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.