In an orgy of collective punishment the Greek police unleashed a brutal attack on Exarcheia, after the end of yesterday's protest march, destroying shops and social centres, evacuating a squat at gunpoint and brutalising the locals.
The police brutality seen on the streets of Exarcheia last evening after the end of the general strike protest march in Athens has been unprecedented and casts serious doubts on the nature of the present regime in Greece which is casting away its democratic veil to expose itself as what it really is: the continuation of the colonel's junta.
After the end of the protest march hundreds of riot and motorised policemen stormed Exarcheia, the down-town neighborhood of Athens associated with radical politics since the start of the 20th century. The police proceeded to brutalise bystanders and people drinking their coffee in the area, while smashing up Exarcheia square's traditional coffee house, despite the fact that it was filled with customers. The video of the police wanton violence can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkQ4YsRlFxI&feature=player_embedded
The locals did not hesitate to heckle the police thugs chanting "junta-junta" and "SS SS". In response the cops retaliated by beating anyone on their way and even invading a block of apartments. According to Ioanna Manoushaka (see photo) she was standing on the front door of the block shouting at the cops that they have made life in the neighborhood unbearable when policemen attacked her with globs breaking her arm and teeth. She then run up the stairs and locked herself in her apartment, but the riot policemen followed her and tried to smash the door for five minutes, while her and her husband, a well known composer, barricaded themselves.
Shouting "tonight we will fuck you", the police then proceeded to invade and smash the Social Centre (Haunt of Immigrants) of Diktio, the "Network of Social and Civil Rights", a left-wing group with many decades of action against state terrorism. According to the announcement of the Diktio, "The government of the IMF and of the junta of the market is trying to exploit the criminal act on the bank and impose a regime of terror in the country. The orgy of police-rule by means of chemical warfare and mass beatings reached its climax this evening in Exarcheia".
At the same time strong police forces surrounded the anarchist squat at Zaimi street above the Polytechneio and proceeded to invade and evacuate it at gunpoint. Reports that the policemen actually shot in the air during the evacuation are not verified. All people inside were arrested.
The practice of collective retaliation to yesterday's popular resistance to the measures is a method characteristic of the Nazi-collaborating government of the 1940s, justifying the now common name shouted at policemen "german-tsoliades" (the death squad brigade of 'tsoliades' under quisling orders)
more pics from the social center
"The management of the bank strictly barred the employees from leaving today ... while they also forced the employees to lock up the doors" - Statements on the deaths in Athens
Libcom.org May 6
Following the deaths of three workers in a fire at a bank in central Athens yesterday, we reproduce for reference the statements of a worker at the Marfin bank on the incident, and the communiques of the bank workers' union OTOE and the Skaramanga squat in Athens. The bank workers union struck today in response to the deaths, blaming the goverment and employers for the fatalities.
The statement of an employee of the Marfin bank on the deaths:
"I feel an obligation toward my co-workers who have so unjustly died today to speak out and to say some objective truths. I am sending this message to all media outlets. Anyone who still bares some consciousness should publish it. The rest can continue to play the government’s game.
The fire brigade had never issued an operating license to the building in question. The agreement for it to operate was under the table, as it practically happens with all businesses and companies in Greece.
The building in question has no fire safety mechanisms in place, neither planned nor installed ones – that is, it has no ceiling sprinklers, fire exits or fire hoses. There are only some portable fire extinguishers which, of course, cannot help in dealing with extensive fire in a building that is built with long-outdated security standards.
No branch of Marfin bank has had any member of staff trained in dealing with fire, not even in the use of the few fire extinguishers. The management also uses the high costs of such training as a pretext and will not take even the most basic measures to protect its staff.
There has never been a single evacuation exercise in any building by staff members, nor have there been any training sessions by the fire-brigade, to give instructions for situations like this. The only training sessions that have taken place at Marfin Bank concern terrorist action scenarios and specifically planning the escape of the banks’ “big heads” from their offices in such a situation.
The building in question had no special accommodation for the case of fire, even though its construction is very sensitive under such circumstances and even though it was filled with materials from floor to ceiling. Materials which are very inflammable, such as paper, plastics, wires, furniture. The building is objectively unsuitable for use as a bank due to its construction.
No member of security has any knowledge of first aid or fire extinguishing, even though they are every time practically charged with securing the building. The bank employees have to turn into firemen or security staff according to the appetite of Mr Vgenopoulos [owner of Marfin Bank].
The management of the bank strictly bared the employees from leaving today, even though they had persistently asked so themselves from very early this morning – while they also forced the employees to lock up the doors and repeatedly confirmed that the building remained locked up throughout the day, over the phone. They even blocked off their internet access so as to prevent the employees from communicating with the outside world.
For many days now there has been some complete terrorisation of the bank’s employees in regard to the mobilisations of these days, with the verbal “offer”: you either work, or you get fired.
The two undercover police who are dispatched at the branch in question for robbery prevention did not show up today, even though the bank’s management had verbally promised to the employees that they would be there.
At last, gentlemen, make your self-criticism and stop wandering around pretending to be shocked. You are responsible for what happened today and in any rightful state (like the ones you like to use from time to time as leading examples on your TV shows) you would have already been arrested for the above actions. My co-workers lost their lives today by malice: the malice of Marfin Bank and Mr. Vgenopoulos personally who explicitly stated that whoever didin’t come to work today [May 5th, a day of a general strike!] should not bother showing up for work tomorrow [as they would get fired]."
Statement of the banks workers' union, OTOE, which struck today:
Three dead colleagues, working in Marfin - Egnatia Bank are the victims of riots that occurred in the late panergatikis peaceful demonstration in the center of Athens.
The three unfortunate employees trapped in the shop of the Bank, which burst into flames could not be removed, thereby losing their lives.
The OTOE condemns in the strongest terms those who engage in such acts of violence with which it dealt with the problems of the people of our country and demands exemplary punishment of the culprits.
But this tragic event which deprived the lives of three colleagues (two women and one man) is the sad result of unpopular measures roused the popular anger and protest of hundreds of thousands of workers, which, however, have physical and moral perpetrators.
The perpetrators must be found and punished exemplary.
The instigators, but must be sought on policy, the operational attitude of the police and the bank management that the coercive practices hinder the participation of workers in action and the irresponsibility of not receiving timely manner all necessary security measures to protect the lives of workers and citizens to bank branches, which are familiar and timeless goals throughout the itinerary whenever the workers' demonstrations and protests.
But serious political responsibility has the government apparently did not calculate the size and extent of effects on Greek society and people's decisions regarding the economic tradition of our country in the troika of D.N.T ., the European Union and the ESF, and the temporal demands of the local chapter.
The OTOE in protest, expressing anger and indignation of the bank sector and the entire Clerks and Workers union movement against the individuals and sponsors of the horrific events of loss of life of three colleagues, Nationwide launches 24-hour strike tomorrow, Thursday, May 6 .
We urge the government to reconsider its policy directed exclusively against non-privileged citizens of our country.
To look into alternatives paths to observe the weak masses will have to pay those who are truly responsible for the tragic economic bottlenecks facing our country.
It is high time all of the political system to understand that the river of popular rage is not guided, not entrenched and will not stop until there is justification and democratic governance fully conforms with the popular sentiment.
THE PRESS OF OTOE
Statement by the Skaramanga squat in Anthens
The murderers “mourn” their victims
(Regarding today’s tragic death of 3 people)
The enormous strike demonstration which took place today, 5th of May turned into a social outflow of rage. At least 200,000 people of all ages took to the streets (employees and unemployed, in the public and private sector, locals and migrants) attempting, over many hours and in consecutive waves, to surround and to take over the Parliament. The forces of repression came out in full force, to play their familiar role – that is, of the protection of the political and financial authorities. The clashes were hours long and extensive. The political system and its institutions reached a nadir.
However, in the midst of all this, a tragic event that no words can possibly describe took place: 3 people died from infusions at the branch of Marfin Bank on Stadiou Avenue, which was set ablaze.
The state and the entire journalistic riff-raff, without any shame toward the dead or their close ones, spoke from the very first moment about some “murderer-hooded up youths”, trying to take advantage of the event, in order to calm the wave of social rage that had erupted and to recover their authority that had been torn apart; to impose once again a police occupation of the streets, to wipe out sources of social resistance and disobedience against state terrorism and capitalist barbarity. For this reason, during the last few hours the police forces have been marching through the center of Athens, they have conducted hundreds of detentions and they raided – with shootings and stun-grenades – the anarchist occupation “space of united multiform action” on Zaimi street and the “migrant haunt” on Tsamadou Street, causing extensive damage (both these places are in the Exarcheia neighbourhood of Athens). At the same time the threat of a violent police eviction is hanging over the rest of the self-organised spaces (occupations and haunts) after the Prime-ministerial speech which referred to soon-to-come raids for the arrest of the “murderers”.
The governors, governmental officials, their political personnel, the TV-mouthpieces and the salaried hack writers attempt in this way to purify their regime and the criminalise the anarchists and every unpatronised voice of struggle. As if there would ever be the slightest of chances that whoever attacked the bank (provided the official scenario stands) would possibly know there were people inside, and that they would torch it alight regardless. They seem to confuse the people in struggle for themselves: them who without any hesitation hand over the entire society to the deepest pillage and enslaving, who order their praetorians to attack without hesitation and to aim and shoot to kill, them who have lead three people to suicide in the past week alone, due to financial debts.
The truth is that the real murderer, the real instigator of today’s tragic death of 3 people is “mister” Vgenopoulos, who used the usual employers’ blackmailing (the threat of sacking) and forced his employees to work in the branches of his bank during a day of strike – and even in a branch like the one of Stadiou Avenue, where the strike’s demonstration would pass through. Such blackmailing is known only too well by anyone experiencing the terrorism of salaried slavery on an everyday level. We are awaiting to see what excuses Vgenopoulos will come up with for the relatives of the victims and for the society as a whole – this ultra-capitalist now hinted by some centers of power as the next prime minister in a future “national unity government” that could follow the expected, complete collapse of the political system.
If an unprecedented strike can ever be a murderer…
If an unprecedented demonstration, in an unprecedented crisis, can ever be a murderer…
If open social spaces that are alive and public can ever be murderers…
If the state can impose a curfew and attack demonstrators under the pretext of arresting murderers…
If Vgenopoulos can detain his employees inside a bank – that is, a primary social enemy and target for demonstrators…
…it is because authority, this serial murderer, wants to slaughter upon its birth a revolt which questions the supposed solution of an even harsher attack on society, of an even larger pillage by capital, of an even thirstier sucking of our blood.
…it is because the future of the revolt does not include politicians and bosses, police and mass media.
… it is because behind their much-advertised “only” solution, there is a solution that does not speak of development rates and unemployment but rather, it speaks of solidarity, self-organising and human relationships.
When asking who are the murderers of life, of freedom, of dignity, the ferments of authority and capital, they and their tuft hunters only need to take a look at their own selves. Today and every day.
HANDS OFF FREE SOCIAL SPACES
IT IS THE STATE AND THE CAPITALISTS WHO ARE THE MURDERERS, TERRORISTS AND CRIMINALS
EVERYONE TO THE STREETS
from the open assembly of the evening of 5/5/2010