Greece: The “battle” of Keratea

Keratea is a municipality of the Greek prefecture of Attica located around 10 miles south of Athens International Airport. Recently it reached the headlines of several Greek newspapers and it became the first issue on many news channels as serious clashes erupted between locals and the riot police. Everything started when some developers decided to construct a waste burial site in the village. This means that all the domestic rubbish of the whole region of Athens (around 5 million inhabitants) will be gathered in Keratea. This can be a serious health threat for the local people who will be forced to breath toxic gases. Such burial sites have not only been judged to be illegal by European courts but additionally, the site in Keratea is of archaeological significance. The pictures that come from Keratea is perhaps a portent of what we will see in the near future all across Europe!

Every day the citizens erect barricades to prevent the arrival of developers and attacks of the riot squads who do not hesitate to beat up protesters, use prohibited chemicals and intimidate the locals. It is now a routine in Greece to arrest people and falsely accuse them of crimes, either because they carry a  pack of cigarettes and a scarf or just because they try to help a friend who had been captured by the riot police.

Fierce battles between riot police and locals resisting the construction of a waste burial site started on December 9. A few days later the situation worsened. On the 12nth of the same month, around 17 riot police squads appeared. 60 civilians were injured by police repression as clashes took place. The mayor of Keratea was injured and fell unconscious for about 45 minutes due to the heavy smoke, coming from tear gases and fireballs.

Telephone interviews with local residents confirm that a great number of people were colliding with the occupying forces, (as they call the brutal riot police). All the youth of the region is in the streets. Skirmishes took place in the whole area while women, children and old people have been injured due to heavy police repression. Police helicopters were flying  at low altitudes continuously illuminating the area with searchlights. The protesters responded with moltovs and stones against the police.Seven locals were arrested (and charged with felonies and misdemeanours) while one has been injured. That day, the court ordered a temporary halt to the works.

A citizen has found a plastic bullet which has been used by the riot squad against the protesters.

On Saturday the 13th, the riot police arrived at Keratea to defend the ongoing construction works. Clashes quickly erupted again, with locals attacking the police with sticks, stones and scores of molotov cocktails. The police responded initially with tear gas while for the first time after the collapse of the military junta in Greece, water cannons made their appearance. However, the message was send. The waste burial site is not welcome in Keratea. Men of the riot police threw tear gas between parked cars which resulted to one car catching fire.

Stavros Iatrou, once again pointed out the need of immediate decisions and supported the departure of the riot police from the area. “The area is under occupation and that has outraged many residents”, has said. “They should immediately withdraw their forces stationed illegally in our area… They will be responsible for the events that every day are getting worse and worse. The people are uncontrollable and they will not retreat”.

In solidarity with the residents of Keratea stood people from other places who rushed to offer a helping hand. Citizens without political party labels, and numerous anarchists/anti-authoritarians continue to actively support the struggle of the locals. Somebody has witnessed a discussion between an old man and his grandson.
-“Where are the anarchists to help us?”
– “They are in Athens now, grandpa, but they will arrive soon”, said the boy trying to reassure him.

Dozens of residents confirmed that a group of older women complained to the municipality and local officials… that all the molotov cocktails ran out!

The riot squad fired on residents with rubber bullets, something which is illegal. It is clear that repression mechanism has been upgraded in order to halt people’s resistance against the austerity measures. On Friday 17 the attorney was trying to negotiate with 40 people…. those who came from other areas to support the struggle of the locals. Moreover, it is easier to blame once more the anarchists than to force the mainstream media to talk about the Molotov-residents. The result: one arrest, a youth who has been charged with breaking the anti-hood law. Many were wearing scarves as in the region the temperatures fell below zero. Once again we see police – justice – media – Ministers working hand in hand trying to sacrifice the lives of some people for their own profit.

Members of the riot squad also chanted against the protesters “hail the Junta” while they were beating up with their clubs some old people and young children. Many residents heard someone calling from a loudspeaker “go back home as the advocate has ordered “. It is estimated that there were over 2000 cops in the area and only 500-800 protesters.

Members of the riot squad also chanted against the protesters “hail the Junta” while they were beating up with their globes some old people and young children. Many residents heard someone calling from a loudspeaker “go back home as the Advocate has ordered”. It is estimated that there were over than 2000 cops arrived in that area and there were only 500-800 protesters.

Playlist: 1st video, On 26 of December a small contingency of Keratea residents went up to Athens International Airport and symbolically blocked access to it. Second video, citizens of Keratea burn a nazi flag, as a symbol of repression and police brutality. Their struggle continues…

Αναρτήθηκε στις: 29/12/2010