Saturday, September 10, 2011

Protests at the Thessaloniki International Fair 2011

Sept. 10, 2011 Contra Info

Constant updates:

22.50 GMT+2: Cops’ fierce attack at Chimiou Square.

22.30 GMT+2: According to the police headquarters, there have been 95
detentions and 3 arrests until 21.30 GMT+2. Cops-murderers didn’t release
any more information, i.e. regarding the tones of tear gas and flash-bang
grenades they have been using across the city throughout the day.

22.15 GMT+2: Many people set up barricades and counter-attack to police
squads, in front of the University entrance.
Cops have also approached the Church of Rotonda; they have fired tear gas
straight at demonstrators in numerous cases.
There is a barricade in Kamara; ongoing clashes at Syntrivani and Chimiou
squares, and around Ethnikis Amynis Street —along which the public lights
went off.
A police bus was passing through Iasonidou Street outside ABC Hotel; when
it moved to Egnatia Street, people spotted it and attacked it with a lot
of stones.

22.00 GMT+2: In Thessaloniki, several thousands still on the streets.
Clashes in front of the Physics-Mathematics faculty; a lot of people are
defending themselves around the university premises.
Clashes between protesters and cops at Syntrivani (Fountain) Square, after
brutal police attack in Egnatia Street. Many people are trapped by riot
police in Aggelaki and Ethnikis Amynis streets.
One more detention was reported in Ethnikis Amynis Street, near Kamara.
(The total number of new detentions/arrests has not been confirmed.)

In Athens, at Syntagma Square, several hundreds of people blockaded the
road in front of the parliament in solidarity to Thessaloniki
demonstrators; police attacked them and pushed them to the staircase of
Syntagma Square.

21.45 GMT+2: It is the first year that students from occupied university
buildings participated at the TIF demonstration. Most students’ blocks are
now entering the University, from the Philosophical School entrance; a
part of them, as well as several rank’n'file unions are headed back to
Iraklis’ fans seem to have ended their demo; so did ‘Den Plirono’ (most of
its demonstrators had arrived from Athens).
Stone throwing at the TIF’s lower gate.

21.35 GMT+2: The Prime Minister has just ended his sold-out speech and
prepares to leave the Ioannis Velidis Conference Centre. He mentioned that
‘there is hope’ (obviously implying the salvation of bosses and the

21.15 GMT+2: A new march (with many thousands from the student unions,
along with base unions and other blocks such as the indignants) is
reaching the TIF facilities; cops attacked them with flash-bang grenades.

20.45 GMT+2: People were attacked by massive police force in front of the
White Tower; police squads chased people in fury. One protester has been
fiercely beaten and was detained near the White Tower.
Cops use batons, tear gas and flash-bang grenades; people resist with
stones and swear at them. Various fronts of clashes downtown; several
protesters’ blocks are now near Venizelos Statue.

20.30 GMT+2: Police had blockaded the base unions and students’ demo in
Nikis Avenue, but protesters have now managed to reach the White Tower.
Many other demonstrators clash near YMCA (HANTH) Square in order to get
closer to Ioannis Velidis Conference Centre where the Prime Minister is
about to give his closed-doors speech.
More injured protesters; five were transferred to Aghios Pavlos hospital.

20.20 GMT+2: All detainees are released; 3 arrests are reported, and at
least two severely injured protesters.
Huge police force in Nikis Avenue [paraliaki].

20.10 GMT+2: Clashes and barricades with fire in Ethnikis Amynis Street.
Iraklis’ fans clash with cops who prevent them access, in Tsimiski Street.

20.00 GMT+2: Despite the teargasing, people remain in the streets chanting
very loud and dynamic slogans while many protesters still clash with
police via stone throwing, etc.

19.40 GMT+2: The Legal Aid Team reports 70 detainees who are held in
Thessaloniki’s police headquarters; at least 2 detentions have been turned
into arrests. Only 5 detainees have been released.

19.30 GMT+2: There are several fronts at the moment all around the centre
of Thessaloniki. Besides the students, the taxi unions and other union
rallies and marches, the ‘communist’ union’s (PAME) rally is having circa
6,000 and started marching. Iraklis’ fans are also gathering to join the
anti-government protests. In front of Ioannis Velidis Conference Centre
police tear-gassed the demo.

19.15 GMT+2: Clashes at the YMCA (HANTH) Square. One ambulance arrived at
the place to pick up an injured demonstrator; police squads prevented the
ambulance, but other demonstrators attacked to them and opened the way.

18.50 GMT+2: Taxi protesters are face to face with cops; even more tension
between them.

18.45 GMT+2: Many motorcyclist demonstrators passed Aghias Sofias Street
and are headed to Aristotelous Square.
The indignants of Athens have also reached the White Tower.
The student demonstration has just been attacked by police; this
demonstration counts approximately 10,000 people.

18.30 GMT+2: Taxi and students’ blocks are heading towards Venizelos
Statue, at the (central) Aristotelous Square; so do the blocks of
rank’n’file unions that have marched from Kamara.
Banners from student unions of Athens, Patras, Xanthi, Komotini and
Thessaloniki can be seen.
Teargasing and more detentions are reported. (The number of arrestees and
released people is yet unconfirmed.)
Coastguard forces are also guarding the city’s port and surveilling the

18.25 GMT+2: Thousands of students marching down Egnatia Street from the
Polytechnic School.

18.15 GMT+2: Taxi protesters threw eggs at police squads and attempted to
tear down the plexiglass-iron wall so as to break through the police
blockade and approach the Exhibition’s facilities. Cops fired tear gas and
flash-bang grenades.

17.40 GMT+2: The banner of the indignants’ block of Veria reads
‘Resistance – Overthrow – Equality.’
Demonstrators of ‘Den Plirono’ movement are approaching the White Tower too.
An estimated 5,000 university students are now in Egnatia Street, in front
of the Refectory.
The Police Headquarters officially report 32 detentions across Thessaloniki.

17.30 GMT+2: An estimated 2,000 people, mostly from the blocks of taxi
drivers/owners and Iraklis football fans, march now in Aghiou Dimitriou
Five more detentions had been reported earlier in the same street.

17.15 GMT+2: Constant identity controls and (danger of) detentions by
police are reported. The Polytechnic School, Kamara and the White Tower
are reachable. Unfortunately, quite many demonstrators who gather at the
White Tower carry Greek national flags!

Meanwhile, a counter-information PA’s [mikrofoniki] is held from the
Polytechnic School’s terrace (since midday).

Around 16.15 GMT+2: Protesters are gathering at the White Tower (Lefkos
Pyrgos). Most streets that surround the TIF facilities still look empty
due to the numerous police blockades across the city’s centre.

Around 15.15 GMT+2: Police is preventing demonstrators from approaching
the blockades and pre-gathering points, and proceeded in two ‘preventive’
detentions at Vasileos Georgiou Avenue blockade (in front of the Scouts’
Six similar ‘preventive’ detentions also occurred at the 424 (former
Military Hospital) blockade.

Water cannon at Ioannis Velidis Conference Centre

Gatherings and demonstrations throughout Saturday, September 10th, include
those by the square movement (attempting to blockade the Expo); taxi
owners/drivers (also on strike); the mainstream trade unions (GSEE,
ADEDY); the Stalinist union (PAME); the ‘Anti-authoritarian Movement’
(AK); Iraklis football fans (protesting against this local team’s
relegation on financial grounds), the Libertarian Syndicalist Union (ESE);
the base unions’ federation; autonomous immigrants/refugees; ‘Den Plirono’
(I won’t pay!) movement, secondary/university students,

Comrades’ call
September 10th
Pre-gathering: Kamara, Thessaloniki, at 18.00 GMT+2
Demo route towards YMCA (HANTH) Square – Ioannis Velidis Conference Centre

For coverage of the unfolding events, also check Occupied London

(In Greek)

For live radio streaming:
Radio Revolt 88.7 FM, +30 2312132227, +30 6983631186
1431 AM
(MSN), +30 2310996254

Police plexiglass-iron wall, Thessaloniki International Fair 2011
We are not intimidated by cops; we are enraged!

Greek police clash with anti-austerity protesters


THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Riot police fired tear gas Saturday to
disperse anti-austerity protesters marching in Greece's second-largest
city ahead of the prime minister's annual speech on the economy.

From taxi drivers to sports fans, more than 17,000 angry citizens were
protesting in the northern port of Thessaloniki. Police said they were
attacked with flare guns, stones, sticks and even a petrol bomb, and they
arrested two people while detaining another 94.

Prime Minister George Papandreou's Socialist government has imposed
painful austerity measures — cutting pensions and salaries while raising
taxes and retirement ages — to secure vital international rescue loans
worth euro219 billion ($302.6 billion). But its efforts to economize while
reviving a fast-contracting economy amid record unemployment have
faltered, sparking new market distress.

On Friday, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was forced to deny rumors
of impending bankruptcy over the weekend.

The default rumors, combined with the sudden resignation of senior
European Central Bank official Juergen Stark, created fresh market fears
that sent yields on Greek 10-year bonds surging to 21 percent. Greece has
the worst credit rating in the world, just shy of default.

In Thessaloniki on Saturday, several thousand taxi drivers protesting new
licensing reforms launched a chain of separate marches, chanting
anti-government slogans. Members of the barely-solvent country's two
biggest labor unions, university students, anarchists — and even fans of
Thessaloniki soccer club Iraklis — followed on their heels.

Some 2,000 members of a Communist union held a peaceful protest in Athens.

Despite the market rumors of doom, Venizelos insisted Saturday that the
country could still pull through.

"Whoever believes that Greece has been broken or has no hope is clearly
out of touch with reality," he said. "The two coming months are crucial
for the very existence of our country, these are two months whose every
day counts as a year in terms of effort."

By the end of October, Greece has to conclude talks on a complex bond swap
deal under which private holders of its debt — mostly banks and pension
funds — will take a loss on their holdings in return for new, more secure

It must also persuade the European Union and the International Monetary
Fund, which are providing the bailout loans, that it is making sufficient
progress with fiscal discipline, reforms and privatizations. If Athens
fails in that, the country will not receive the next euro8 billion ($11
billion) batch of its loans, and will go bankrupt within weeks.

"The clearest message Greece is sending at this point ... is that we are
absolutely determined, without taking any momentary political cost into
account, to fully meet our obligations to our partners," Venizelos

But he warned that the economy, in its third year of recession, is
shrinking at a faster-than-expected pace, further hampering ambitious
efforts to cut the budget deficit to 7.5 percent of gross domestic product
this year.

"The forecast in May was a 3.8 percent contraction, and we are currently
above 5 percent," he said.

Elected two years ago with a 10 percent margin, Papandreou's Socialists
have seen their ratings fade as the cutbacks soared. A poll in the Sunday
edition of Kathimerini newspaper shows the opposition conservatives 4
percentage points ahead, 32 percent to 28 percent, but also forecast a
hung parliament if elections were be held now. The Public Issue poll had a
margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent.

Under the previous conservative government, Greece falsified some of its
financial data to hide the true extent of the country's debt problems.

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