Sunday, November 20, 2011

Greece: Gatherings/Demonstrations for the November 17th

Nov. 17, 2011 ContraInfo

(18.30 GMT+2) People built up flaming barricades alongside Alexandras
Avenue. Earlier a police cubicle outside the EU building on Vasilissis
Sofias Avenue was set ablaze. Public lights were off outside the US
Embassy, from where most of the demonstrator blocks have already left.
KKE/PAME block is still headed towards the embassy, though, marching
separately from other blocks in Vasilissis Sofias Avenue. Protesters clash
with cops in nearby Mavili Square, erecting barricades.

As we write these lines (17.20 GMT+2), small-scale clashes between cops
and protesters (mainly of the anarchist/anti-authoritarian blocks) are
under way in front of the parliament while several detentions were
reported. Demonstrators still take to the streets of Athens; the demo
started from Klafthmonos Square, without as many in attendance as
expected. Earlier cops used tear gas in Syntagma, as well as in Exarchia
–the Polytechnic School’s building, Patission Street and the entire
neigbourhood seems to be cordoned off by police squads. According to radio
98 FM’s live coverage, there are approximately 100 detentions so far,
including anarchists —possibly including the fighters Aris Seirinidis and
his mother. Several people were detained even in front of their homes.
Cops are literally everywhere. They previously cordoned off Vasileos
Georgiou Street, at Syntagma, while demonstrators were trying to pass
through in order to reach the US Embassy, as in every year’s demo. On the
contrary, some blocks affiliated with political parties such as PASOK were
permitted to reach their gatherings outside the US Embassy from early on.

The standard police fence next to the parliament is apparently not there.
Protesters are now allowed (!) to march from Syntagma Square all the way
to the US Embassy. According to earlier reports, the block of Anarchist
Archives Group was encircled by cops in Syntagma Square.

Constant police checks were reported, and approximately 7,000 police thugs
have been dispatched on the streets of Athens while metro stops and main
streets are closed downtown. Stalinists of the KKE’s forces are about to
gather in Omonia Square.

At the moment, nearly 150 people have gathered in Aghios Tryphonas Square
in Ano Glyfada where a sound system is set up.

The photo is from the spontaneous march of nearly 100 school students in
the morning, in the neighbourhood of Zografou in memory of the 1973
uprising. The students chanted slogans against the fascists, the austerity
measures and the IMF. The mobilization was welcomed by the residents.

In the city of Patras, clashes erupted between anti-authoritarian
secondary students and police squads in Corinthou and Ermou streets in the
morning. The students attacked the city hall with colour bombs.

In Τhessaloniki, protesters should pay great attention when reaching the
Polytechnic. Earlier there were several detentions. The area around the
university premises is cordoned off by Stalinists of KNAT and police

Also, live coverage of the demos for the Nov 17 on Occupied London

Police enter the university grounds in Thessaloniki; at least 32
detentions in Patras

Thursday, November 17, 2011 Occupied London

Timeline of today’s demonstration in Athens

In Thessaloniki, police entered the university grounds, breaching the
asylum (only a social concept now, as it was recently abolished from law,
see below). Earlier in the day, people from the
anarchist/anti-authoritarian scene had been arrested as they tried to
leave their own homes, in a preemptive round of arrests ahead of the

In the city of Patras, at least 32 people have been detained by police and
there is an impromptu solidarity demo outside the police station at the

Thessaloniki, police storming the campus:

Patras, an impromptu barricade/ beginning of the police operation:

Reports of seriously injured demonstrator in today’s demo in Athens
Thursday, November 17, 2011

Athens IMC reports:

“There is a seriously injured demonstrator at the Evangelismos
hospital, in Athens. He fell from a big height while being chased by
DELTA police on motorbikes in the streets of Kolonaki.

He has broken both his legs. He is also injured in other parts,
including his head. There will be a detailed report later on regarding
his health.

They expect him to undertake surgery within the next few hours.

People are gathering outside Evangelismos hospital, as do cops,
special forces and the like, and there are skirmishes with the
gathered comrades.”

Then with the tanks, now with the banks: Live coverage of commemorative
demonstrations for the Nov 17 uprising in Athens
Thursday, November 17, 2011

(All times are GMT+2, local Athens time)

19.55 PM Official number for today’s detentions is 78, of which 11 have
turned into arrests.

18.32 PM Barricades on Mavilis square as riot police are trying to break
up the demo bit by bit.
17.45 PM A police cubicle outside the EU building on Vassilisis Sofias has
been set ablaze.
17.05 PM 3,000+ people in the anarchist blocks have reached Syntagma. The
demonstration has in excess of 50,000 people (earlier number was referring
to part of the demonstration only.
16.06 PM Riot police have opened their cordon for the demonstrators of the
‘Group of tortured and exiled during the dictatorship’ to pass through. It
is still unclear whether they will allow the main part of the
demonstration to pass through too.
16.00 PM Standoff at the lower part of Syntagma square, as hundreds of
demonstrators are amassing by the police cordon and demand for the police
line to step back and to allow them to march past the parliament and
toward the American embassy.
15.47 PM Riot police are cordoning off Syntagma square and are trying to
keep all demonstrators away from Syntagma square, and back toward
Panepistimiou Ave.
15.27 PM Riot police seem to have encircled the Polytechnic building in
Exarcheia; the plans seems to be to allow no-one to return to the building
after the demonstration, which is under way.
14.40 PM At least 20 detentions by police so far.
11.44 AM There is police presence reported outside the Law School on
Akadimias Str; there are DIAS police further down on the same street, and
police checks on Omonoia Square. Approximately 7,000 police have been
dispatched on the streets of Athens for today’s commemorative
11.40 AM As announced earlier, following a police order, metro stops
Panepistimio, Syntagma and Euagelismos will be closed in Athens today.

Greeks, Italians riot over austerity measures

(CBS/AP) November 17, 2011

ATHENS, Greece - Masked youths clashed with riot police outside Greece's
parliament and the U.S. embassy Thursday as thousands of austerity-weary
Greeks marched through Athens in an annual commemoration of a bloody
student uprising in the 1970s.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the rioters, and some
78 people were detained for questioning. Eleven people were arrested.
Police also reported four injured police officers. A young protester was
reportedly hospitalized after injuring both legs in an attempt to evade

Some 28,000 people took part in the march, according to police estimates,
making it one of the biggest Nov. 17 protests in years. Seven thousand
officers were monitoring the crowd.

Meanwhile, in Italy, against the backdrop of anti-austerity protesters
clashing with riot police, that country's new premier appealed to Italians
on Thursday to accept sacrifices to save their country from bankruptcy,
but pledged economic growth and greater social cohesion in return.

Italy PM forms government with no politicians
GlobalPost: Eurozone crisis a blow to democracy
Greek banker Lucas Papademos named new PM

Mario Monti, Italy

Italian premier Mario Monti at the first cabinet meeting of the new
government at Chigi palace premier office, in Rome, Wednesday, Nov. 16,
(Credit: AP Photo)

Mario Monti is under enormous pressure to boost growth and bring down
Italy's high debt, not only to save Italy from succumbing to the debt
crisis but to prevent a catastrophic disintegration of the common euro

"Europe is experiencing the most difficult days since the end of the
Second World War," Monti told parliament in his debut address. "Let's not
fool ourselves, honored senators, that the European project can survive if
the monetary union fails."

Monti pledged to reform the pension system, re-impose a tax on first homes
annulled by Silvio Berlusconi's government, fight tax evasion, cut the
costs of politics, streamline civil court proceedings and get more women
and youth into the work force.

"This government recognizes that it was born to confront a serious
emergency in a constructive and united spirit," Monti said, calling it "a
government of national commitment."

With loan-dependent Greece heading for its fourth year of recession and
saddled with record unemployment, Thursday's demonstrations was the first
test of public sentiment for the new coalition government of Lucas
Papademos, a technocrat enjoying widespread popularity, according to

Thursday's annual protest commemorates the squashing of a pro-democracy
student uprising in 1973 by the military dictatorship that ruled Greece
from 1967-74 -- and whose backing from the U.S. still rankles in the
country. But the embassy march has traditionally served as a vent for
anti-government protests that often turn violent.

About 15,000 people took part in a similar protest in the northern city of
Thessaloniki that turned violent when a couple of hundred anarchists threw
projectiles and petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas. No
injuries have been reported.

The clashes come a day after Papademos, a 64-year-old former central
banker, easily won a confidence vote in parliament.

Papademos heads a coalition of the majority Socialists, conservative New
Democracy and the small right-wing populist LAOS party, which has
nationalist and anti-immigration roots.

He faces a daunting task in the 100 days until early elections in
February. As well as staving off looming bankruptcy by securing the
country's next rescue loan installment, his government must pass a new
austerity budget -- to be tabled in parliament Friday -- and transform
paper pledges of sweeping public sector reform into action.

The Greek government's most pressing task is to secure the release of an
euro8 billion ($11 billion) loan installment -- frozen by the EU as it
awaits written commitments from all parties in the new coalition that they
will honor the terms of the new debt agreement after the next election.

Greek conservatives have balked at the demand, despite warnings the
country will default before Christmas without the money, leaving Papademos
to seek a compromise with the European Union.

He will meet with top EU officials in Brussels on Monday, a day before
flying to Luxembourg to meet Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who
chairs meetings of eurozone finance ministers.

Italy Milan riots

Students clash with police during a demonstration in Milan, Italy,
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011.
(Credit: AP Photo)
Italian premier Monti, a 68-year-old economist and university president,
described three pillars of his strategy to tackle the debt: Budgetary
rigor, economic growth and social fairness.

He was interrupted 17 times by applause during his speech outlining his
goals. But outside, Rome's historic center was paralyzed by student
protests and in the financial capital of Milan, riot police struggled to
stop protesters trying to reach the Bocconi University over which he
presides, signaling the depth of the resistance the new leader will have
to confront.

Monti's one-day-old government won vote of confidence 281-25 in the Senate
later Thursday, ahead of a vote in the lower house Friday, on his
government of experts, including fellow professors, bankers and business
executives. He was chosen to lead after Italy's spiraling financial crisis
brought down media mogul Berlusconi's 3 1/2 year-old government.

Europe has already bailed out three small countries -- Greece, Ireland and
Portugal -- but the Italian economy, the third-largest in the 17-nation
eurozone, is too big for Europe to rescue. Borrowing costs on 10-year
Italian bonds spiked briefly over 7 percent Thursday -- a level that
forced those other countries into bailouts -- before closing at 6.81

In a conference call Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French
President Nicolas Sarkozy and Monti agreed that their countries have a
special responsibility to the eurozone as its three largest economies and
founding members of the European Union.

Still, it's not clear how many sacrifices already-stressed Italians are
willing or able to make.

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