Freedom of speech suspended “until further notice”

By Leonidas Oikonomakis via: Roarmag

In Greece, the attack on press freedoms and the collusion with Golden Dawn are indicative of a government in panic and a crumbling hegemonic order.

You may have heard the story. A couple of days ago an arrest warrant was issued by a Greek prosecutor for Kostas Vaxevanis, a Greek investigative journalist. His crime? HOTDoc, the magazine he edits, published a list of 1,991 Greeks who made $1.95 billion in deposits in the Geneva branch of HSBC bank in Switzerland.

It’s a list that was stolen by former HSBC employee Herve Falciani in 2007, and that former French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde submitted to former Greek Finance Minister Georgios Papakonstantinou. While other countries (including France, Germany, and the UK) made use of their respective lists to investigate potential tax evasion, though, the Greek list just “disappeared” somewhere between the offices of Georgios Papakonstantinou and his successor, Evangelos Venizelos — now President of PASOK — for two whole years. Yet, it took the Greek government only a few hours to arrest the journalist who discovered and published it.

The case put into question not only the independence of the judiciary in Greece, but also the state of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in the country. And what makes things worse is that Vaxevanis’ case was by no means an isolated one.

Around a month earlier, an MP of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party called for the intervention of the Minister of Justice into the case of a 27-year-old who had created a Facebook group satirizing a well-known monk, paraphrasing his name from Elder Paisios, to Elder Pastitsios (referring to “Pastitsio”, a Greek famous dish with pasta and minced meat). Again the Greek state showed excellent reflexes! Within a few hours, the 27-year-old was arrested on charges of blasphemy (!) and insulting religion, while the police entered his house and seized his computer and Facebook account.

The Greek state’s reflexes improved even more, though, in the case of the dismissal of journalists Kostas Arvanitis and Marilena Katsimi from the Greek state broadcaster NET/ERT for criticizing Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias over the torture report of the 15 anti-fascist activists that the Guardian (and not the Greek media) published, which led the Minister to accuse the British newspaper of “spreading lies”, also threatening it with legal action. Apparently, professional forensic examination of the 15 anti-fascists showed that torture had indeed taken place, and the journalists made the following comments on their Morning-magazino today:

Ms. Katsimi: … and here are the forensic findings for the 15 arrestees, published in the Guardian and for which case Mr. Dendias wanted to sue the Guardian.
Mr. Arvanitis: Didn’t he sue it?
Ms. Katsimi: He didn’t because the findings show that it is indeed a felony.
Mr. Arvanitis: And now, is he going to resign?
Ms. Katsimi: I do not think that he would resign. But it was strange what Mr. Dendias said — as if he knew the findings, which is not normally done… on the one hand is good that he didn’t know the findings, but on the other hand, how can you say such a thing?
Mr. Arvanitis: And now what? Would he apologize?
Ms. Katsimi: I don’t know…
Mr. Arvanitis: Wow… that’s difficult for Mr. Dendias. And he is from the same place as you, from Corfu.
Ms. Katsimi: And he is a serious man, I have to say.”

In a matter of minutes, Aimilios Liatsos, the General Director of the State Broadcaster, announced to the journalists that they would be “cut off” from the news magazine “until further notice”, with the following statement:

“The General Directorate of ERT fully respects the rules of the free press and it proves in daily practice the broadcast of all views. However, it can not accept the violation of the minimum standards of journalistic ethics.

“The presenters of the daily magazine ‘Morning Information’ on NET, Mr. Kostas Arvanitis and Mrs. Marilena Katsimi, made unacceptable insinuations against the Minister of Citizen Protection, Mr. Nikos Dendias, and this without giving him the right to express his own opinion, while with their comments they appeared to prejudge the outcome of the judicial decision.”

Of course the incident was met with outrage by the Greek public, which characterized it as “junta-style censorship”.

As if this was not enough, the journalist union POESY announced today that another journalist of the state broadcaster ET3 was also fired on October 26, 2012, because she noticed a “strong military presence” outside Agios Dimitrios Church in Thessaloniki during the festivities for the city’s liberation — and she dared to say it on air! Later on, on the same day, a young man was arrested because on his Facebook page he had uploaded photographs showing Greek policemen together with members of Golden Dawn, during the national holiday. The official accusation: violation of private data law, and spreading false rumors that may harm the country’s image abroad.

All these incidents are indicative of a government (and a political system in general) in panic; one that does not hesitate to censor freedom of speech in order to protect the hegemonic political, cultural, and economic elites it is serving. While it is now soon to announce further austerity measures of 13.5 billion euros, which will again disproportionately hit the middle and lower classes of the country, it has been protecting for two years the 1.991 “possible” tax evaders, all the while pampering the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party by responding immediately to every ridiculous little prompt of theirs. At the same time, it is secretly torturing anti-fascists in the Golden Dawn headq… excuse me, police stations — and is ready to silence within hours anyone who may express an opinion critical to the government’s.

Welcome to the Greece of the Memorandum.
Here, freedom of speech has been suspended, until the next loan-instalment is released.
Good night.

Greece: Journalist Kostas Vaxevanis arrested, over the notorious «Lagarde list» leak

Earlier this morning, Greek Police raided the house where the journalist Kostas Vaxevanis was residing, after he deliberately tweeted his location. A few hours later he was released while he is set to appear in court tomorrow.

Vaxevanis became known via his TV broadcast, Pandora’s box, where he revealed big scandals between Greek MPs and Church officials, criticizing, also, racism and police repression. In his weekly magazine, HOT DOC, published a list (the notorious «Lagarde list»), which contains 2,059 names of wealthy Greek citizens who are, possibly, responsible for tax evasion (business people, journalists, doctors, lawyers, and media notables), as they have declared income that does not justify the amount of money in their HSBC Swiss accounts.

A few hours after the publication, Athens prosecutors issued a warrant against Vaxevanis, who, in order to escape, moved temporarily to a friend’s house. According to New York Times:

Hot Doc said its version of the list matches the one that Christine Lagarde, then the French finance minister and now the head of the International Monetary Fund, had given her Greek counterpart in 2010 to help Greece crack down on rampant tax evasion as it was trying to steady its economy. The 2,059 people on the list are said to have had accounts in a Geneva branch of HSBC. […] The publication of the list is likely to exacerbate Greeks’ anger that their political leaders might have been reluctant to investigate the business elite, with whom they often have close ties, even as middle- and lower-class Greeks have struggled with higher taxes and increasingly ardent tax collectors.

The New York Times, also, reported that Vaxevanis was aware of his impending arrest.

The journalist has been accused for «violating privacy legislation». Nonetheless, the news of his arrest have sparked massive reactions among ordinary Greek citizens who demand social justice, end of corruption and political impunity. Also, a petition page has been created in favour of dropping all charges against Vaxevanis, stating the following:

We call on the Greek authorities to cease all interference with press freedom and focus instead on holding accountable those who have enabled massive tax evasion by the prominent politically connected elite.

Hitherto, more than 12,000 signatures have already been amassed.

In the video above, Vaxevanis talks to «Pandora’s Box Show» just a few hours before being arrested.

Meanwhile, Greek people continue to struggle against the harsh economic depression as a result of IMF imposed austerity, and the attempts of the EU-backed regime to suspend basic democratic rights. (See also: MUTE, the visualization of an economic rape by Roarmag).

In Al Jazeera, Vaxevanis stated that he had not committed any wrongdoing. and accused authorities of trying to muzzle the Press. He also added the following:

The important thing is that a group of people – when Greece is starving – make a profit and try to create the Greece they want. […] Tomorrow in parliament they will vote to cut 100-200 from the Greek civil servant, the Greek worker while at the same time most of the 2,000 people on the list appear to be evading tax by secretly sending money to Switzerland.

The Italian La Republica assumed that instead of examining this «mysterious list» and identify those who evade taxes, secretly pulling their money in Swiss Bank Accounts, the Greek authorities were mobilized to arrest Vaxevanis who is doing exactly what the state should have done for years now.

The arrest of Vaxevanis is a further proof that the Greek government is seeking, by any means, to silence voices that challenge the rotten political establishment, while, at the same time, neo-Nazi groups and supporters of the fascist Golden Dawn party that have participated in numerous murderous attacks against immigrants and political opponents, remain unpunished.

A few weeks ago, fifteen anti-fascist protesters were arrested in Athens during a clash with supporters of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. The incident became widely known by an article published on the Guardian. Their lawyer reports that they were tortured during their custody. A few days later, the forensic surgeon confirmed that physical violence was used against them. (See also: Golden Dawn party infiltrates Greece’s police, claims senior officer – video by Aris Chatzistefanou).

Today, also, was the anniversary of the Ohi Day, where in every city parades take place to commemorate the rejection of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940. Like last year, national parades were seen as a chance to protest against the regime.

In the picture below high school students in Keratsini, Athens parade wearing the antinazi symbol.

In the video below, protesters in the city of Thessaloniki confront police brutality and repression.

Greece: Racist Violence Recording Network Findings 1/1/2012-30/9/2012

Via: Against Racism

It is now commonly accepted that the previous months saw an immense increase in racially motivated violent attacks in Greece. Relevant reports in printed and electronic media reveal that racist attacks have become an almost daily occurrence. According to reports by migrant and refugee organizations, the number of known racist violence incidents does not represent the real extent of this phenomenon in the country.

The Racist Violence Recording Network, which apart from the UN Refugee Agency and the National Commission for Human Rights, numbers 23  non-governmental organizations and other bodies*, monitors the escalation of racist attacks and, by recording the incidents through the voluntary testimonies of victims, looks into and highlights the quantitative and qualitative trends of racist violence in Greece.

During the period January-September 2012, the Racist Violence Recording Network documented, after interviewing victims, 87 incidents of racist violence against refugees and migrants, of which 83 occurred in public spaces (squares, streets, public transport). The majority of these incidents concerns physical attacks against foreigners while the types of crimes are mainly severe bodily injury (in 50 cases) and assault (bodily injury, in 30 cases). There were also two incidents of property damage and arson against foreigners’ businesses or residences, such as the arson of a hairdressers owned by a Pakistani national in the area of Metamorphosis as well as an attack with improvised explosive devices against a building inhabited by Syrian refugees in the area of Neos Kosmos.

73 incidents occurred in Athens, and in particular in areas of the city centre such as Aghios Panteleimonas, Attica Square, America Square and other areas around Omonoia Square, while 5 incidents were recorded in Patras and 3 in the wider area of Piraeus.

The victims who approached the members of the Network and were recorded consisted of 85 men and 2 women, in their majority 18 to 35 years of age, mainly from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, New Guinea, Pakistan and Somalia. As regards the legal status of the victims, 29 were asylum seekers, 2 were recognized refugees, 7 had residence permits, and 43 held no legal documents or were under deportation status (in 6 cases the victim’s status is unknown).

In 84 out of 87 incidents the victims consider the fact of their being foreigners the reason for the attack; they believe they became targets either because of their colour or due to any other characteristic revealing the fact they were not natives (in the cases of attacks against women both victims believe they were targeted because they wore a hijab). Verbal abuse and threats against foreigners that accompanied the attacks were proof for the victims of the reason for the attacks in the majority of cases.

As regards the perpetrators, and in accordance as always with the victims’ testimonies, they are believed to belong to extremist groups in 48 incidents. In many cases, the victims describe them as acting in an organised manner and in groups (in 85 out of 87 incidents there were more than one perpetrators involved), dressed in black and at times with military trousers, wearing helmets or having their faces covered, while the participation of minors is also recorded in some attacks. The majority of attacks occur after sunset. “Patrols” by motorcyclists dressed in black is described as a common practice; they act as self proclaimed vigilante groups who attack refugees and migrants in the street, in squares or at public bus stops. Members of these groups stop and ask targeted persons about their place of origin and move on to attack them. The victims speak of areas in Athens which have become off limits to them due to the fear of attack. In some cases, the victims or witnesses to the attacks reported that they recognized persons associated to Golden Dawn party among the perpetrators, either because they wore the insignia of the party or because they were seen participating in public events organized by the party in the area.

The recording of incidents reveals several qualitative evidence regarding the nature of the attacks: the violence of the attacks increases while there is greater tolerance or fear by witnesses who do not intervene to assist victims during the attacks. In many cases victims report the use of weapons, such as clubs, crowbars, folding batons, chains, brass knuckles, knives and broken bottles during the attacks, while the use of large dogs has been repeatedly reported in the area of Aghios Panteleimonas and Attica square. The victims suffer multiple injuries such as fractures, contusions, lesion injuries, abrasions, limited eyesight etc. It is noted that a fatal attack on an Iraqi man in August 2012 was allegedly racially motivated.

There is a distinct category of 15 incidents where police and racist violence are interlinked. These incidents concern duty officers who resort to illegal acts and violent practices while carrying out routine checks. There are also instances where people were brought to police stations, were detained and maltreated for a few hours, as well as cases where legal documents were destroyed during these operations.

Only 11 victims have addressed the competent authorities to file an official complaint and initiate judicial procedures, while 14 would like to do so. The rest do not wish to take further actions either because they lack legal documents and are therefore afraid that they will be arrested to be deported or because they believe that they will find no justice. Those lacking legal papers, even they who would like to report the attacks to the authorities, are immediately arrested upon arrival at the police station with a view to be deported, and as a consequence they are deterred from reporting any racist attack against them. In effect, rather than being dealt with by the police as possible victims of a crime, the authorities prioritize control of the victim’s legal residence in the country and thus abstain from their duty to investigate the reported incident. In addition, during judicial procedures against the perpetrator, persons without legal documents are dissuaded from participating in the process since they are again threatened with arrest and deportation. In 22 cases the victims of racist attacks said that they tried to report the incidents to the police but were faced with unwillingness or deterrence and, in some cases, the actual refusal of the police authorities to respond.


Already from the first pilot program recording the attacks, the Racist Violence Recording Network found that the results were exceptionally alarming, while mounting concern derives from the fact that the incidents recorded from the Network’s members are only the tip of the iceberg. The geographically limited range of the participating organizations, the spreading fear amongst the victims which often prevents them from approaching even the organizations where they could report the incidents anonymously, but also the inability of organizations to provide effective protection to the victims, are significant factors indicating that the number of racist violence attacks recorded by the Network is much smaller that the real one. This conclusion is also drawn from the frequent publication of incidents in areas other than the ones covered by the participating bodies, something that reveals the spreading of racist violence.

Despite relevant criticism by the Racist Violence Recording Network, as well as by other national and European organizations, which have repeatedly called on the Greek state to take immediate measures for the control of racist attacks, it is particularly disconcerting to find no effective response. It is telling that no perpetrator of a violent racist attack has been sentenced until today. The Minister of Justice admitted that the number of racist violence cases prosecuted is minimum, while there is great discrepancy between the evidence provided by the authorities about racist violence crimes and that provided by other sources.

The main problem rests with the inability or unwillingness of the criminal investigation authorities to record racist violence incidents, to investigate the cases thoroughly and to arrest the perpetrators, or, at times, with the practice of deterring the victims of the attacks who do not have legal residence papers from reporting racist violence incidents to the police. The effective response to the problem of racist violence presupposes the ability of the victims themselves to go to the police authorities and report the acts against them, without the fear of being affected so negatively as to be dissuaded from reporting crimes against them. The public interest to prοsecute and respond to acts of criminal violence should take priority over the public interest to control those who remain irregularly in the country.


The Racist Violence Recording Network would like to make the following recommendations to the Greek state regarding the fight against hate crime, that is, a criminal act against a person which is motivated by the offender’s bias against national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

To the Ministry of Public Order & Citizen Protection

Α. Measures to monitor and combat hate crimes

1. Develop a strategic plan for the prevention and response to racist attacks, in cooperation with specialized global and European organizations.

2. Condemn racist attacks at a ministerial and Police Headquarters level; explicitly prevent police officers from racially motivated violent practices.

3. Create a special force within the Hellenic Police to fight against hate crime; it could follow the standards of the force created to fight human trafficking and run in parallel to the duties of each police department. Potentially, this special force can function as a pilot program in critical areas.

4. Appoint, in every police station in Athens, one police officer with advanced specialized training, the duty to cooperate with the above mentioned special force and with the Ministry of Public Order & Citizen Protection.

5. Ensure implementation of the 7100/4/3 Circular, dated 24.5.2006. This concerns the obligation on behalf of the police to investigate racist motives, collect relevant information and record and/or report incidents via a specially designed form, regardless of a filed complaint, for all acts against individuals that are motivated due to national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

6. Ensure that all police officers are aware of their duty to support the victims, to intervene to their immediate rescue and to refer them to the appropriate services.

7. Identify special programs for the training of police officers, in the framework of the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), in cooperation with national institutions.

8. Ensure cooperation of police departments with governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as with migrant communities, to secure the provision of medical, social and legal aid and interpretation services so as to facilitate access of the victims to the police.

9. Suspend the public prosecutor’s decision to arrest and issue deportation decisions for the victims who file a complaint, until an irrevocable decision is issued in court against the perpetrator(s); establish a special protection status for the victim while the perpetrator(s) is/are prosecuted and sentenced.

10. Protect the rights of human rights defenders, that is of those individuals and bodies which promote and protect human rights, as well as the rights of witnesses of racist attacks whose safe access to the authorities should be ensured.

Β. Responding to violence from extremist groups

1. Cooperate with experts who monitor the activities of extremist groups so as to ensure a more comprehensive response.

2. Inform police forces about the consequences of the activities of extremist groups and provide them with adequate training so that they respond diligently to extremist attacks and “patrolling” practices.

3. Collect evidence so that the article 187 of the Greek criminal code regarding criminal groups is put into effect particularly in the case of extremist groups.

C. Responding to racially motivated police violence

1. Amend the current legislative framework in order to form an effective mechanism to tackle the complaints against police violence and arbitrariness, investigate and monitor them independently, according to the recommendations of international organizations.

2. Develop special procedures for the disciplinary control of police officers and the investigation of arbitrary actions with a racist motive.

To the Ministry of Justice

1. Ensure the creation of a unified official system for recording and monitoring racist crimes in cooperation with the police and every governmental and non-governmental body which collects relevant evidence.

2. Appoint a special prosecutor in charge of leading the coordination, the promotion of better understanding and the conduct of proper interrogation processes of racist crimes by all public prosecutors.

3. Establish a special legislative committee to examine the possibility of extending the aggravating circumstances of article 79, paragraph 3 of the Greek criminal code and/or the introduction of special criminal provisions (substantive offences) so as to adopt the appropriate legislative framework for the punishment of hate crimes in the Greek legal system.

4. Introduce the possibility to exempt victims from paying a complaint fee as well as the expenses of the civil party representation before a criminal court, on the basis of a special act by the prosecutor.

Finally, the above recommendations for an effective response to racist crimes should be complemented by measures and policies to improve safety in neighborhoods, crack down on human trafficking rings, drug trafficking, prostitution and criminality, as well as upgrade these neighborhoods and relieve the population as a whole, limit ghettoization of destitute migrants and refugees and promote their social integration, where possible.

About the Racist Violence Recording Network:

Through monitoring the escalation of racist attacks against refugees and migrants in the last few years, and recognizing that only a minimal number of racist violence incidents ever come to light, the UN Refugee Agency and the National Commission for Human Rights took the initiative and created in the summer of 2011 the Racist Violence Recording Network numbering today the following 23 non-governmental organizations and other bodies which provide legal, medical, social or other support services and come into contact with racist violence victims: Aitima, Antigoni – Information and Documentation Centre on Racism, Arsis, Doctors of the World, Amnesty International, Network for the Social Support of Refugees and Migrants, Hellenic League for Human Rights, Greek Helsinki Monitor, Greek Council for Refugees, Greek Forum of Migrants, Greek Forum of Refugees, Human Rights Commission of the Bar Association of Rhodes, “Babel” Day Centre, Movement for the Support of Refugee and Migrant Rights (Patras), LATHRA? Solidarity Committee for Chios refugees, METAdrasi, Integration Centre for Working Migrants – Ecumenical Refugee Program, Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants, Group of Lawyers for the Support of Refugee and Migrant Rights (Thessaloniki), Association of Afghans United in Greece, Forum of Migrants in Crete, i-RED Institute for Rights, Equality and Diversity and PRAKSIS, as well as the Greek Ombudsman as an observer.

The primary goal of this initiative was the creation of an unofficial yet trustworthy network for documenting racist incidents to counteract the absence of an official and effective system for the recording of racist violence incidents and to highlight the actual dimensions of this phenomenon. The participating organizations record racist incidents according to the victim’s testimony in a specially designed Racist Incident Record Form. For the victim’s protection, there is no mention in the form of personal details while confidentiality is strictly kept. The Network presents the evidence collected about the nature, context and trends of racist attacks, formulates recommendations to the State advocating for the effective institutional combat of racist violence and undertakes activities to increase public awareness on the matter.

The systematic recording of racially motivated acts of violence from the Network’s members was launched as a pilot program on 1 October 2011. In the first three months, October-December 2011, 63 incidents were recorded and the first findings were presented in March 2012 (available at )

* The present text is signed by all participating bodies

London 20-10. Thousands marched in protest against the government’s austerity measures

EN: More than 250,000 protesters took to the streets of central London, to express their opposition to the government’s austerity measures.

The protesters, consisting of opposition MPs, trade unions, anti-cuts organizations and anticapitalist confederations, with whistles and colorful banners marched under the slogan «No to cuts.» Executives from various leftist European parties were also involved, among them members of SY.RIZ.A, the French Left Front and the trade union Solidaires. Very notable was, also, the lively presence of «P.I.I.G.S in London» block, consisted of Portuguese, Irish, Italians Greeks and Spaniards who reside in London.

Trade union leaders are contemplating declaring a general strike.

EL: Περισσότεροι από 250.000 διαδηλωτές κατέκλυσαν κεντρικούς δρόμους του Λονδίνου, εκφράζοντας την αντίθεσή τους στα μέτρα λιτότητας. Οι διαδηλωτές, αποτελούμενοι από βουλευτές της αντιπολίτευσης, συνδικάτα, σωματεία που μάχονται ενάντια στις περικοπές και αντικαπιταλιστικές συνομοσπονδίες, με σφυρίχτρες και πολύχρωμα πανό διαδήλωσαν με το σύνθημα «Όχι στις περικοπές». Στην πορεία συμμετείχαν, επίσης, στελέχη αριστερών κομμάτων από άλλες χώρες της Ευρώπης, μεταξύ αυτών και μέλη του ΣΥ.ΡΙΖ.Α, του Γαλλικού Αριστερού Μετώπου και του συνδικάτου Solidaires. Ξεχώριζε επίσης και η παρουσία του «μπλοκ των γουρουνιών» (P.I.I.G.S in London), αποτελούμενο από Ισπανούς, Πορτογάλους, Έλληνες, Ιρλανδούς και Ιταλούς που κατοικούν στο Λονδίνο. Επικεφαλείς εργατικών συνδικάτων εξετάζουν το ενδεχόμενο για την κήρυξη γενικής απεργίας.

PT: Mais de 250.00 manifestantes saíram à rua da capital Londrina para expressar a sua oposição às medidas de austeridade levadas a cabo pelo governo.

Os manifestantes consistiram de deputados dos partidos da oposição, sindicatos, organizações anti-cortes e anti-austeridade, e confederações anti-capitalistas, que marcharam com apitos e cartazes com o slogan “Não aos cortes”. Executivos de vários partidos de esquerda Europeus também se juntaram à marcha, como membros do partido Grego SY.RIZ.A, a Frente de Esquerda Francesa e o sindicato Francês Solidaires. Notável foi também a presença animada do bloco “P.I.I.G.S in London”, que consiste de Portugueses, Irlandeses, Italianos, Gregos e Espanhóis residentes em Londres.

Os líderes dos sindicatos estão neste momento a considerar uma greve geral.

ES: Más de 250,000 manifestantes tomaron las calles del centro de Londres para expresar su oposición a las medidas de austeridad del gobierno. Los manifestantes, consistuidos por diputados de partidos de la oposición, sindicatos, organizaciones contra los recortes y confederaciones anti-capitalistas marcharon silbando y con pancartas llenas de colores acompañados por el eslogan ¨No a los recortes¨. Ejecutivos de varios partidos europeos de la Izquierda también se juntaron y entre ellos, miembros del SY.RI.ZA., de la Frente de la Izquierda Francesa y del sindicato Solidaires. La presencia viva de los «P.I.I.G.S in London» fue muy notable, constituida por portugueses, irlandeses, italianos, griegos y españoles que viven en Londres.

Los líderes de los sindicatos están proyectando declarar una huelga general.

Greece general strike 18-10-2012

Big protests took place yesterday in many Greek cities, organized by the major trade unions, GESEE and ADEDY. The demonstrations were fuelled by anger against the austerity measures and the policies of privatizations imposed by the EU-backed regime.

Spanish and Portuguese flags aiming to solidarity with the people of the south of Europe

Belgian workers and trade unionists marched in Athens, spreading the message of international solidarity

Water canons deployed, ready to be used

Crowds peacefully gathered outside the parliament, in Syntagma square, while riot police forces, totally unprovoked waged attack against the protesters. Around 13.40 clashes between anti-riot squads and protesters occurred close to Hotel Grande Bretagne but also at the lower side of the square, on Philellinon street. Molotovs and other objects were thrown against the police which responded with more tear gas. The crowd attempted to re-take the square, despite the hazardous chemicals that caused breathing difficulties, resulting to one death; a 67-year-old long-term unemployed man affiliated to PAME trade union, lost his life due to heart failure after being admitted into Evangelismos hospital at 14.00. However, it is not confirmed that his death is connected to breathing tear gas.

Slogans like «cops-pigs-murderers» were constantly chanted by demonstrators, especially when anti-riot squadrons attempted to cut off Vasileos Georgiou street, aiming to obstruct groups of protesters to reach their comrades in front of the parliament. The police, also, fired tear gas and stun grenades, trying to disperse the crowd. Many resisted the repression, others with pacifism, others with anger and use of counter-violence, while, a few minutes later, hundreds of protesters were pushed away towards the upper side of Syntagma square.

At 14.15 one severely injured woman was lying on Panepistimiou street near Propylaea for a long time; the ambulance was delayed despite repeated emergency calls. At least two other strikers were severely injured. A large number of protesters suffered injuries, many of them hurt on the head by baton charges. In several cases, police forces hindered their transportation by ambulances.

Earlier it was reported that an MP of the junior coalition government party Democratic Left (DIMAR) was booed by protesters and ran off to hide into an arcade of Karageorgi Servias street.

In the city of Trikala, after the strike demo, public school teachers and supporters went to the prefectural department, specifically to protest against the local chief of secondary education, who intends to agree upon school mergers in the area and further cuts in the education sector.

In Patras: More than 10,000 people from base unions, etc. hit the streets. After a call-out by the assembly of anarchists against wage slavery (‘O ergaleioforos’), the anarchist bloc was attended by 400 comrades, whose central banner read ‘Zero tolerance to State, bosses, fascists – Social and class counterattack’. The Stalinists of PAME were nearly 13,000 in their respective parade.

In Preveza a lively demo of at least 300 strikers ended at around midday. A new group, the Libertarian Circles of Preveza, had some 30 comrades in its bloc. The march was constantly followed by police motorcycle units, patrol cars, and plainclothes cops.

In Serres nearly 3,000 strikers marched in the town, while in Xanthi more than 5,000 people took to the streets, and almost all commercial stores were shut for the day.

The total of demonstrators were detained by police in Athens, during the general strike, reached 103, while seven detentions were later turned into arrests. Among the arrestees, one protester had his nose broken because he was assaulted by riot squads earlier in the demo, so he was in urgent need of medical care. They were held in temporary custody at the police headquarters (five of them on felony charges, two on misdemeanors).

A gathering was called for Friday, October 19th, at 12.30 (GMT+2) in Evelpidon courts (building 16), in factual solidarity with the seven arrestees who will appear before public prosecutor tomorrow.

The placard reads «we are unemployed» (anergoume) a pun on the phrase «we are on strike» (apergoume)