Archive for June, 2011

Syntagma People’s Assembly press release – 29 June 2011

Press release issued by the People’s Assembly of Syntagma Square convened in Monastiraki on Wednesday 29 June 2011.
We denounce the Government organised plan to evacuate Syntagma Square which has been applied the last two days.
Today the orgy of violence and repression culminated with inexcusable and unprovoked attacks against peaceful protesters drowning Syntagma Square in chemicals, injuring more than 500 protesters and carrying out a pogrom that went as far afield as Plaka and Monastiraki, with the special forces Dias, Delta and MAT chasing thousands of protesters even in fruit shops, cafes and restaurants.
The governmet is accountable for today’s barbaric attack in the center of Athens, a sample of the “steely democracy” of the mnemonium, the midterm measures and the troika. This government bears the sole responsibility for whatever happens from now on during the night and we call on its members to withdraw immediately the forces of repression and terrorism.
On the other hand we bear the sole responsibility for our lives!! We the thousands of people who are still in the streets, who still resist, who continue our struggle. We shall not allow anyone to destroy real democracy and freedom as we give them birth everyday, for 36 days in all the squares of the country.
Tomorrow 6 o’clock we shall all meet in Syntagma Square We continue
We shall not leave unless they leave.
They are 155 – we are millions.

Papandreou’s government in a panic

The violence unleashed against peaceful in their majority protestants has exposed Papandreou’s panic before the massive disapproval of his government’s policies.

The new austerity measures passed in Parliament voted only by PASOK members of Parliament with one exception. Almost at the same time scuffles started on Syntagma Square. The number of special forces, motorcyclists and uniformed policemen is unprecedented.
Despite the asphyxiating atmosphere in and around Syntagma Square the enraged keep coming back from little alleys and side streets. The police spray chemicals indiscriminately and when these finish they throw pieces of marble, dislodged before by the hooded hooligans, at the crowd. A young man is injured and taken to hospital.
There are still people on Syntagma Square and there are appeals for help from people injured and trapped in Syntagma metro station.
In Evangelismos about 21 people were treated and only two admitted for treatment. Other central hospitals reported about 30 more cases of breathing problems, beatings, head injuries etc.
The People’s Assembly tried to convene at a nearby Square (Monastiraki) and was attacked. The last press statement issued is titled: You do not frighten us – you rouse us.
You can read it in Spanish and Dutch :

Police attacks fail to discourage Syntagma enraged

Early this morning the police special forces attacked a peaceful gathering of protesters near Evangelismos hospital. Six injured people were hospitalised. It is interesting to note that the enraged who had met there were people from the popular assemblies in the northern suburbs!!!

In Syntagma there is a continuous flow of people. It is peaceful at the moment.

The discussion is going on in Parliament with some PASOK parliamentarians taking back their earlier statements about not voting for the austerity measures!!!

The voting will take place at 14.00.

Music against tear gas in Syntagma Square

Despite fierce spraying with tear gas (CS – the latest technology) and an enormous amount of noise bombs the enraged of Syntagma Square were still there at 10 o’clock listening to popular rock musicians and chanting abuse against the Greek government and the members of Parliament.

The first day of the 48 hour general strike started with a rally by the Confederation of workers of both the private and public sectors at 10 o’clock. At the same time people gathered much earlier in Syntagma Square to join the overnighters because everyone knew that there was going to be trouble. After the unionists march and their arrival at the Square the usual scenario occured again: a group of not more than fifty hooded and muffled youths started throwing stones and empty water bottles at the police who retaliated by hurling tear gas cannisters over their heads at the protesters!!
The enraged retreated and the special forces followed them but had to stop right before the steps leading to the centre of the Square by the sheer number of people who refused to leave.

This happened at around 2 o’clock and lasted for about three hours. The music festival was announced for 7 o’clock and was well attended. Apart from the people sitting down there were also thousands just walking around, eating souvlaki, saussages, grilled corn cobs, chatting with complete strangers, exchanging news about what was happening at the top of the stairs. A surrealist atmosphere with the center and bottom parts of the Square having a good time and the top waging a hit and run war.

Well known singers performed until the tear gas became too much and they had to move the microphones. The people however remained unmoved, wearing masks and spraying each other with mallox-the easiest way to stop the burning from the tear gas.

When we left there were still thousands on the square and the sound of the noise bombs ( they make noise but they also flash) followed us to the Acropolis metro station since the Syntagma one had been sprayed earlier.

I want to repeat again that the vast majority of the mainstream TV channels reported nothing but the violence.

Syntagma Square enraged under siege-they reply making music

At three o’clock the journalists’strike ended and the latest is that the police have attacked hooded “anarchists” in Othonos street with tear gaz and noise bombs. The so called anarchists had to withdraw and the center of Syntagma square was the nearest post available. The special forces did not miss this opportunity to throw tear gaz indiscriminately in the Square. Instead of fleeing the enraged used every instrument available to make music: pots, pans, spoons, tins and cans were put to use and kept tempers checked!!!

According to sky radio at 5 o’clock there are metro passengers trapped in the Syntagma station. There is no way to reach Syntagma Square at the moment.
Watch the video calling to the strike – it has subtitles in English and Spanish.

Spanish solidarity to Syntagma Square protesters

Sunday 26 June was one more day of all European strikes against the financial crisis. In Syntagma Square, despite the oppressive heat, a couple of thousands were already true to the 7pm appointment.
Nevertheless there is a slight change in the air. Somehow, things are more organized: in the center of the Square a young Catalan singer is expressing her solidarity to the Greeks’struggle against the one-sided way the Government is dealing with the crisis.

On the marble stairs a group of youths is discussing participation to the general 48 hours strike of tomorrow and how to coordinate it with the Syntagma Protesters. The “enraged” of Athens will stay on the Square for two days too but for their own reasons: the new and harsher austerity measures are being discussed and voted in Parliament in the next 48 hours. Even if they do get voted at least the working people want to express their disagreement in the most positive and peacefully loud way possible.
There are also more social movements present and in the “gender area” a group of feminists have organized a participative happening dedicated to sexual harassment in the work place. Men ask to give their opinions and they are listened to attentively. A banner stating “we are all maids” looms in the background

The Unions have put up their banners and there are some people who claim that their banners were torn during the night.
I have to leave at about 9 o’clock and miss the bands that will play later.
The Syntagma Square protesters are alive and well and living in Athens. It is about time the mainstream media “discovered” their existence and gave them a voice…..

Amnesia:a politician’s greatest asset

“A politician’s greatest asset is amnesia: he must forget what he promised the instant he has promised it”. I do not recall who was the “great mind” who said these words but I have to alter them: a politician’s greatest asset is to be convinced that the citizens he represents suffer from total amnesia!
This thought came to me as I sat watching the Parliament Channel (yes, there is a channel dedicated to parliament sessions) and listened to Mr. Sahinidis criticize parliamentarians for never having complained about the state deficit before the present crisis. According to the deputy Minister the Greek budget always had a deficit. He actually went as far back as 1974. “There are members of Parliament now who complain about the deficit and have served as Ministers. Where were they the previous years?”, he asked. And one can only wonder whether Mr. Sahinidis is aware that Mr.Papandreou, Prime Minister today, has repeatedly served as Minister in PASOK led governments. It is true that Mr. Papandreou never complained about the deficit – neither before the crisis nor today. I suggest Mr. Sahinidis worries about that instead.