General Strike (im)mobilizes Greece, Street Clashes in Athens (by Taxikipali, Libcom)
The general strike in both private and public sectors has seen mass protest marches across the country and extended clashes in Athens with dozens of shops and banks destroyed and one man arrested.
The first general strike as a response to the austerity measures in Greece has met with huge success as the country has been immobilised by the strike with no boats airplanes buses or trains moving within or from and into the country. The media strike which is part of the general strike means there are no news broadcasts or newspapers which limits the extent of our information gathering on the strike and its protest marches. According to a German newspaper report, there had been demonstrations and manifestations in almost 70 Greek towns.
In Athens the protest march is expected to have gathered around 40,000 people and had a very dynamic character. The first incident occurred when a plain clothed policeman was stopped and beaten by protesters. Later riot police tries to side the numerous anarchist block but was deterred by large numbers of protesters. Before reaching Syntagma square several corporate shops and banks were smashed by protesters. In syntagma square extended clashes between protesters and riot police forces unfolded with use of tear gas on the part of the cops and rocks and molotov cocktails by the protesters. During the clashes Giannis Bardakos, a member of a socialist opposition party DIKKI, was arrested. DIKKI has published a communique condemning the arrest and the "policy of occupation forces' imposed poverty and underdeveloped applied by the State of oppression and violence" adding that "anti-people's terrorism will not pass". The encircling methods of the police at the corner of Phillelinon street however failed, two workers who the cops had arrested were rescued and the two riot police squads were encircled by protesters and heavily beaten with many riot shield broken. The clashes continues across Panepistimiou street where the posh Zonars cafe was invaded by large numbers of enraged workers and teachers who smashed it. The protesters then moved towards the Polytechnic which is under occupation by students in response to the breach of campus asylum in Zografou a few days ago, with many shops across Patision avenue destroyed. The general feeling is one of great success with the forces of repression humiliated and the working class having proved its will to struggle against the state onslaught.
For a good commentary on the Strike Day, see also David Broder in The Commune
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Athens Goes on Strike - Protest Against Cutbacks Turns Violent (from Indymedia Germany)
Despite the state's repression methods in the demonstration at Athens participated around 100.000 people. One bank entrance was built with bricks from a builders' team. The riot police started attacking the independant blocks and try to seperate them from the main body of the demonstration. The people responded immediately and attacked back by smashing the cops' shields, chasing them away and defend against any new special riot police team that was arriving. In the clashes also 45 years old people were engaged against the cops. One undercover cop had also to visit a doctor after people found out he was a cop. Also the masses of people chased away the police by shouting against and forbid them to come close to the demonstration. Many multinational companies were smashed down. The riot police attacked with tear-gas and sound-shine granades at Syntagma Square in front of the Parliament and people responded with some mollies, stones and wooden sticks. On Stadiou Street a special police forces team tried also to attack. The response from anarchists, syndicalists, independents, workers, people of any age was again one and the same: stones, bottles and whatever could be found on the streets flew on the heads of the cops. RAGE and RAGE can be two words to describe the situation! Attack also at 'Zonars' Burgeois Cafe (9 euro per coffee) when the people spontaniously entered the cafe, stole everything from inside and smashed down the front-glasses. People also entered in Papasotiriou Bookshop, took many books in zero price and gave it to demonstrators. Also clothes from a multinational company were taken away in zero price and given to people. All the actions above happened spontaniously.
Also, the anarchist/antiauthoritarian/libertarian communistic block was bigger than the rest of the others. Participation also from many refugees (Foto, Foto) . Many 50 year old people joined also the radicals (Foto, Foto).
As far as the antifascist counterdemo planned for today afternoon in Amerikis Square, both the fascist gathering and the antifascist counterdemo were declared banned by the district attorney. As a result, antifascist marches were prevented to reach the square by strong riot police forces, so around 800 antifascist gathered instead at Kyprou & Patision self-managed park and demonstrated through Kypseli district. Two fascists tried to reach the park with their van which was smashed down. Two other shitheads had to say goodbye to their motorcycle and their greek army t-shirt. Around 30 lovers of military junta gathered in the church of Agios Panteleimonas district. Just to remind: In the certain district are active many members of Golden Dawn (nazi party) as prostitutes' pimps and members of the mafia. Before some days two nazis were caught by the cops with a gun but they were released. (With elements from Taxikipali's report, Libcom)
On the evening before (Tuesday) a motorcycle demonstration took place in the center of Athens to call the people for participation in the General Strike. For two hours on all the streets of the centre and Kypseli neighbourhood the voice of the strikers was heard loudly. The first surprise of the people around was easily turning into happiness. The demonstration used to stop only to give info flyers at bus stations, squares and super markets. On the dozen thousands of flyers that were spread it was written on them: "On Wednesday everybody join the strike, everybody on the streets", "Warning: On TV speaks the European Commission", "Let's make them feel afraid, down with the stability program", "This strike shall be only the beginning", "The Germans occupy us again?" (Fotos).
People Take to the Streets in Thessaloniki (from Indymedia Germany)
The demonstration in Thessaloniki city went smoothly with the participation of many people. At the tail of the demonstration the anarchists' block with a plakat that was written on it "War Against the Bosses' War". Also a block of Libertarian Syndicalistic Union with a plakat writting "Capitalism is not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis Itself". In the last block a lot of people participated together with Antiauthoritarian Movement. A lot of flyers and press stuff were spread and slogans were sprayed on shops' walls that did not participate in the General Strike. People threw garbage in Hondos Centre (multinational perfume company) so the company had to join the strike after this action. A street camera was smashed, a European Union's flag was burnt and slogans were sprayed on government buildings.
After the end of the demonstration, students in Aristoteleio University started smashing control bars at the entrences of the Campus. Police entered the campus and started chasing the people. More people joined the events after the police attack, smashed more bars and chased the cops away. The rectorship building is squatted and an assembly will take place during the evening.
Mass Protests and Actions in Other Greek Towns (from Indymedia Germany)
Demonstrations in Naousa and Veroia towns (Macedonia). In Veroia on the top of the demonstration anarchists/antiauthoritarians instead of the parliamentary communists. Comrades with flyers, slogans, flags, plakats started demonstrating after the gathering in the town's Working Centre. Spontaniously people who were on the spot joined them. Anarchists' presence also in "the dinosaurs' nest" (frozen parliamentary syndicalists) at Naousa town.
Demonstration in Volos town (Thessaly). The bosses of METKA factory (watch older update) tried to stop workers to participate in the strike by announcing that the building was needing 32 persons inside for fire safety. Striker Workers gathered early in the mourning around the building, blocked the entrances and allowed this way the workers to participate in the strike. 500 people decided to participate in the independent demonstration and 120 joint the official syndicalists' gathering. Participation also from Matsaggou Squat, libertarian communists, out-parliamentary organisations. (Fotos from Volos Town, Worker Newspaper).
Demonstration also in Heraklion and Chania of Creta island. In Heraklion town around 2000 people participated after the call of parliamentary left parties, out-parliamentary communists, independent organisations, anarchists etc. (Fotos). In Chania town around 450 people gathered for an out-parliamentary and independent organisations demonstration. We do not have a number of the parliamentary communists' demonstration.
Demonstration in Patras city (northern Peleponnese). Around 1300 people joined the demonstration of out-parliamentary communistic organisations; anarchists have not make a call for today. A higher number of protestors in the parliamentary communists' gathering.
Foto: Mass Demonstration at Central Athens today (from Radikal, Turkey)