Sunday, May 02, 2010

Athens May Day erupts in battles May 1 2010

Labour May the 1st has erupted in pitched battles in Athens with many
arrests and two people seriously injured.

Labour May the 1st (May Day) is a day for token trade union parades in
greece, but the IMF related austerity measures that have cast their long
shadow on the country made sure no one was expecting a peaceful
demonstration today.

Four different demos had been called in Athens, reflecting existing class
and political differences. One by PAME, the Communist Party controlled
trade union umbrella, gathered at Syntagma square and marched to the
American embassy. A second, by GSEE, the private sector trade union
umbrella controled by the ruling Socialist Party, staged a protest concert
in Klafthmonos square. A third, by the Radical Left Coalition and
extreme-left groups gathered at Victoria square and marched to the
Ministry of Labour. And the forth, by anarchists and autonomous grassroots
unions, gathered outside the Archaeological Museum and marched to the

The first signs of unrest appeared when the anarchist-autonomous march
numbering around 4,000 people reached Klafthmonos square chanting slogans
against GSEE like "Scum, filth, union-bosses" and attacked the concert
scene with red and black paint interrupting the performances. Upon
reaching the Parliament and attempting to march towards the EU offices,
the protesters were confronted by riot police forces and clashes broke
out. Protesters attacked the prestigious ruling class hotel "Great
Britain" with the clashes spreading across Panepistimiou street where
banks and shops came under attack. Reaching Propylea, protesters torched a
State TV van, and closed against the ex-president of the Parliament who
happened to be on Korai square. The senior PASOK politician took refuge to
a cafe while heckled and was rescued by strong police forces. At the same
time, the General State Accountancy came under attack by protesters. The
march proceeded towards Omonoia square where upon meeting up with the
march of the extreme left returning from the Ministry of Labour it came
under brutal attack by motorised police forces. In the battle that ensued
many protesters were injured and many more detained, while hundreds of
protesters took to a barricaded retreat into Exarcheia and the Polytechnic
from which more clashes ensued. As a result of the clashes some 10 people
are reported arrested (with people gathered outside the National Police
Headquarters demanding their liberation), and two men are reported as
injured, one with serious cranial wounds. Meanwhile, journalists are
accusing the police as not allowing them to film, and one journalist was
reported as being detained. The police claims seven of its officers were

At the same time, more limited clashes erupted in the May Day protest
march in Salonica with many banks and shops attacked. Protest marches also
took place in many smaller cities and towns like Heraclion, Patras,
Rethimnon, Corinth and Ioannina.

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