 (GMT+2) Athens: Several thousand people are gathered in Syntagma Square, where police cordons protect the Parliament building. The call has gone out for everyone to return to Syntagma. At least 30 people have been arrested in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Rectorate Authorities are holding a meeting to prepare to violate acdemic asylum. People are gathering in Omonoia Square in preparation to march towards Syntagma Square. The central metro stations have been intentionally closed by the police.
15:23 (GMT+2) Demonstrations in many cities around Greece including Thessaloniki, Patras, Ioannina, Kozani, Agrinio, Naxos, Rethymno, Volos, Arta, Heraklion, Larisa, Serres, Kefallonia, Mytilene, etc. In the city of Drama, the city hall was occupied by protesters for a period of time.
15:05 (GMT+2) Athens: Mixed blocks of people are gathering in front of the parliament and are calling for everyone to join them there. People from Exarchia are trying to form an assembly. Many reports say that the crowd size is similar to that of the May 5th, 2010 demo (around 250,000 people). Thousands of demonstrators are still in the streets around Exarchia and Propylaea and are trying to access Syntagma Square. Numerous riot police block the streets. In many places throughout Athens, protestors are throwing stones and the police are firing teargas and flash bang grenades. There have been an unknown number of arrests. Central metro stations have been closing for short periods. A mixed crowd of people still occupies Syntagma Square.
14:28 (GMT+2) Thessaloniki: Police tried to break the demo by attacking with a large amount of teargas and with flash bang grenades. A lot of ATMs have been smashed, and clashes continue in Aristotelous Square and the streets around it.
14:10 (GMT+2) Athens is like a gas chamber. There are violent clashes all over, and many demonstrators have been injured, including old people and the handicapped. There are a lot of undercover cops in hoods. People are still on the streets and defending themselves.
13:57 (GMT+2) Athens: The demo has been teargassed all over and has been cut into many parts. There are clashes all over Athens and there are reports of police motorbikes on fire. Some random arrests. People tried to storm the ministry of finance in Syntagma.
13:40 (GMT+2) Athens: Thousands of people have gathered at Syntagma Square. A lot of teargas has been used in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Molotovs have been thrown at riot police outside parliament.
12:53 (GMT+2) The demonstration is one of the biggest Athens has seen in recent years. Great weather and good spirit. People are slowly heading to Syntagma square.
12:50 (GMT+2), Athens: The demo is huge. Some reports say that it’s larger than last year’s great general strike demos. The corrupt president of GSEE (General Confederation of Greek Workers), Panagopoulos, was provoked by protesters. PAME (the syndicalist union of Greek “Communist” Party) organized a separate demo as usual, which also has thousands of people. The head of the demo has already reached Syntagma square (outside parliament) while thousands have not started marching yet. Secret cops have detained more people carrying bags.
12:30 (GMT+2), Athens: “Preventive” detentions of grassroots union workers. Thousands of people still gathering. Many secret cops around Exarheia and the streets around.
Thessalonica: Secret cops were chased by demonstrators. Some CCTV cameras were destroyed as the march began.
Patras: Maybe more than 4000 people are marching on the central streets of the city. Migrants have also joined the demo.
12:00 (GMT+2): Thousands of people are gathering in central points of Athens, Patras, Thessalonica etc. The marches have not begun yet as more people are coming out to the streets. Thousands of cops (riot police, motorcycle and secret cops) are also moving around the gathering points trying to terrorize people that are going to the demos. According to the authorities, police forces from many places have moved to Athens to join the suppression plan.

No comments: