Friday, February 19, 2010

[olympiaworkers] New week of strikes in Greece Feb 16 2010

Customs officers, petrol carrying lorries, taxi drivers and Ministry of
Economics workers go on strike this week against the austerity measures.

After the end of the bleakest carnival since the collapse of the junta, a
new wave of strikes is threatening to bring Greece to a standstill.

Customs officers have once again gone on strike in protest to the
austerity measures. The strike lasting from today (Tuesday 16) to Thursday
18 of February is going to see all export-import activities in the country
come to a halt. In combination with the 3-day strike of customs officers
starting today, the announcement of a 24h strike for Friday by
petrol-carrying lorry drivers (who warn that they may extend their strike
into the weekend) is expected to create serious fueling problems to the
country. Already yesterday (a national holiday) long lines of cars tried
to secure fuel in the few open stations across greece. The 1,300 lorry
drivers are striking against the tax reforms introduced as part of the
austerity measures. Also some 3,500 public-service lorries and truck
drivers are warning they might join the strike on Friday in response to
the austerity measures. Taxi drivers have also announced a new 24-h strike
for Friday.

At the same time public sector workers employed under the umbrella of the
Ministry of Economics have gone today on a 4-day strike against the
austerity measures. The sectors that will subsequently see a week-long
freeze (as last Monday was a national holiday) include: the State Chemical
Lab (central FDA premises), the State Accounting Office, the National
Statistical Bureau, the State Loans Office, the Capital-Market State
Committee and all the central services of the Ministry of Economics and
the Ministry of Finance. In short, all state-related transactions apart
from the tax office will be halted.

The strikes come as warning of further austerity measures are aired in the
bourgeois media who have launched a sustained propaganda campaign against
the strikers.

On other news from greece:

In the city of Volos workers of the METKA heavy industry complex
successfully blockaded the factory's gates this morning in a first act of
resistance to the vengeful lay-off of three syndicalist workers. The
industrial action has received the solidarity of Private Education Workers
of Patras.

In Salonica a large anarchist protest march took to the streets of Tumba
in response to a fascist attack on Fabrika Yfanet, the country's largest
squat. The fascists sneaked into the massive squat and after
unsuccessfully trying to set fire on its residential section tried to
attack the assembly hall where people were holding a meeting. The fascists
were soon led to a retreat but at the point of exiting the squat chasing
them, the squatters were attacked by riot police forces in what seems to
be a highly coordinated operation of terror.

In Athens, in the early hours of Tuesday, in what the media claim to be a
rare standoff between the police and urban guerrillas, while trying to
check the passengers of a car, two policemen were immobilized and robbed
of their guns and bullet-proof jackets. Despite extended manhunt and
sustain road blockades the suspects were not apprehended. The incident
comes as yet another embarrassment to the greek police.

Finally, an uprising occurred on Monday at the central police station of
Tripoli. After a Palestinian refugee jailed in the premises tried to kill
himself his inmates set fire to the police department causing its
evacuation. The uprising has been repressed by use of riot-police forces.

Feb 16 2010 10:05

Update: According to the bourgeois media the customs officer strike has
caused panic to drivers across the country with long car-lines at petrol
stations. Many stations have already run out of fuel, while the rest have
set an limit of 30E purchase per customer in order to avoid stocking-up
and uneven distribution. The climate of panic is expected to peak in the
following days with the start of the petrol-lorry drivers strike.

At the same time, the Ministry of Development is holding talks with the
last standing farmer's blockade in Promahonas (the one blocking the main
Greek-Bulgarian border crossing). The borders will remain open during the
talks to de-congest hundreds of cars fixed at the borders. The farmers of
Promahonas are the last to hold on to their blockade despite the dirty war
waged against them. The latter included the decision of the Greek Red
Cross to abandon the blockading farmers in sub-zero temperatures without
medical support "because they would not negotiate with the government".
The decision was taken by the Chief of the Greek Red Cross Mr Martinis,
one of the most corrupt doctors in the country who had recently sent
parastate thugs against the occupiers of the Drakopoulos Park which the
Red Cross and the Municipality of Athens wanted to turn into yet another
parking lot.

Feb 16 2010 17:51

Update2: A 24h all-worker strike for the 18th of February has been called
at the city of Volos in response to the above mentioned lay-off of three
syndicalist workers at the heavy industry unit of METKA. The strike has
been called by the Labour Centre of the city, the oldest in the country.

At the same time, workers organised under the Union of Mining Stations of
the National Electric Company (DEH) in Megalopolis occupied for three
hours the headquarters of the DEH, reacting to a decision by the
government to freeze hiring of new stuff. The workers have warned of a
climax of labour action if the measures are not reversed.

Meanwhile in Athens during a battle between the police and two men who are
believed to be involved in the earlier stand-off described in the original
post above (an information not yet verified by ballistics), one bystander
construction worker lost his life by a bullet. The battle unfolded in the
eastern suburb of Byronas. Two policemen have been hospitalised with heavy
hand-grenade injuries, while the two men have been arrested. Media reports
claim that they turned out to be not urban guerrillas but wanted bank

Feb 16 2010 19:23

Update3: At 19:50 local time, a bomb exploded at the Athens headquarters
of JPMorgan. The explosion has caused severe material damage but no human
injuries as there was a 30-minute warning call to the press so that the
building is evacuated. The blast took place in Kolonaki, Athens' most
exclusive and heavily guarded area. No guerrilla group has yet claimed
responsibility for the attack.

Feb 17 2010 13:54

Update4: Pharmacists have announced a 24h strike for Monday 22 of February
across Greece in response to the austerity measures. They warn this is
only a warning strike. At the same time trolley-bus drivers in Athens have
announced a six hour stoppage between 11:00 and 16:00 for Friday as a
first move against the austerity measures. The stoppage is expected to
create big problems in the capital as taxi-drivers have also called a 24h
strike for the day.

Meanwhile, workers of the prestigious Agra publishing house have called an
24h strike in response to the lay-off of a fellow-worker. At the same time
the customs officers strike has created severe lack of fuel (more than 50%
of stations have run out) on the island of Crete. Finally, the killing of
the 25 year old father by police bullets during the battle in Byronas has
caused widespread public dismay, especially after the chief of police
called the operation "successful" and the Minister of Public Order refused
to acknowledge any blame for the police, insisting instead to introduce an
extra motorised force of 2,000 men in the capital. In a rare moral
contrast, the wounded bank-robber of Albanian descent has offered to cover
all expenses for the dead man's baby-orphan until adulthood.

Feb 17 2010 19:43

Upadate5: The first day of the trial of Alexandros Grigoropoulos murderers
after the restart of the trial ended today with tension building between
the forensics doctor who sat as a witness and the lawyer of the cops. The
doctor described his autopsy of the crime in detail enraging the defense
lawyer who claimed the evidence presented are false. The killed boy's
mother refused to testify due to psychological stress.

On other news, a new bomb exloded today in Athens, this time at the
political office of the Minister of Public Order Mr Chrisochoidis. The
explosion occurred despite efforts of the police to diffuse the bomb by
means of a controlled explosion. The bomb has caused material damages to
the office but no human injuries. The majority of the bourgeois media are
trying to hide the police gaffe, while at the same time downplaying
yesterday's guerrilla attack at the heart of the greek capitalist-statist

Greece running out of fuel as customs officers extend strike

Feb 19 2010 09:25

"Gas No-more", typical sign across greece's petrol stations

Serious fuel shortages are spreading across Greece as customs officers
decide to extend their strike against austerity measures until Tuesday.

Long lines of cars are to be seen in petrol stations across greece as fuel
is running out after an extension of customs officers industrial action
against the neoliberal austerity measures imposed by the government on the
pretext of the national credit crisis. Initially the strike which began
last Tuesday 16 February was to end on Friday 19, but customs officers
have announced its extension to Tuesday 23 causing panic to drivers and a
headache to the government. According to the bourgeois media, half the
stations in and around Athens have already run out of unleaded, with the
depots of the rest expected to empty within the day. The only city that
has evaded the problem due to extended deposits is Salonica. Mr Kiousis,
the petrol station union president has claimed that already across the
country 85% of petrol stations are completely dry.

The extension of the strike means that all imports and exports have come
to a standstill and customs will again open on Thursday 25th, after the
24h general strike of the previous day. Meanwhile workers of the Ministry
of Economics continue to strike, blocking the entrance to the Ministry
even to the Minister himself who has to accommodate him self in the
premises of other ministries in order to perform his publicly hated deals
with the EU.

At the same time, the government's face is at a new all time low after the
police shooting of a 25 year old plumber during a battle with alleged bank
robbers in the eastern suburbs of Byronas. According to ballistics the
unlucky worker was hit 9 times at the back and the head, all by police
bullets, as he was trying to take refuge at an engine-shop. According to
neighbours, while shooting the bystander, the cops yelled "I 'ate' the
motherfucker". The brutal killing of the father of an 18 month old baby
has fueled public dismay towards the police, now even more perceived as a
gang of armed maniacs. The impression was worsened by the police chief of
Athens claiming the operation was "successful" with the Minister of Public
Order insisting that the only solution to such incidents is more and more
armed police. The Byronas tragedy has come as a blow to the credibility of
the greek government as a whole since it has recently gone public saying,
as a response of financial and labour fears concerning the crisis, "If we
cannot guarantee anything else, we can guarantee your security". The
credibility of the police has been further eroded as a result of two bombs
that have damaged the headquarters of JP Morgan in Athens and the
political office of the Minister of Public Order in Peristeri. The former
explosion occurred in Athens' most heavily guarded quarter, Kolonaki,
while the latter occurred despite efforts of police to destroy the bomb by
means of a controlled explosion.

On other news from the labour struggle front, workers mobilisation against
the layoff of a worker at the prestigious arty publishing house Agra are
continuing apparently causing panic to its bosses who like to portray
themselves as progressives, to the extent that they have taken recourse to
publishing letters of support to the lay-off (!) by a series of well-known
artists and authors, the vanguard of the Spectacle of culture in greece.
The union of workers of the book and printed material sector has gone on a
48h strike over the lay-off with persistent demos outside
Agra's offices and main bookstore in Exarcheia.

Finally, pharmacists have announced a 24h warning strike against the
austerity measures for Monday 22 of February.

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