libcom.org Feb. 24, 2010
The general strike in both private and public sectors has seen mass
protest marches across the country and extended clashes in Athens with
dozens of shops and banks destroyed and one man arrested.
The first general strike as a response to the austerity measures in Greece
has met with huge success as the country has been immobilised by the
strike with no boats airplanes buses or trains moving within or from and
into the country. The media strike which is part of the general strike
means there are no news broadcasts or newspapers which limits the extent
of our information gathering on the strike and its protest marches
In Athens the protest march is expected to have gathered around 40,000
people and had a very dynamic character. The first incident occurred when
a plain clothed policeman was stopped and beaten by protesters. Later riot
police tries to side the numerous anarchist block but was deterred by
large numbers of protesters. Before reaching Syntagma square several
corporate shops and banks were smashed by protesters. In sytnagma square
extended clashes between protesters and riot police forces unfolded with
use of tear gas on the part of the cops and rocks and molotov cocktails by
the protesters. During the clashes Giannis Bardakos, a member of a
socialist opposition party DIKKI, was arrested. DIKKI has published a
communique condemning the arrest and the "policy of occupation forces'
imposed poverty and underdeveloped applied by the State of oppression and
violence" adding that "anti-people's terrorism will not pass". The
encircling methods of the police at the corner of Phillelinon street
however failed, two workers who the cops had arrested were rescued and the
two riot police squads were encircled by protesters and heavily beaten
with many riot shield broken. The clashes continues across Panepistimiou
street where the posh Zonars cafe was invaded by large numbers of enraged
workers and teachers who smashed it. The protesters then moved towards the
Polytechnic which is under occupation by students in response to the
breach of campus asylum in Zografou a few days ago, with many shops across
Patision avenue destroyed. The general feeling is one of great success
with the forces of repression humiliated and the working class having
proved its will to struggle against the state onslaught.
The protest march in Salonica gathered around 5,000 people under rain.
Despite small skirmishes no clashes ensued until protesters returning to
the Universities moved to destroy car control medal bars at its entrance
and came under police attack. The police with utter disregard to the
constitution moved its forces into the university asylum and led the
protesters to barricade themselves in the rectorial headquarters which are
now under occupation in protest to the renewed breach of the asylum.
Protest marches took place in many other towns with mass participation: in
Heraklion Crete the marches numbers more than a thousands, while in Volos
500 marchers broke away from the march to break the security cordon of the
METKA factory and hold an assembly in the premises.
As far as the antifascist counterdemo planned for today afternoon in
Amerikis Square, both the fascist gathering and the antifascist
counterdemo were declared banned by the district attorney. As a result,
antifascist marches were prevented to reach the square by strong riot
police forces and marched instead in the streets of Kypseli chanting
antiracist and proletarian solidarity slogans. The fascist scum never even
appeared for their advertised bigotry stunt at the square.