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Greek Picket - 9t Dec Remembering Alexandros Grigoropoulos

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Thursday December 11, 2008 12:05author by Gingerbeard - WSM Report this post to the editors

A crowd of anarchists and activists picket the Greek Embassy in Dublin on a cold winters evening whilst a young man who was killed by the state Special forces is buried in Greece.

Greek Embassy Picket
9th December Dublin
WE DON’T FOGET WE DON’T BACK DOWN

A good crowd gathered at the top of Grafton street at about 5.15pm on the cold dark Tuesday evening in December. We moved off towards St. Stephens green, about 25 of us heading towards Lesson street and the Greek Embassy. We went against the flow of people escaping work and rushing towards the illuminated beacon of the shopping centre.

By the time we reached the embassy, we were greeted by the sight of three Gardaí who were standing on the top steps to protect the Greek States property. The Greek embassy are a particularly paranoid bunch and they always appear to seek the protection of the Gards when they hear wind of any picket or protest. They had also prepared for the demonstration by taking in their flag. Perhaps the cunning ambassador thought this trick could help them blend into the city landscape as just anohter gradiose georgian house.
We unfurled the banners and started to let the local residents, (are there any on Pembroke lane that haven’t fled the country for winter) and passers by know why we were there.

He had the right to agitate,
MURDER in the Greek State.
Our Passion for Freedom is stronger than your prisons.
In Anger, In Greif in SOLIDARITY.
Unfortuantely, we didn’t have leaflets, but I think that people very quickly became aware that this building was indeed the Greek Embassy.

Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15 year old student became the latest death in a long list of various State killings. He was killed in Athens, in the quarter known as Exarchia, which is known to be an anarchist and militant activist quarter. When the ‘special forces’ killed this young boy it has sparked off riots which quickly spread throughout the country. A General strike was called for the following day after our picket, and 10,000 marched on the Greek parliament. The usual protrayal by the state and the media is that this young man was in with a bad crowd, as if that in some way legitimizes thekilling.
The repercussions of Alexandros’s death display that the Greek people are all too aware which side they are on when it comes to a battle between the state and young activists. Exarchia is an area of Athens which hasorganised itself against further developments on their green spaces. They have dealt with issues around drug pushers themsevles. The area has battled the state when it’s needed too. That is why old ladies chuck potted plants on the Special forces when they enter there. The special forces are trained by the old guard, the military who were in power. They are not respected by the people, and neither is the governement which mirrors our own with it’s corruption and inepititude. Don’t take my word for it, the guardian reported that people feel the system there “system that thrives on corruption, party political affiliations and patronage “ Does that sound familar? That is why Greece is in the grip of it’s greatest social upheaval in decades. As the banner on the picket stated, remember the dead, and with out picket were were doing that for young Grigoropoulos, was buried that day in Falrio that day. But we must fight like hell for the living, and that means taking on those liars and theives who thrive in the current system.

After a certain amout of chanting, we took a break and a Greek comrade addressed the crowd which had swelled to about thirty or more cold souls on that footpath. He told us the background, the details of that area of Athens, the words about the campaigns and battles that they’d fought with the authroties, and the way the authorities dealt with people. Teh special forces are not liked by the Greek populace and after this killing it is easy to see why. State brutality is a fact of life or I should say death in all states, and we have our own cases here, like that of Terence Wheelock or the young Brian Rossieter whose inquest is ongoing. People need to remember the dead, and we need to challenge those who did it and make them accountable. Justice appears like a folorn hope when dealing with state killings. Our Greek comrade went on to say that this is not an ‘islolated incident’ and that refugees were killed at the beginnig of the year.

After a certain amout of chanting, we took a break and a Greek comrade addressed the crowd which had swelled to about thirty or more cold souls on that footpath. He told us the background, the details of that area of Athens, the words about the campaigns and battles that they’d fought with the authroties, and the way the authorities dealt with people. Teh special forces are not liked by the Greek populace and after this killing it is easy to see why. State brutality is a fact of life or I should say death in all states, and we have our own cases here, like that of Terence Wheelock or the young Brian Rossieter whose inquest is ongoing. People need to remember the dead, and we need to challenge those who did it and make them accountable. Justice appears like a folorn hope when dealing with state killings. Our Greek comrade went on to say that this is not an ‘islolated incident’ and that refugees were killed at the beginning of the year.
After that we chanted a bit more, in Anger, in Gief and in Solidarity. As we broke up and went our spearate ways, we didn’t expect justice, but we’d remember our dead. The Greek people are fighting right now to ensure that his death was not in vain, and that change comes from it. In this way the people of Greece are an example to us all. Don’t mourn, organise and fight for change.

Related Link: http://www.wsm.ie
author by Evanspublication date Thu Dec 11, 2008 13:27Report this post to the editors

The text which was given to the embassy:

● The incident

On Saturday, 6th of December 2008, two ex-army special forces armed uniform officers (Eidikoi Frouroi/EF) were patrolling in a squat car in Exarchia, central Athens. They got involved in a verbal argument with some young people who were there. They left, and after a few minutes they returned on foot. The verbal argument continued, one of the young people threw a plastic bottle of water to the EF, one of whom pulled his gun and shot him twice directly on the chest.

● General disapproval

This is not a unique and isolated incident. During the last years we have seen a multiplication of marches in Greece, but also a rise of violence from the State. The governments have been incapable of dealing with the bad state of the economy. Foreign investors carry their business in countries with cheaper labour, leading to a high rate of unemployment. The governments chose to increase taxation in small businesses and working people and reduce the already insufficient pensions. Also, a university reform was proposed, which would make them function more like companies rather than academic institutions. Maybe the most important failure of the recent governments, is when they let almost half of the greek forests burn, and tried to eliminate these huge fires with no central planning.

Thus, the people organised huge marches. Pensioners, students, even police unions were confronted with violence; the armed and in full armour riot-police (MAT) are very generous in using tear-gas, smoke grenades and stun grenades. For the last few years the news had headlines like: “Just by chance there were no fatalities”, “Athens resembles a battlefield” etc. During the last month, two refugees were killed by the police while they were waiting in a queue to apply for asylum.

After the Olympics in Athens, the Greek 9/11 in terms of applying “anti-terrorist” measures, the right-wing governments reformed the Special Brands according to the old military fashions, enforced as police fashions in Greece by the 1967-74 military junta, having been initialised by the 1936 fascist government.

● Why the area is important

These bodies (EF and MAT) are extensively active around the Exarchia area. This area is really significant for Athens. Just behind the Polytechnic School, it is an area were many students traditionally used to live and became a center of resistance during the military junta. Many social centers and small shops are found in this area of 90,000 m2 and 22,068 residents. It is the only area which conserves the architectural tradition of the 18th/19th centuries, people live as a community and they are not absorbed by individualism. It is an open space, where people from all over Athens and Greece participate in various events. The area also has a lot of green, mostly on Strefi hill.

The governments though, are quite uncomfortable about that. For years they have been trying to absorb the people into individualism. Their friends, the construction companies, see in the green Strefi hill a piece of land where they would happily build huge commercial centers and blocks of flats.

To achieve all these, EF and MAT patrols have been permanently installed for the last 4 or 5 years. The people, though, organised the Exarchia Residents Committee and managed to stop the re innovation plans. They also organised free exchange markets while in the area free lessons of using computers and of the greek language are delivered to refugees. (photos at:
http://exarchia.pblogs.gr/2008/12/den-katanalwnw-epanah....html)

● Massive Outrage

That's why the murder of a 16-year-old boy by an EF in Exarchia outraged the people so much. That's why it spread all over Greece. While the mainstream media want to promote a few-anarchists-overreact image, it is far from the truth. Almost all parties of the Left participated in a 10,000 people march organised in less than two hours since the event happened. No riots happened until the MAT appeared and provoked verbally the demonstrators. Then, a massive outrage came to the surface: young people NOT taking part in the march started throwing stones to the MAT, 70-year-old people went out at their balconies and threw flowerpots and ashtrays to the MAT, who answered, as usually, with tear-gas and stun grenades.

Demonstrators who managed to reach and protest at the Special Brands Headquarters in Athens and the police departments in Thessaloniki were, not surprisingly, confronted with tear-gas and stun grenades.

● Further action

Marches were also organised on the 7th and 8th of December. The first by Leftists and Anarchists, the second by the Schools Union. Also, the Provosts of universities in Athens called for a strike. Both marches were confronted with violence by the MAT. They have been throwing tear-gas and stun grenades to the thousands of school students who went to the march. This only enrages the students even more, which has led to all these fires in the center of Athens. All of them are set in Ministry buildings, squat cars and stores of multinational corporations.

Marches in many other -more than 20- cities had the same fate: a peaceful march was provoked by the MAT, the demonstrators were enraged and set fires to governmental buildings. The disapproval against the government has become so massive, that even the mainstream media have started to call for the resignation of the prime minister and conduction of elections. None in the media say that they don't understand the motives of the people.

In many cities around Europe, protests for this situation have been called. Berlin, London, Edinburgh, Paris, Barcelona and cities in Holland, Cyprus, Slovakia and other.

This is the situation for which we want to protest in Ireland, too!

● What we ask

We demand the respect of Human Rights in Greece.

We demand the full disarmament of the police and the abolishment of the EF body.

We demand the end of the continuous injustice between people living in Greece.

Former Residents of Greece

Related Link: http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_...38137
author by Cypriotpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2008 13:42Report this post to the editors

What happened to this boy is tragic. However, what is happening in Greece is a two fold story that has been developing for several years.

a) The growing levels of unemployment, poor social infrastructure and unequal society that the majority of working class experience in urban cities across Greece. The recent general strike reflect this momentum.

b) Middle class student anarchists venting off steam and running riot. Student anarchists are a large sub culture in Greece but not a political movement. It began from student involvement in the overthrow of a military dictatorship in late 70's. Their current rampage has to be understood seperately from the current socio-economic crisis.

Again, this murder is a tragedy but ihas nothing to do with the evolution of class struggle in Greece over the past decade.

author by Andrew - WSM (personal capacity)publication date Thu Dec 11, 2008 14:40author email wsm_ireland at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

.

banners1.jpg

Greek comrade explains the situation
Greek comrade explains the situation

placard.jpg

author by Seanpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2008 14:54Report this post to the editors

http://ie.indymedia.org/article/90171

author by oμηροςpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2008 21:15Report this post to the editors

what did ye achieve? You got no coverage in the mainstream media, and you didn't even give out leaflets -let alone break a few windows-, so after you left no one would even have known you were ever there.

I suppose the tiny group of people who read indymedia may learn about the protest, but there are loads of articles about the Greek situation anyway, so what was the point of this?

author by Finpublication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 18:22Report this post to the editors

What would that achieve?

author by Conor. M - Think Tank, Swordspublication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 21:23author email liberalconormurphy at ymail dot comReport this post to the editors

oμηρος,
I think you totally missed the point. What did they achieve? What does anyone ever achieve, something big, nothing.... that's not the point. You know, whats the point in anything? I would suggest being optimistic, not pessimistic. Also, out of curiosity, what would breaking windows achieve? as you blatantly put it?

author by Elepublication date Sat Dec 13, 2008 15:24Report this post to the editors

the action in Dublin has been published in all mainstream greek papers and blogs . Alexandros wasn't a wrong time wrong place incident....... Immigrants can assure that (two died only few weeks ago). The system that sacrifices 15 year old boys due to the government violence, must sink as much as it can.

I

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