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What's happening in Greece right now
#1
This is the best article I have read so far on the current events in Greece.

Greek Teenagers

December 12, 2008 By Nikos Raptis As always, to understand what is going on today (Dec.11, '08) in Greece (or any place) one has to go back in time a few decades. Let us make the effort.

A few weeks after the "departure", in 1974, of the US-supported dictatorship in Greece, I was in the luxurious ground floor of the Bank of Greece where I was filling some forms to secure the necessary exchange for the purchase of a book from a US publisher. I was sitting at a long heavy table. It was early in the day, there were not many people in the huge ground floor and the two security policemen there came and sat at the other end of the table and started chatting. I was wearing a US-made sport jacket. They took me for a foreigner and started talking freely. The older (fat) one says: "So, Karamanlis came from Paris [after the dictatorship] and instead of giving us money, the asshole bought helmets and riot gear for us". That, Karamanlis, was the uncle of the (rather rotund) present Karamanlis, the Prime Minister of Greece. Karamanlis, the uncle, is referred to as the "Ethnarch" [the "father" of the nation]. Actually, he was a US-chosen rightist proxy to administer Greece on behalf of the US in the early 1950s. He died a few years ago and he demanded that his corpse be buried in a private lot on which a memorial building was erected mimicking the building of the usual "presidential library" of the US Presidents. The burial in a private space is illegal in Greece.

Six years after the above dialogue, between the two policemen, in November 1980, the riot police attack the demonstrators that were marching towards the US Embassy during the yearly march commemorating the 1973 uprising of the students against the dictatorship. The Karamanlis [uncle] police kill 26-year-old Iakovos Koumis and Stamatina Kanellopoulou, a young worker, by crushing their skulls.

In 1981 the "socialists" (PASOK) win the elections. Andreas Papandreou, the US educated professor of economics at Berkley, becomes Prime Minister. His first act: he DOUBLES the salaries of the policemen! Four years later, in 1985, the Papandreou police kill 15-year-old Michael Kaltezas by shooting him in the back of his head, again during the yearly demonstration of the uprising. The killer is acquitted. That same year, Catharine John Bool [spelling?], a 22-year-old American is killed by the Greek police, for refusing to have her car searched by them. Around that period a young Turkish man is beaten to death in an Athens police station. The Greek press never includes his name in the usual list of persons killed by the Greek police. This list consists of the names of about one hundred persons killed by the "socialist" or the rightist police, from 1974 to this day. Not a single policeman was ever convicted. The latest murder is that of the 15-year-old Alexis Gregoropoulos, son of an upper middle class family, six days ago in Athens.

The Greek people, early on, had adopt the "battle-cry": "Coppers Pigs Murderers!"

For 34 years, from 1974 to 2008, the Greek politicians, both "socialists" and rightists, as expected, have stolen millions of dollars from the money of the state [that is of the Greek taxpayers]. The latest scandal, in the tune of tens of millions of Euros, involves the government of Karamanlis [nephew] and the pious monks of a monastery on the "Sacred Mount of Athos". It is quite interesting [or quite amusing] how the "professional" Christians bestow sacredness to all kinds of material entities. For example, the above monks, besides living on a sacred mountain, they claim to have the "Sacred Belt" that belonged to the Virgin Mary mother of Jesus, the son of God.

Today these Greek politicians, mostly US-educated and some of them from Harvard or the London School of Economics, have managed to bring the young Greeks who have a university degree in engineering, or in medicine, or in law, etc to the point of a yearly income of about US $ 12,000, if they are lucky to have a job. While life in Greece is as expensive, if not more expensive, than life in Berlin or Paris.

Inevitably, the killing of the teenager was apt to cause an "explosion". The important new development, compared to previous "explosions", was that it spread as a revolt all over Greece. Usually, in the past, the violent demonstrations took place in Athens and Salonica.

Here is a very brief recording of what happened after the killing of the 15-year-old Alexis:

- On Thursday, Dec. 4, there are country-wide demonstrations by students protesting the attempt of the rightist government to downgrade the state-supported public universities. The police, in Athens, beat severely a student who is hospitalized with heavy injuries. On the same day, 3,500 farmers of central Greece block with their cars and their trucks the main North-South highway of Greece, cutting the country in two, protesting the policies of the government that have turned them into heavily debt-ridden paupers.

- On Saturday, Dec. 6, Alexis is killed 25 minutes after 9 p.m., in cold blood, according to half a dozen eye witnesses. One hour later a violent reaction by the direct-action faction of Greek anarchists is initiated in Athens and eight more cities in Greece. The fight against the police goes on all night long.

- On Sunday, Dec. 7, around midday a crowd assembles in front of the Athens National Archaeological Museum [a building visited by millions of US citizens during the last 50 years]. The call to assemble was done through the Internet and SMSs. The crowd starts marching peacefully. After a little they clash with the police and the crowd starts burning mostly banks, car dealerships and big businesses. This goes on all night.

- On Monday, Dec. 8, around 6 p.m.a huge crowd of thousands of people gather at the central building of the University of Athens. Even before the crowd starts to march there are violent contacts with the police. Burning and breaking of shop windows goes on all night long. The same happens in 19 more cities and towns of the country.

- On Tuesday, Dec. 9, around 12 noon a huge crowd of pupils, students, high school teachers, university professors start to demonstrate. There are clashes with the police. Later in the afternoon the funeral of Alexis is attended by about 4,000 people. The police attacks them. Riots go on all through the night. Looting starts, mostly by immigrants, who do not take part in the riots, and by some Greeks. The same holds for most Greek cities and towns.

- On Wednesday, Dec. 10, there is a General Strike all over the country. The rioters this time are mostly pupils and students. They attack mostly police stations hurtling, eggs, tomatoes, bitter oranges [also known as Seville oranges], and stones.

- Today, Thursday, Dec. 11, it is mostly pupils and students (14 to 17-year-olds, boys and girls) attacking police stations again with the above mentioned missiles. A few blocks from my place at Halandri, in Athens, the police station is being attacked by high school kids Also, today, there is a tally of the damage done during the riots. Around 565 shops were damaged or completely destroyed, hundreds arrested (half of them looting immigrants), an estimated US $ 1 billion plus in damages, and (most important) 4,200 units of police chemicals spent indiscriminately against Greek citizens, raising the need to buy more chemicals from...Israel!

Now let us try to find out the meaning of this revolt:

But first an important parenthesis:

[Parenthesis: In the central hall of the police station of the Athens neighborhood that I was raised, there is a huge slab of white marble fixed on one of the walls with about a dozen names engraved on it. The names belonged to policemen who were executed in the police station the very first day of the December 1944 uprising of what is known as the "Greek Civil War" after the end of the Nazi occupation of Greece. The executed policemen were anti-communist Nazi collaborators and brutal torturers of members of the anti-Nazi Resistance, mostly communists.

To try to persuade people about the existence of police brutality is rather redundant. Recent cases as the sodomizing of the young black in a Manhattan subway station, or the revelations about the master-torturer police officer in Chicago are a minuscule recording of what is going on in police stations all over the face of the earth. So, no wonder that the first people to be punished during an uprising are the brutal policemen. The above marble slab is just a simple example.]

The groups that took part in the uprising after the murder of the 15-year-old kid are the following:

- A minuscule part of direct-action anarchists.

- A group of non-violent anarchists spread all over Greece, numbering in the hundreds.

- The usual police "plants" in the anarchist groups.

- A very dangerous group of police officers, of the Blackwater-type of individuals [assisted by neo-Nazis], masquerading as anarchists. [See below].

- The "KKE" (Communist Party of Greece), "traditional" communists, numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

- The "Coalition of the Radical Left" ("Coalition" from now on). A formerly Eurocommunist split from KKE, numbering, now, in the hundreds of thousands.

- The "Greens", numbering in the thousands

- University students, numbering in the tens of thousands.

- High school kids, numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

[The numbering refers to the power of each group in general and does not refer to the number of persons that took part in the uprising.]

The burning and breaking was done by the direct-action anarchists, the Blackwater-type pigs [assisted by the neo-Nazis], and some students and pupils.

The KKE masses demonstrated in the traditional way of marching in extreme discipline and departed. They carried the usual red flags, however the flagpoles were of the size and strength of baseball bats. This was a warning to the pigs and their political choreographers, that they meant business. The pigs got the message.

The Coalition people and the Greens demonstrated in the traditional way but they were there to assist the up-risen youths.

The uprising was carried out by the students and the teenagers, especially the teenagers!

What is of paramount importance is not the journalistic reporting or the burning, the looting, etc, but the incidents, events, and statements that show what is happening in the Greek society now. Here are some of these events:

- The head of the National Federation of Traders, Demitris Armenakis, representing the owners of the shops that were destroyed said: "No (material) damage can be compared to the life of a young man". This moral statement, coming from a person that suffered material damage, has impressed most Greeks.

- From some police stations the information leaked out that some of the policemen demanded and succeeded to take the guns out of the hands of their violent-prone colleagues.

- At some point ordinary citizens of all ages who usually are fence-sitters were so angry with the behavior of the police during the demonstrations by the young that they tried to intervene and protect the kids. Some of the parents of the younger kids did the same, placing their bodies between their kids and the clubs of the pigs.

- Today, a deputy of the Greek parliament, belonging to the Coalition, walking with two friends on a side-street of the area of the riots spotted two muscular men wearing hoods who were holding stones and carrying sticks. The deputy asked them if they were policemen. They answered angrily that they were policemen, so what. The deputy and his friends chased them, but their age did not allow them to catch the young braves. This was described, publicly, in the evening news.

- In a very unfortunate moment, the General Secretary of KKE accused the Coalition that they "caress the ears " of the hooded persons that burn and destroy. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the KKE and the Coalition leaderships have a decades long enmity that is based partly in personal antipathies.

- The usual 1/3 of a any given population, that consider themselves conservative, that is crypto-fascist, still consider the up-risen kids and the murdered child as "punks", "brats", "dirty bastards", and regard the murderer policeman as a hero.

- Two well known lawyers initially accepted the defense of the murderer, but after talking to him they declined to represent him. Eventually, a lawyer, by the name of Alexis Kougias, who has been in the forefront of the news for various reasons for almost a decade, accepted the job. Kougias stated publicly that the death of the kid was a "misinterpretation", that the death was the "will of God", and it is the job of the court to decide "if the death should have happened". We think that the case of Kougias is of great interest not only for the Greek society but also for the international community of intellectuals, university students, and ordinary people. We suggest that the Kougias case should be followed closely by all.

The conclusion drawn from the incidents of these six days in Greece : The uprising was in reality the uprising of the Greek teenagers. It was a Greek "intifada". The "weapons" used by the teenagers in this "intifada" were their burning anger, their maturity, and predominately... Seville oranges, the traditional Greek student weapon against the police. Their targets were the police stations. The police stations, whose historical meaning was touched briefly in the above parenthesis.

What might one expect after the "intifada" of the Greek teenagers? The rightist government of Karamanlis (the nephew) is mortally wounded. The "socialists" have been so corrupt during their two decades-long governing of the country that the young Greeks are repelled by them. What the kids are looking towards, are: the anarchists, the Coalition, and the KKE. Also, to a lesser degree towards the Greens.

A year ago the Coalition's voting power was a little above 3%. A few months ago it rose to almost 16%. Now it is back at about 9%. The KKE for years was constantly around 5%. Now it is close to 7%. The Greens seem to reach close to 3%. It is reasonable to expect that in the next elections the Left (Coalition, KKE, Greens) could achieve a total voting power of around 20% and even much more.

If the above estimates are correct, then the "intifada" of the Greek teenagers will give a hard time to the CIA analysts in Langley. These analysts initiated the 1967 dictatorship of the colonels. The result was that in 1974 the Communist Party was legal after decades of being outlawed. The murder of Alexis by a "copy" of a US "Rambo"-policeman that initiated the "intifada" of the Greek teenagers, could give birth to a new Left in Greece. Also, this is a very good opportunity for the Parecon vision to be promoted among the Greek teens. It seems that the Coalition has an affinity to the Parecon vision.

We shall see what happens. Let us hope that my estimate is correct.

http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/19930
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#2
The Rightwing Government is Headed for Its Downfall
Days of Rage in Greece

By PANOS PETROU

On the night of December 6, a special police squad in Athens murdered
a 15-year-old student in cold blood in Exarchia, a neighborhood with
a long tradition of activism among young people, the left and
anarchists.

This was only the latest instance of police brutality against
immigrants, and left-wing and anarchist activists--especially youth,
in the wake of a major youth resistance movement against
privatization of education that rattled the right-wing government of
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.

The next day, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA),
revolutionary left organizations and anarchist activists called a
demonstration at police headquarters in Athens.

This was the first shock. Although the demonstration wasn't well
organized, and in spite of the climate of fear cultivated by the
government and the big media, tens of thousands of people came out in
the streets. At the same time, demonstrations were organized
spontaneously in smaller cities around the country.

The police attacked the demonstration, using chemical sprays and tear
gas. The demonstrators resisted by building barricades and bonfires
all night long in the center of Athens.

However, the real earthquake happened the next day. On December 8,
DEA members visited schools, proposing occupations and
demonstrations. We found out that the idea was already on the minds
of a majority of students. All schools in the country closed, and
thousands of students poured into the streets.

The students occupied the centers of cities all over Greece, and in
many cases, they besieged the police departments. The sizes of the
protests were huge, especially in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras.
Hundreds of demonstrations took place in smaller towns, and even in
villages.

It was already obvious within a matter of days that this would be a
generalized explosion of youth after years of oppression, poverty and
deep cuts in the government's social spending.

The demonstrators made their objectives known: By targeting the
police department, they were attacking the government's authoritarian
policy of repression. By targeting the banks, they were attacking the
symbols of capitalism to show their anger with neoliberal policy.

That afternoon, SYRIZA called a demonstration for the center of
Athens. Despite the police presence and the use of tear gas, tens of
thousands of people participated. The police again used violence to
disperse the demonstrators.

What followed was a wild night of confrontations. More than 30 banks
and many big stores and public buildings were set on fire. The same
thing took place in other cities around the country.

In addition to students, the poor and immigrants came out to the
demonstrations. The hatred of police repression and the country's
rich was everywhere.

* * *

THE NEXT day, Tuesday morning, dawned on a terrified government.
Rumors circulated that Prime Minister Karamanlis intended to declare
a state of emergency in Athens and Thessaloniki, which would mean a
"temporary" suspension of all democratic and political freedoms.

But any such plans were withdrawn after the government realized the
strength of the demonstrations would cancel out the strength of any
"extraordinary measures."

Karamanlis called together the leaders of the political parties in
successive meetings, demanding their consent for stopping the crisis
with threats of brutal police intervention. It was obvious that
pressure was being was directed at the radical left coalition SYRIZA.

But the leadership of SYRIZA withstood it. The head of SYRIZA's
parliamentary group, Alekos Alavanos, came out of a meeting with
Karamanlis and called on the workers and students to continue their
struggle to topple the Karamanlis government. Alavanos also demanded
a "real apology" toward the youth--which would mean disarming the
police, the end of all privatization measures in education and a
policy to strengthen employment for young people.

Though pressed hard by the media, he made it clear that SYRIZA wasn't
participating in the riots, but he refused to condemn the "violence"
of the demonstrators, insisting that the point was the fight against
police violence.

One disappointing response was that of the Communist Party of Greece.
After meeting with Karamanlis, the party's secretary, Aleka Papariga,
denounced SYRIZA and demanded that it stop pandering to the
anarchists. The same line was taken by the leader of the right wing,
Georgios Karatzaferis, who also targeted SYRIZA and accused it of
being the "political wing" of the rioters.

The real problem, however, is the attitude taken by the large social
democratic party, PASOK, led by Georgios Papandreou. In order to
oppose Karamanlis' center-right New Democracy party, Papandreou
denounced the murder and police oppression. But at the same time, he
denounces the demonstrations, proposing instead silent candlelight
vigils to "mourn" the young student who was killed.

The murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos came as the economic crisis
reached a new level. Greece's trade unions had already called for a
24-hour general strike on December 12. But the social democratic
leadership of the Confederation of Greek Workers--terrified by the
wave of demonstrations and complying with Karamanlis' request--
canceled a labor rally planned for that day.

The rally did take place after a mobilization by SYRIZA and
organizations of the revolutionary left. It was massive, very
militant and peaceful. Participation in the strike call was almost
total. This broke through the climate of fear and scaremongering
promoted by the government.

As this article is being written, the movement is continuing, and no
one really knows what the future holds for Karamanlis.

The right-wing government is headed toward its downfall. Every
opinion poll shows that it has already suffered a huge loss of
support after the outbreak of big corruption scandals revolving
around illegal sales of public land in collaboration with the church.
The media in Greece think that Karamanlis won't be prime minister by
the summer of 2009.

DEA is participating enthusiastically in the resistance movement. We
support the unity of the young demonstrators fighting against
repression and the workers and their unions fighting against
exploitation.

To achieve unity, we need a left that is massive and effective, but
also a left that is radical--that can inspire all the people now in
struggle with the belief that this society, capitalism, should be
overthrown, and that an alternative that meets our needs, socialism,
is a feasible solution.

This is the potential presented clearly in front of us during the
days of struggle that have shaken Greece.

Panos Petrou is a member of Workers Internationalist Left (DEA, by
its initials in Greek) and part of the editorial board of DEA's
newspaper Workers' Left.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#3
AMY GOODMAN: Protests, riots and clashes with police have overtaken Greece for the sixth straight day since the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy in Athens Saturday night. One day after Wednesday’s massive general strike over pension reform and privatization shut down the country, more than a hundred schools and at least fifteen university campuses remain occupied by student demonstrators. A major rally is expected on Friday. And as solidarity protests spread to neighboring Turkey, as well as Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Denmark and the Netherlands, dozens of arrests have been made across the continent.


On Wednesday, two police officers involved in Saturday’s shooting were arrested, and one was charged with murder. But anger remains high over the officers’ failure to express remorse at the student’s death. The police officers claim the bullet that killed Alexandros Grigoropoulos was fired in self-defense, and the death was an accident caused by a ricochet.


The unrest this week has been described as the worst since the end of the military dictatorship in 1974 and could cost the already weakened Greek economy an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s also shaken the country’s conservative government that has a narrow one-person majority in Parliament. The socialist opposition has increased calls for the prime minister to quit and call new elections, ignoring his appeals for national unity.


I’m joined now on the telephone by a student activist and writer from Athens. He’s with the Greek Socialist Workers Party. He’s a graduate student in political philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.

We welcome you to Democracy Now! Can you lay out for us exactly when this all began and how the protests have escalated and what they’re about right now, Nikos Lountos?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yes, Amy. I’m very glad to talk with you.

So, we are in the middle of an unprecedented wave of actions now and protests and riots. It all started on Saturday evening at around 9:00 p.m., when a policeman patrolling the Exarcheia neighborhood in Athens shot and murdered in cold blood the fifteen-year-old schoolboy Alexis.

The first response was an attempt to cover up the killing. The police claimed that they had been attacked. But the witnesses all around were too many for this cover-up to happen. So, all the witnesses say that it was a direct shot. So even the government, in just a few hours, had to claim that it will move against the police, trying to calm the anger.

But the anger exploded in the streets. In three, four hours, all the streets around Athens were filled with young people demonstrating against the police brutality. The anti-capitalist left occupied the law school in the center of Athens and turned it into headquarters for action. And on Sunday, there was the first mass demonstration. Thousands of people of every age marched towards the police headquarters and to the parliament. And the next day, on Monday, all this had turned into a real mass movement all around Greece.

What was the most striking was that in literally every neighborhood in every city and town, school students walked out of their school on Monday morning. So you could see kids from eleven to seventeen years old marching in the streets wherever you could be in Greece, tens of thousands of school students, maybe hundreds of thousands, if you add all the cities. So, all around Athens and around Greece, there were colorful demonstration of schoolboys and schoolgirls. Some of them marched to the local police stations and clashed with the police, throwing stones and bottles. And the anger was so really thick that policemen and police officers had to be locked inside their offices, surrounded by thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys and girls.

The picture was so striking that it produced a domino effect. The trade unions of teachers decided an all-out strike for Tuesday. The union of university lecturers decided a three-day strike. And so, there was the already arranged, you know, the strike you mentioned for Wednesday against the government’s economic policies, so the process was generalizing and still generalizes.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, when you have this kind of mass protest, even with the beginning being something so significant as the killing of a student, it sounds like it’s taken place in like a dry forest when a match is thrown, a lit match, that it has caught on fire something that has been simmering for quite some time. What is that?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yeah, that’s true. Everybody acknowledges that even the riots, the big riots—you may have seen the videos—they are a social phenomenon, not just the result of some political incident. There were thousands of angry young people that came out in the streets to clash with the police and smash windows of banks, of five-star hotels and expensive stores. So, that’s true. It was something that waited to happen.

I think it’s a mixture of things. We have a government that’s—a government of the ruling party called New Democracy, a very right-wing government. It has tried to make many attacks on working people and students, especially students. The students were some form of guinea pigs for the government. When it was elected after 2004, they tried—the government tried to privatize universities, which are public in Greece, and put more obstacles for school students to get into university. The financial burden on the poor families if they want their children to be educated is really big in Greece. And the worst is that even if you have a university degree, even if you are a doctor or lawyer, in most cases, young people get a salary below the level of poverty in Greece. So the majority of young people in Greece stay with their families ’til their late twenties, many ’til their thirties, in order to cope with this uncertainty. And so, this mixture, along with the economic crisis and their unstable, weak government, was what was behind all this explosion.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos is a Greek activist and writer. Nikos, the protests have been picked up not only in Greece, but around the world. We’re talking about the Netherlands, talking also about Russia and Italy and Spain and Denmark and Germany. What does it mean to the workers and the students in Greece now? How significant is that? Has that changed the nature of the protests back in Greece?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: It’s very good news for us to know that many people around the world are trying to show their solidarity to us. And I think it’s not only solidarity, but I think it’s the same struggle against police brutality, for democracy, against war, against poverty. It’s the same struggle. So it’s really good news for us to hear about that.

I think you should know that the next Thursday will be the next day of action, of general action. Every day will have action, but next Thursday will be a day of general action. The students will be all out. And we’re trying to force the leaders of the trade unions to have a new general strike. So I could propose to people hearing me now that next Thursday would be a good day for solidarity action all around the world, to surround the Greek embassies, the consulates, so generally to get out in the streets and express your solidarity to our fight. And I think workers and students in Greece will really appreciate it.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the issue of civil liberties overall in Greece? Has this been a matter of controversy over time?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yeah. This government has a really awful record on civil liberties. It all began during the Olympics of 2004, aided also by the so-called anti-terrorist campaign started by George Bush after 9/11. During the Olympic Games, we had the first cameras in the streets of Athens. And there are now proofs that many phones were tapped illegally at that period, among them the phones of the leaders of the antiwar movement here in Greece, such as the coordinators of the Stop the War Coalition.

And then came the biggest scandal of all. In 2005, tens of Pakistani immigrants were abducted from their homes by unknown men. They were hooded and interrogated and then thrown away after some days in the streets of Athens. The Greek police, along with the British MI5, had organized these illegal abductions in coordination with the then-Pakistani government of Pervez Musharraf.

During the student movements and the workers’ strikes all these years, hundreds of beatings and more police brutality have covered up. Just one month ago, a Pakistani immigrant called Mohammed Ashraf was murdered by riot police in Athens when the police dispersed the crowd of immigrants waiting to apply for a green card. And the immigrants in Greece in general are mainly from regions hit by war—Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan. And they are treated in awful conditions by the Greek state and police. Many people have died by shells in the borders or in the Aegean Sea, trying to get into Greece and then Europe. So it’s really an awful record for the government on civil liberties.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, finally, as we travel from Sweden to Germany, one of the things we’re looking at is the effect of the US election on the rest of the world. In a moment, we’ll be joined by the editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel, the largest magazine in Europe. When President-elect Obama was elected, their headline was “President of the World.” What is the effect of the election of Barack Obama on people you know in Greece? What has been the reaction?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Well, you know, all these years we had a slogan here in the antiwar movement and the student movement that George Bush is the number-one terrorist. So, many people were happy when they learned that these will be the final days of George Bush and his Republican hawkish friends like John McCain. But, of course, people in Greece have experienced that having a different government doesn’t always mean that things will be better. If the movement doesn’t put its stamp on the changes, changing only persons will have no meaning. But people have appreciated the change in the US administration as a message of change all over the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, I want to thank you very much for being with us, Greek activist and writer. He’s with the Socialist Workers Party in Greece and a graduate student in political philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.
AMY GOODMAN: Protests, riots and clashes with police have overtaken Greece for the sixth straight day since the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy in Athens Saturday night. One day after Wednesday’s massive general strike over pension reform and privatization shut down the country, more than a hundred schools and at least fifteen university campuses remain occupied by student demonstrators. A major rally is expected on Friday. And as solidarity protests spread to neighboring Turkey, as well as Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Denmark and the Netherlands, dozens of arrests have been made across the continent.


On Wednesday, two police officers involved in Saturday’s shooting were arrested, and one was charged with murder. But anger remains high over the officers’ failure to express remorse at the student’s death. The police officers claim the bullet that killed Alexandros Grigoropoulos was fired in self-defense, and the death was an accident caused by a ricochet.


The unrest this week has been described as the worst since the end of the military dictatorship in 1974 and could cost the already weakened Greek economy an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s also shaken the country’s conservative government that has a narrow one-person majority in Parliament. The socialist opposition has increased calls for the prime minister to quit and call new elections, ignoring his appeals for national unity.


I’m joined now on the telephone by a student activist and writer from Athens. He’s with the Greek Socialist Workers Party. He’s a graduate student in political philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.

We welcome you to Democracy Now! Can you lay out for us exactly when this all began and how the protests have escalated and what they’re about right now, Nikos Lountos?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yes, Amy. I’m very glad to talk with you.

So, we are in the middle of an unprecedented wave of actions now and protests and riots. It all started on Saturday evening at around 9:00 p.m., when a policeman patrolling the Exarcheia neighborhood in Athens shot and murdered in cold blood the fifteen-year-old schoolboy Alexis.

The first response was an attempt to cover up the killing. The police claimed that they had been attacked. But the witnesses all around were too many for this cover-up to happen. So, all the witnesses say that it was a direct shot. So even the government, in just a few hours, had to claim that it will move against the police, trying to calm the anger.

But the anger exploded in the streets. In three, four hours, all the streets around Athens were filled with young people demonstrating against the police brutality. The anti-capitalist left occupied the law school in the center of Athens and turned it into headquarters for action. And on Sunday, there was the first mass demonstration. Thousands of people of every age marched towards the police headquarters and to the parliament. And the next day, on Monday, all this had turned into a real mass movement all around Greece.

What was the most striking was that in literally every neighborhood in every city and town, school students walked out of their school on Monday morning. So you could see kids from eleven to seventeen years old marching in the streets wherever you could be in Greece, tens of thousands of school students, maybe hundreds of thousands, if you add all the cities. So, all around Athens and around Greece, there were colorful demonstration of schoolboys and schoolgirls. Some of them marched to the local police stations and clashed with the police, throwing stones and bottles. And the anger was so really thick that policemen and police officers had to be locked inside their offices, surrounded by thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys and girls.

The picture was so striking that it produced a domino effect. The trade unions of teachers decided an all-out strike for Tuesday. The union of university lecturers decided a three-day strike. And so, there was the already arranged, you know, the strike you mentioned for Wednesday against the government’s economic policies, so the process was generalizing and still generalizes.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, when you have this kind of mass protest, even with the beginning being something so significant as the killing of a student, it sounds like it’s taken place in like a dry forest when a match is thrown, a lit match, that it has caught on fire something that has been simmering for quite some time. What is that?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yeah, that’s true. Everybody acknowledges that even the riots, the big riots—you may have seen the videos—they are a social phenomenon, not just the result of some political incident. There were thousands of angry young people that came out in the streets to clash with the police and smash windows of banks, of five-star hotels and expensive stores. So, that’s true. It was something that waited to happen.

I think it’s a mixture of things. We have a government that’s—a government of the ruling party called New Democracy, a very right-wing government. It has tried to make many attacks on working people and students, especially students. The students were some form of guinea pigs for the government. When it was elected after 2004, they tried—the government tried to privatize universities, which are public in Greece, and put more obstacles for school students to get into university. The financial burden on the poor families if they want their children to be educated is really big in Greece. And the worst is that even if you have a university degree, even if you are a doctor or lawyer, in most cases, young people get a salary below the level of poverty in Greece. So the majority of young people in Greece stay with their families ’til their late twenties, many ’til their thirties, in order to cope with this uncertainty. And so, this mixture, along with the economic crisis and their unstable, weak government, was what was behind all this explosion.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos is a Greek activist and writer. Nikos, the protests have been picked up not only in Greece, but around the world. We’re talking about the Netherlands, talking also about Russia and Italy and Spain and Denmark and Germany. What does it mean to the workers and the students in Greece now? How significant is that? Has that changed the nature of the protests back in Greece?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: It’s very good news for us to know that many people around the world are trying to show their solidarity to us. And I think it’s not only solidarity, but I think it’s the same struggle against police brutality, for democracy, against war, against poverty. It’s the same struggle. So it’s really good news for us to hear about that.

I think you should know that the next Thursday will be the next day of action, of general action. Every day will have action, but next Thursday will be a day of general action. The students will be all out. And we’re trying to force the leaders of the trade unions to have a new general strike. So I could propose to people hearing me now that next Thursday would be a good day for solidarity action all around the world, to surround the Greek embassies, the consulates, so generally to get out in the streets and express your solidarity to our fight. And I think workers and students in Greece will really appreciate it.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the issue of civil liberties overall in Greece? Has this been a matter of controversy over time?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yeah. This government has a really awful record on civil liberties. It all began during the Olympics of 2004, aided also by the so-called anti-terrorist campaign started by George Bush after 9/11. During the Olympic Games, we had the first cameras in the streets of Athens. And there are now proofs that many phones were tapped illegally at that period, among them the phones of the leaders of the antiwar movement here in Greece, such as the coordinators of the Stop the War Coalition.

And then came the biggest scandal of all. In 2005, tens of Pakistani immigrants were abducted from their homes by unknown men. They were hooded and interrogated and then thrown away after some days in the streets of Athens. The Greek police, along with the British MI5, had organized these illegal abductions in coordination with the then-Pakistani government of Pervez Musharraf.

During the student movements and the workers’ strikes all these years, hundreds of beatings and more police brutality have covered up. Just one month ago, a Pakistani immigrant called Mohammed Ashraf was murdered by riot police in Athens when the police dispersed the crowd of immigrants waiting to apply for a green card. And the immigrants in Greece in general are mainly from regions hit by war—Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan. And they are treated in awful conditions by the Greek state and police. Many people have died by shells in the borders or in the Aegean Sea, trying to get into Greece and then Europe. So it’s really an awful record for the government on civil liberties.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, finally, as we travel from Sweden to Germany, one of the things we’re looking at is the effect of the US election on the rest of the world. In a moment, we’ll be joined by the editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel, the largest magazine in Europe. When President-elect Obama was elected, their headline was “President of the World.” What is the effect of the election of Barack Obama on people you know in Greece? What has been the reaction?

NIKOS LOUNTOS: Well, you know, all these years we had a slogan here in the antiwar movement and the student movement that George Bush is the number-one terrorist. So, many people were happy when they learned that these will be the final days of George Bush and his Republican hawkish friends like John McCain. But, of course, people in Greece have experienced that having a different government doesn’t always mean that things will be better. If the movement doesn’t put its stamp on the changes, changing only persons will have no meaning. But people have appreciated the change in the US administration as a message of change all over the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, I want to thank you very much for being with us, Greek activist and writer. He’s with the Socialist Workers Party in Greece and a graduate student in political philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.
Reply
#4
Greece 1964-1974
"Fuck your Parliament and your Constitution,"
said the President of the United States
excerpted from the book
Killing Hope
by William Blum

"It's the best damn Government since Pericles," the American two-star General declared. (The news report did not mention whether he was chewing on a big fat cigar.)
The government, about which the good General was so ebullient, was that of the Colonels' junta which came to power in a military coup in April 1967, followed immediately by the traditional martial law, censorship, arrests, beatings, torture, and killings, the victims totaling some 8,000 in the first month. This was accompanied by the equally traditional declaration that this was all being done to save the nation from a "communist takeover". Corrupting and subversive influences in Greek life were to be removed. Among these were miniskirts, long hair, and foreign newspapers; church attendance for the young would be compulsory.
So brutal and so swift was the repression, that by September, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands were before the European Commission of Human Rights to accuse Greece of violating most of the Commission's conventions. Before the year was over Amnesty International had sent representatives to Greece to investigate the situation. From this came a report which asserted that "Torture as a deliberate practice is carried out by both Security Police and the Military Police."
The coup had taken place two days before the campaign for national elections was to begin, elections which appeared certain to bring the veteran liberal leader George Papandreou back as prime minister. Papandreou had been elected in February 1964 with the only outright majority in the history of modern Greek elections. The successful machinations to unseat him had begun immediately, a joint effort of the Royal Court, the Greek Military, and the American military and CIA stationed in Greece.
Philip Deane (the pen name of Gerassimos Gigantes) is a Greek, a former UN official, who worked during this period both for King Constantine and as an envoy to Washington for the Papandreou government. He has written an intimate account of the subtleties and the grossness of this conspiracy to undermine the government and enhance the position of the military plotters, and of the raw power exercised by the CIA in his country. ... Greece was looked upon much as a piece of property to be developed according to Washington's needs. A story related by Deane illustrates how this attitude was little changed, and thus the precariousness of Papandreou's position: During one of the perennial disputes between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus, which was now spilling over onto NATO, President Johnson summoned the Greek ambassador to tell him of Washington's "solution". The ambassador protested that it would be unacceptable to the Greek parliament and contrary to the Greek constitution. "Then listen to me, Mr. Ambassador," said the President of the United States, "fuck your Parliament and your Constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. If these two fleas continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked by the elephant's trunk, whacked good.... We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr. Ambassador. If your Prime Minister gives me talk about Democracy, Parliament and Constitutions, he, his Parliament and his Constitution may not last very long."
In July 1965, George Papandreou was finally maneuvered out of office by royal prerogative. The king had a coalition of breakaway Center Union Deputies (Papandreou's party) and rightists waiting in the wings to form a new government. It was later revealed by a State Department official that the CIA Chief-of-Station in Athens, John Maury, had "worked in behalf of the palace in 1965. He helped King Constantine buy Center Union Deputies so that the George Papandreou Government was toppled. For nearly two years thereafter, various short-lived cabinets ruled until it was no longer possible to avoid holding the elections prescribed by the constitution.
What concerned the opponents of George Papandreou most about him was his son Andreas Papandreou, who had been head of the economics department at the University of California at Berkeley and a minister in his father's cabinet, was destined for a leading role m the new government. But he was by no means the wide-eyed radical. In the United States Andreas had been an active supporter of such quintessential moderate liberals as Adlai Stevenson and Hubert Humphrey. His economic views, wrote Washington Post columnist Marquis Childs, were "those of the American New Deal".
But Andreas Papandreou did not disguise his wish to take Greece out of the cold war. He publicly questioned the wisdom of the country remaining in NATO, or at least remaining in It as a satellite of the United States. He leaned toward opening relations with the Soviet Union and other Communist countries on Greece's border. He argued that the swollen American military and intelligence teams in Greece compromised the nation's freedom of action. And he viewed the Greek Army as a threat to democracy, wishing to purge it if its most dictatorial- and royalist-minded senior officers.
Andreas Papandreou's bark was worse than his bite, as his later presidency was to amply demonstrate. (He did not, for example, pull Greece out of NATO or US bases out of Greece.) But in Lyndon Johnson's Washington, if you were not totally and unquestionably with us, you were agin' us. Johnson felt that Andreas, who had become a naturalized US citizen, had "betrayed America". Said LBJ:
"We gave the son of a bitch American citizenship, didn't we? He was an American, with all the rights and privileges. And he had sworn allegiance to the flag. And then he gave up his American citizenship. He went back to just being a Greek. You can't trust a man who breaks his oath of allegiance to the flag of these United States.
What, then, are we to make of the fact that Andreas Papandreou was later reported to have worked with the CIA in the early 1960s? (He criticized publication of the report, but did not deny the charge.) If true, it would not have been incompatible with being a liberal, particularly at that time. It was incompatible, as he subsequently learned, only with his commitment to a Greece independent from US foreign policy.
As for the elder Papandreou, his anti-communist credentials were impeccable, dating back to his role as a British-installed prime minister during the civil war against the left in 1944-45. But he, too, showed stirrings of independence from the Western superpower. He refused to buckle under Johnson's pressure to compromise with Turkey over Cyprus. He l accepted an invitation to visit Moscow, and when his government said that it would accept Soviet aid in preparation for a possible war with Turkey, the US Embassy demanded an explanation. Moreover, in an attempt to heal the old wounds of the civil war, Papandreou began to reintroduce certain civil liberties and to readmit into Greece some of those who had fought against the government in the civil war period.
When Andreas Papandreou assumed his ministerial duties in 1964 he was shocked to discover what was becoming a fact of life for every techno-industrial state in the world: an intelligence service gone wild, a shadow government with powers beyond the control of the nation's nominal leaders. This, thought Papandreou, unaccounted for many of the obstacles the government was encountering in trying to carry out its policies.
*****
A CIA report dated 23 January 1967 had specifically named the Papadopoulos group as one plotting a coup, and was apparently one of the reports discussed at the February meeting.
Of the cabal of five officers which took power in April, four, reportedly, were intimately connected to the American military or to the CIA in Greece. The fifth man had been brought in because of the armored units he commanded. George Papadopoulos emerged as the defacto leader, taking the title prime minister later in the year.
The catchword amongst old hands at the US military mission in Greece was that Papadopoulos was " the first CIA agent to become Premier of a European country".
*****
It was torture ... which most indelibly marked the seven-year Greek nightmare [under Papadopoulos]. James Becket, an American attorney sent to Greece by Amnesty International, wrote In December 1969 that "a conservative estimate would place at not less than two thousand" the number of people tortured. It was an odious task for Becket to talk to some of the victims:
"People had been mercilessly tortured simply for being in possession of a leaflet criticizing the regime. Brutality and cruelty on one side, frustration and helplessness on the other. They were being tortured and there was nothing to be done. It was like listening to a friend who has cancer. What comfort, what wise reflection can someone who is comfortable give. Torture might last a short time, but the person will never be the same."
Becket reported that some torturers had told prisoners that some of their equipment had come as US military aid: a special "thick white double cable" whip was one Item; another was the headscrew, known as an "iron wreath", which was progressively tightened around the head or ears.
The Amnesty delegation described a number of the other torture methods commonly employed. Among these were:
a) Beating the soles of the feet with a stick or pipe. After four months of this, the soles of one prisoner were covered with thick scar tissue. Another was crippled by broken bones.
b) Serious incidents of sexually-oriented torture: shoving or an object into the vagina and twisting and tearing brutally; also done with a tube inserted into the anus; or a tube is inserted into the anus and water driven in under very high pressure.
c) Techniques of gagging: the throat is grasped in such a way that the windpipe is cut off, or a filthy
rag, often soaked in urine, and sometimes excrement, is shoved down the throat.
d) Tearing out the hair from the head and the pubic region.
e) Jumping on the stomach.
f) Pulling out toe nails and finger nails.
*****
The United States ... provided the junta with ample military hardware despite an official congressional embargo, as well as the police equipment required by the Greek authorities to maintain their rigid control.
In an attempt to formally end the embargo, the Nixon administration asked Papadopoulos to make some gesture towards constitutional government which the White House could then point to. The Greek prime minister was to be assured, said a secret White House document, that the administration would take "at face value and accept without reservation" any such gesture.
US Vice-president Spiro Agnew, on a visit to the land of his ancestors, was moved to exalt the "achievements" of the Greek government and its "constant co-operation with US needs and wishes". One of the satisfied needs Agnew may have had in mind was the contribution of $549,000 made by the junta to the 1968 Nixon-Agnew election campaign. Apart from any other consideration, it was suspected that this was money given to the junta by the CIA finding its way back to Washington. A Senate investigation of this question was abruptly canceled at the direct request of Henry Kissinger.
Perhaps nothing better captures the mystique of the bond felt by the Greeks to their American guardians than the story related about Chief Inspector Basil Lambrou, one of Athens well-known torturers:
"Hundreds of prisoners have listened to the little speech given by Inspector Basil Lambrou, who sits behind his desk which displays the red, white, and blue clasped-hand symbol of American aid. He tries to show the prisoner the absolute futility of resistance 'You make yourself ridiculous by thinking you can do anything. The world is divided in two. There are the communists on that side and on this side the free world. The Russians and the Americans, no one else. What are we. Americans. Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the U.S You can't fight us, we are Americans."
Amnesty International adds that some torturers would tell their victims things like "The Human Rights Commission can't help you now ... The Red Cross can do nothing for you. Tell them all, it will do no good, you are helpless." "The torturers from the start," said Amnesty, "had said that the United States supported them and that was what counted."
In November 1973, a falling-out within the Greek inner circle culminated in the ousting of Papadopoulos and his replacement by Col. Demetrios loannidis, Commander of the Military Police, torturer, graduate of American training in anti-subversive techniques, confidant of the CIA. loannidis named as prime minister a Greek-American, A. Androutsopoulos, who came to Greece after the Second World War as an official employee of the CIA, a fact of which Mr. Androutsopoulos had often boasted.
Eight months later, the loannidis regime overthrew the government of Cyprus. It was a fatal miscalculation. Turkey invaded Cyprus and the reverberations in Athens resulted in the military giving way to a civilian government. The Greek nightmare had come to an end.
Much of the story of American complicity in the 1967 coup and its aftermath may never be known. At the trials held in 1975 of junta members and torturers, many witnesses made reference to the American role. This may have been the reason a separate investigation of this aspect was scheduled to be undertaken by the Greek Court of Appeals. But it appears that no information resulting from this inquiry, if it actually took place, was ever announced. Philip Deane, upon returning to Greece several months after the civilian government took over, was told by leading politicians that "for the sake of preserving good relations with the US, the evidence of US complicity will not be made fully public".
Andreas Papandreou had been arrested at the time of the coup and held in prison for eight months. Shortly after his release, he and his wife Margaret visited the American ambassador, Phillips Talbot, in Athens. Papandreou related the following:
"I asked Talbot whether America could have intervened the night of the coup, to prevent the death of democracy in Greece. He denied that they could have done anything about lt. Then Margaret asked a critical question What if the coup had been a Communist or a Leftist coup? Talbot answered without hesitation. Then, of course, they would have intervened, and they would have crushed the coup."
Reply
#5
The Greek Populace

Chris: First, moving into the third week of rebellion, can you give an overview of events this week and into the foreseeable future? What is the mood of those protesting and of broader society more generally?

Nikos: Chris, allow me, before we go ahead with the interview, to make a few comments on the mood that I [or any other person] find myself in these days. For example, in the morning of December 18 I read in the news:

First: In the New York Times of December 17 we read: "Jose and his brother Romel [two Ecuadorian immigrants] appear to have been misidentified as gay as they walked home, arms around each other, on a predawn morning in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Romel managed to escape the three men who emerged from a passing car wielding a baseball bat and shouting anti-gay and anti-Latino epithets.

Jose was struck on the head with a bottle, then kicked and beaten into unconsciousness... and expired last Friday night, one day before his mother, who was traveling from Ecuador, could reach him".

Second: In today's Greek press we read: Alexis Gregoropoulos, the 15-year-old Greek, was murdered by a Greek policeman on December 6. Yesterday, 12 days after the murder of Alexis, around 11 am, a group of about 10 high school kids, members of the Coordinating Committee of their school, were assembled at an open public space at Peristeri [a rather downgraded part of Athens] discussing the program for the demonstrations of the next day. A shot was fired from some distance and a 17-year-old kid was hit on the palm of his right hand. The kid was operated upon this morning and a 38-caliber revolver bullet was extracted. According to the other kids a second shot was fired 10 minutes later from a closer distance.

The government covered up the incident for 14 hours. Whoever did it, he scared the lights out of the parents of the uprisen Greek teenagers. The police have already leaked the "information" that it was a "crazy" [neighbor] that did it. My estimate is that it was done by one of the neo-Nazis that the government uses to do its dirty work. Again, this is my guess.

Third: Again from the Greek press: The policeman that murdered the 15-year-old Alexis and the policeman with him during the act, were not jailed in the main Athens prison, as there was fear that the other prisoners might harm them. So, they were imprisoned in a small prison away from Athens. They were put in the same cell. Yesterday, after midnight, the murderer cop attacked his partner-cop in the cell, shouting that he [the partner] was a "demon" and that he [the murderer] wished to have a religious "confession" [to a priest]. The general feeling is that this is "theater" aiming to plead insanity for the pig. Also, as expected, it might be that the cop who did not use his gun is about to start "singing" and therefore the attack was in earnest.

One can claim that the reference to the existence of murderous assholes in any society is a truism. That is correct. However, what needs to be answered is: why these murderous assholes feel that in our "order-and-security" societies they will [tacitly] have the protection of the police and of the [by definition conservative] judiciary? This is not an exaggeration! Any honest observer of what is going on in our societies will come to this conclusion.

Now to answer your question:

The Events

The above items concerning Greece give you the answer for the most important events up to Wednesday, December 17. The wounding of the high school kid, in Peristeri, is taken very seriously by the ordinary Greeks. They are almost certain that whoever shot at the kid was shooting to kill. There is one eyewitness, who has not testified officially, yet. He attests that the shooting came from people dressed in civilian cloths in a car [a white "Citroen"] with a big radio antenna that sped away in a flash after the shooting. The police used to have this kind of car and antenna. This event, naturally, has increased the anger in the populace, especially of the revolted teenagers. On the other hand, after the shooting the parents will try to keep the kids out of the streets. Yet, the name of Peristeri, the site of shooting, is becoming an important word of the uprising. Already there has been a peaceful but massive demonstration at Peristeri to protest the shooting.

From December 17 to this day [Dec. 22] there were demonstrations but there were no burnings and damage of banks, shops, etc. in the downtown Athens area or other cities, as in the first days of the uprising. All these days since about December 17 the action has been precisely targeted and, in general, away from the center.


Chris: What were the targets and how significant were they?

Nikos: The choice of targets is very revealing and of great sociopolitical significance.

The targets were:

The headquarters of the riot Police.

The Police Academy, in New Philadelphia, in Northern Athens.

The French Institute, where the Greek youth acquires French as a second or third language. My estimate is that it was targeted because of the Sarkozy "phenomenon".

A government building where the data for people that have trouble paying, taxes, loans, etc. are stored.

Sit-in by laborers at the General Federation of Workers of Greece. A US "constructed" labor syndicate, since 1947.

Occupation of the law offices of Kougias, the "famous" lawyer who defends the policeman that murdered the young Alexis, and "tidying-up" of the establishment. Also, two attacks against Kougias at the city of Patras, this time the "illustrious" barrister was defended and saved by the police from possible severe "disciplining" by very angry youngsters.

Attack against the police unit that guards the central complex of court buildings in Athens.

Invasion of the National Theater and stopping of the show.

Pelting of the [perennial] rightist Mayor of Salonica, a former M.D. and a track and field athlete, with candy, bon bons and castor sugar. The verbal reaction of the "cultured" mayor towards the young people that "offered" him the sweets: "You social outcasts!" The bystanders approved of the act of the...young people.

One of the most important acts of the youths of Greece these last few days is the "creation" of the saga of the Christmas Tree at the very center of Athens, the Constitution Square. By the way, the Preamble of the US Constitution starts with the words "We the People". Article Three of the Greek Constitution dictates: "The established (used to be the "official") religion in Greece is the religion of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ. The Orthodox Church of Greece, that recognizes as its head our Lord Jesus Christ...", and so on. No wonder that the mayors of Athens, "socialists" or rightists, always strived to erect the most glorious plastic Christmas Tree in Europe. As most of the people in the world have seen on their TV screens the huge Grecian Orthodox Christmas Tree [a.k.a. Tannenbaum] was burned by the Greek teenagers et al, in the first face of the uprising. The rightist mayor of Athens, a certain Nikitas Kaklamanis [also an M.D.], with zingy energy managed to erect a new glorious plastic Orthodox Christmas Tree, in record time. A few days before that, the personnel [doctors, nurses, etc.] of one of the most important hospitals in Athens stepped out of the hospital on the street and started cleaning the windshields of the passing cars [symbolically] asking for money to buy gauze for the operation rooms of the hospital as there were none in the hospital because of lack of money. In the previous rightist government Kaklamanis was Minister of...Health.

On Saturday, Dec. 20, a group of boys and girls, of the Superior School of Fine Arts [of University level] went to the central meat market in downtown Athens and asked the shopkeepers to "donate" to them all the spoiled meat available. The shopkeepers were more than enthusiastic and they added a half-boiled pig head to the donation. Then, securing and a sufficient number of plastic bags full of garbage, they proceeded to the Constitution Square and the Christmas tree. Where they started improving the decoration of the tree. The ordinary citizens present at the time encouraged the students. Finally, the riot police, and the firefighting trucks arrived, beat the hell out of the students and from then on the heroic policemen stand guard in full combat-gear all around the Orthodox Christmas Tree.

The "joyful" saga of the Christmas Tree was accompanied by a characteristic act of police brutality a few blocks from the Christmas Tree. A young soldier in mufti walked down a main Athens street with his girl friend. For no reason at all a group of policemen on the sidewalk attack them and beat the young man hurting one of his eyes. An eye-witness, a lawyer, intervenes. He gets rough treatment by the police. The young man is arrested and he is now accused with very serious crimes. The "soldier-case" has become a very serious case of police brutality for the Greeks.

About the foreseeable future. It seems that the present "intifada" of the Greek teenagers will not end as the youth uprisings of recent history [May '68, etc]. One new development that corroborates this view has been the spread of support for the Greek youth all over the world. My estimate is that the kids are very serious in the pursuit of their aims. Yet, no one can be certain. The most important future event is the nation-wide demonstration, on January 9, in memory of the murder of Nikos Temponeras, the young high school teacher of mathematics in the city of Patras years ago [in 1991], by the leader of the [rightist] Youth of New Democracy, the party of the present Greek government, who crushed the skull of the young teacher. This rather forgotten murder came back in the forefront because of the murder now of Alexis. My sense that is that the name of Temponeras, the martyr of Patras, will play a significant role with the teenagers as things develop. The 9th of January 2009 is a date to be studied with interest.

As to the mood of those protesting and the broader society, Chris allow me to dwell a bit on this subject.

As I have written in my previous ZNet Commentaries I think that in any given population, 1/3 of it, for a "strange" reason are people who consider themselves "conservative", that is "cryptofascist". Whether these people [mentioned as the "1/3" from now on] are born or "made" this way is irrelevant. This, naturally, holds also for the Greek population. These "conservative" Greeks think that the murderous armed policeman that killed Alexis, was defending himself, in the presence of half a dozen teenagers, and that he was right in killing the kid, whom they consider to be a bum. Also, they think that Kougias the "famous" lawyer is defending the policeman effectively, by claiming that the death of the kid was the "will of God" and that the "courts should decide if the death was necessary". If I may add a remark here Chris, this "1/3" of reactionary individuals might be the root of all evil in he world.

The Minister of Justice, one person named Chatzigakis, or something, in the Greek Parliament stated that the British Government not only forgave the policeman who killed the Brazilian youth during the attack against the London subway a few years ago, "but reinstated him to active service". Therefore the Greek government should, etc.

In the notoriously extreme rightist Sparta area, in Peloponnesus, there is a movement to raise money for the family of the murderous policeman!

A group of "intellectuals" signed a declaration that confirms Noam Chomsky's opinion about them. The tenor of their text was that the kids were not doing the right thing.

The worst reaction about the uprising of the teenagers was that of the Secretary of the central Committee of KKE [the Communist Party of Greece], Aleka Papariga. She insisted that this was not an "uprising", no matter how many the demonstrating youths. She claimed that revolutions happen only when the workers revolt under the guidance of the communist leadership. Also, she insinuated that the "Coalition of the Radical Left" [a formerly eurocommunist split from KKE] was condoning the burning, etc. An accusation that is not only incorrect but dishonest.

The most dangerous group in the events of these past weeks was that of the neo-Nazis. The demonstrations, the burnings, the lootings, etc. gave them a golden chance to mix with the demonstrators and carry out their horrid work. [By the way, they call their Nazi organization the "Golden Dawn"!]. During the first days of the uprising they found the opportunity to mix with some shopkeeper that tried to protect their shops at Patras and did what some people called a "Kristallnacht" chasing people and breaking even into their houses. Similar acts by neo-Nazis were performed in the northern Greek city of Komotini.

This behavior thrives through the protection of the neo-Nazis by the police. It seems that in the police corps there is a significant number of neo-Nazis of the "Golden Dawn". One of the most significant events during these days has been a video showing neo-Nazis [or policemen dressed as demonstrators] wielding crowbars, etc., walking out of a group of regular policemen and starting to break glass windows of shops. One of them using a regular...sledgehammer.

However, what is of greater importance is the fact that the neo-Nazis, who operate in the fringes of the above 1/3, have managed to enter in the Greek parliament as an acceptable political party with a percentage of 3 to 4 % of the votes in the parliamentary elections. Most of the time in the parliament they try to present a "populist" image using the language and the arguments of the...communist party! However, yesterday their leader, bearing the Turkish [!] name Karatzaferis, a former journalist [and amateur boxer], asked the Parliament to vote for a new "special act". The history of the "special act" ["idionymo", in Greek] is one of the most sinister pages of the political life of Greece. This was a law "constructed", in 1929, by the famous "father" of the Greek nation, the "great democrat" Eleftherios Venizelos", whose innumerable marble or bronze statues are dispersed all over Greece. The "special act" was designed to start a brutal persecution of the Greek communists and anarchists, who "intended to overturn the established order". This was the beginning of a pogrom especially against the Greek communists that included, imprisonment, torture and later, after Venizelos, executions in the thousands, that lasted up to 1974. When Venizelos was told that the Greek fascists of that era were intent in overturning the established order, he declined to include the fascists in the "special Act"!

Of course, all this shouting by Karatzaferis, the "representative" of the neo-Nazis in the Parliament, is simply posturing, because more than anyone else he knows that if the hoods are removed many of the faces under them will belong to "Golden Dawn" thugs or policemen.

Chris, here at this point, I have to describe a situation that is of great importance in the political life in Greece. There are a few persons that dominate the news in the Greek society almost on a daily basis. These are the following:

There is an upper level Orthodox Christian priest in Salonica [I don't know his rank but in his rank they call them "Saint"!] that goes by the name of Anthimos. For years now he delivers from the pulpit an incredibly extreme right wing and warlike political preaching that is very dangerous. For example, he threatens the Macedonians [the name, etc.] with invasion by the Greek army, or dares them a la W. Bush "let them (the Macedonians) come!" Who supports him in this kind of behavior?

Again in Salonica, there is a guy by the name of Psomiadis, a rabid rightist, who plays the role of the prefect, who is the non-cassocked twin of Anthimos the priest. Although, once he came close to the black-cassocked priest when he donned a black "Zorro" costume and rode a horse. For years and years he appears on the TV screens from early in the morning. What might be his role?

Then, there is Theodore Pangalos, a 70-year-old heavily overweight man, who is proud of his weight as is attested by the story that once with the microphones in the European Union[?] forgotten in active state he attacked Angela Merkel verbally by saying: "Has she ever been fucked by a fat man?", intending thus to show his prowess as a fat man. Pangalos is the grandchild of a military general with the same Christian name, who was a dictator [!] of Greece in 1925. As happens in some cases with the progeny of dictators Pangalos, the grandchild named himself a leftist and enter politics. Actually in the 60s he managed to be close to Mikis Theodorakis, the great composer and heroic figure of the Greek left. When the "socialists" won the elections in 1981 Pangalos joined them and for almost two decades he held ministerial positions in the "socialist" governments, mostly in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The "peak" of his career came when in 1999, as a "socialist" Minister of Foreign Affairs, he delivered Ocalan, the leader of the Kurds, to the Turks who is rotting in the Turkish prisons since then. A couple of days ago Pangalos attacked the "Coalition of Radical Left" as "political bums" who supported the hooded rioters that burned, etc. The accusation is so blatantly false that one should ask himself where is Pangalos aiming, why, and who is supporting him in this provocative behavior for almost a half of a century? The fact is that for the last 48 hours all are talking about the word "bums" that Pangalos spat out of his mouth.

The two other persons in the above category of "what-is-their-role" in the Greek society, are Kougias the lawyer and Karatzaferis the Leader of the extreme rightists in the Greek Parliament.

There is one more new factor in this uprising in Greece; the immigrants. At first they did not participate in the riots. They only did most of the looting. However, in some cases they participated in the riots. This was a natural and expected thing to do. Most immigrants that were lucky enough to be dragged to a Greek police station, leave it as rabid haters of everything Greek. Sodomizing with broomsticks or clubs is the "mundane" procedure by the brave Greek policemen. The most tragic "description" of the procedure was offered by a young Albanian man, who, years ago, after declining to answer to the insistent questioning by Greek journalists he said that the Greek policemen did to him "what is done to women". The young Albanian was murdered in Albania, by the Albanian police, after having commandeered a Greek Bus. The most recent procedure by the Greek police, captured also on video, was to have an Albanian immigrant torture another Albanian for the enjoyment of the Greek policemen, members of a superior race.


Chris: So what about the remaining 2/3 of the population?

Nikos: For the first time ordinary Greeks started throwing flower-pots against the police from their upper-floor apartment balconies. For the first time the ordinary Greeks took videos of the actions of the police from these balconies and distributed them to the media making public the brutality of the pigs. Actually the video with the sledgehammer is in black and white, which might mean that the camera was of an older era. Also, a young woman captured with her camera the scene of the departure of the two murderous policemen walking away from the murder scene of Alexis. A bit of information that is going to be used in court.

The most proper word to describe the mood of the 2/3 populace is: "participatory". As for the teenagers and the students it is heartening to listen to them stating that they fight for "dignity", that they do not approve of barbaric "competition" in society, that they want real education and not cramming of their minds simply with "information". Also, it is heartening to see students and teenagers trying to extinguish fires or prevent destruction of small shops, while the "disciplined" demonstrators of the KKE were passing by in indifference. It seems that this time in their struggle is very serious.


Chris: Is there anything particular about Greek society, history, or relations across generations that may help explain the revolt?

Nikos: There is a Greek "particularity" that might help in this struggle. The Greek family is still a very close-knit entity. The present teenagers are two generations away from the generation that experienced the Nazi occupation of 1941-1944 and the bloody revolt of the Left against the British and the US up to 1949. Yet in most Greek families there is a "residue" of that experience which, given the strong bonds in the family, enables the Greek teenagers to understand quite accurately how the world runs. This was corroborated, now, by the maturity of their views, as articulated during the last days.


Chris: Could you outline some of the material conditions please, the ones affecting those rising up and calling for rebellion, for the youth, students, workers, migrants, etc.?

Nikos: The most important aspects of the material conditions are the joblessness, the salaries of what by now is called the "generation of the 700 Euros" [about US $ 970 per month], the University degrees that are almost useless, the flight of Greek companies to neighboring countries in search of cheap labor, the "flexible" treatment of hiring and firing, the unbelievably high prices in the Greek supermarkets much above the ones in the rest of the European Union, the scandalous treatment of the money of the taxpayers by the Government, the unbelievably bad condition of the National Health System, the exorbitant profits of the Greek banks, and finally the "strange" insistence of the Greek governing elite to follow the "neo-liberal" economic model after what has happened worldwide.


The State and Legal Situation

Chris: Tuesday (Dec. 16) Prime Minister Karamanlis said he accepted "a share of the blame" in the scandal involving a monastery which exchanged tracts of farmland in northern Greece for state-owned property in Athens. How has this affected the credibility of Karamanlis and his New Democracy party? Is this crisis of credibility extending beyond the politicians and parties who hold positions in the ruling apparatus, to a critique of the political apparatus itself?

Nikos: Karamanlis has received a savage ridicule from all quarters, except the "strange 1/3", who have invested in him a lot [material and immaterial]. However, even his people consider him as a not very capable "manager", that is they consider him as incompetent. That has been discussed confidentially even among his ministers.

Almost all scandals in Greece are swept under the carpet. The principal factor in this rampant dishonesty, beside the politicians, is the extremely corrupt and reactionary judiciary, originally "constructed" by the CIA since 1947 [as most institutions in Greece] and undergoing the necessary "maintenance", ever since. The fact that the judges "used" by the dictators are still powerful in the judiciary is indicative of the truth of this.

The "2/3" of the Greeks, as above described, know what is going on, but a part of them is trapped by the "socialists" in a client-relationship as voters, for economic reasons and the rest that are on the "real" left have an animus that has its roots in historical reasons. One way out of this impasse is for the leadership of the KKE [the "traditional" communists] to depart and the base of KKE, the ordinary members, to have the honesty to recognize past faults and join forces with the rest of the Left. The same holds also for the base of the "socialists".

Personally I think that the teenager "intifada" will play a role, as the kids have gained a right to a dialogue with the adults in their families and society in general.

The legal situation has reached the following point: The bullet that killed Alexis was examined in "Demokritos", the most important research center in Greece, and the findings show that there were traces of "silicon dioxide", which might mean the bullet hit some construction material before entering the body of Alexis. However, all eyewitnesses insist that the shots were horizontal, not in the air. That the fatal shot was horizontal has been confirmed by the in situ investigation by technical experts. The general consensus is that even if the bullet ricocheted, the use of a gun was criminal.

Kougias, the defense lawyer, continues to provoke the entire Greek population in a queer way. Many people are really angry against him. It seems that his bravado is based not on courage but on some unfathomable motives.

As for the policemen in prison, after the violent "theater" or real attack, there is nothing of importance about them.


Chris: The police officer who shot dead Grigoropoulos has been charged with murder. How has this affected popular disaffection with the police? How has it affected the broader concern with worsening social and material conditions, and the need to change society?

Nikos: The public disaffection of the majority of the Greeks with the police has been a given for almost half a century. What is new is the reaction of the teenagers.

The concern about the police during this period is minimal, in contrast to previous decades when the police could effect the ruining of lives or could bring about everyday misery for a part of the population.


Chris: The Greek police have a history of violence and brutality. Do you think the Greek state is holding back repression of the uprising for fear of instigating even more militancy and revolt, or example, imagine the consequences if there was a police raid of the Athens Polytechnic University?

Nikos: The state is not holding back repression. The impression of the first couple of days, that the police acted "defensively", is inaccurate.


Chris: How far can the uprising go? How is the Greek ruling apparatus responding? Do you think there is reason for them to be concerned about losing control? Do elites share a common strategy for how to deal with the uprising or is there differing opinions and fragmenting within their ranks?

Nikos: The uprising can go a long way. The crucial factors are the base of the KKE and the base of the "socialists" [PASOK]. There is no reason to be concerned about losing control. The Greek elites have always been dependent on the favor of the White House. The ones that have reason to be concerned are the people of the CIA station in the US Embassy in Athens. A strong, united Greek Left has historically been a nightmare for the US.

Chris: Thank you Nikos.

Nikos: Thank you.

http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/20039
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#6
Greece 17th September 2011 In front of a bank in Athens.


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"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#7
Breaking News: Occupy Athens face riot police brutality of journalists, citizens
[Image: 658c44fa7677c314fb59aa59c4a81797.687.JPG]Deborah Dupre

, Human Rights Examiner
October 10, 2011 - Like this? Subscribe to get instant updates.
Athens Greecel is under a new 24-hour mass transit walkout Monday, the latest in a series of strikes stoked by government plans to cut wages and jobs that has led to dissent of the public sector that independent reporters are documenting as military rule of demonstrations in the streets attacking journalists and other citizens. Around 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, police are again attempting to empty the square and have surrounded them and are "terrorizing the people," but the protesters are not moving according to the non-profit TV crew called STOPCARTEL that is livestreaming the events.
"We are responding to the neo-liberal policies of the government," Athens' electric rail company, ISAP, said in a statement according to the Wall Street Journal. "They are killing off our ability to work leading us back into the middle ages."
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WSJ reports that this latest strike is among protests by other public-sector workers negatively impacted by government cutbacks that "Greece has promised its international lenders in exchange for a fresh disbursement of aid."
Independent TV crew have painted a different picture Monday with video circulating the globe on the Web plus Livestream of the people's occupation of Athens.
(Watch Athens based STOPCARTEL TV reporting on Livestream on this page, left.)
"The unprecedented program, the beatings, the use of tear gases and the attacks of the riot police in the middle of the historic Syntagma square in the afternoon of 5/10 are revealed in the recorded videos of STOPCARTEL TV LIVE broadcast that are circulating all over the world..."
Brutal beatings of journalists and other citizens in an attack against STOPCARTEL crew, detentions and arrests are what the crew says "is the account of the unbelievable events."
The independent TV crew state, "Everyone should watch the exclusive videos, in order to witness the continuous, unprovoked attacks of the riot police against the citizens that had peacefully assembled in the square.
The protesters had gathered on the square outside parliament where lawmakers debated a referendum in response to the economic crisis.
"Under pressure from its international creditors, Greece's government last week submitted to parliament a plan to cut civil servants' pay and pensions and downsize the country's 700,000-strong public sector by placing 30,000 workers on a special labor reserve," reports WSJ.
"A visiting delegation of international inspectors from the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bankknown collectively as the troikaare in Athens to review those measures. After weeks of meetings, the troika is expected to conclude its audit as early as Monday, and with a statement expected Tuesday.
"At stake is an €8 billion ($10.70 billion) tranche of aid from the EU and the IMF that Greece needs in the next few weeks. Without it, the government has said it will run out of money by mid-November. That tranche is part of a €110 billion bailout Greece received early last year in exchange for measures to narrow its budget deficit
More strikes are planned including one by the two major umbrealla unions on October 19.
Despite the violence, STOPCARTEL s broadcasting LIVE the events from the centre of the square.
The articles "The eurozone: a crisis of policy, not debt," "Greece: crisis takes toll on health," and "EU acts amid fears of energy markets abuse" give
For a people's view of events unfolding in Athens, watch STOPCARTEL TV daily LIVE broadcsts from Greece.
STOPCARTEL is a registered non-profit Organization in Greece and U.K.








Continue reading on Examiner.com Breaking News: Occupy Athens face riot police brutality of journalists, citizens - National Human Rights | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-...z1aOT6VmqQ
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
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#8

Foreign riot police may now be operating in Greece.

By Golem XIV on October 14, 2011 in latest
Did you know that the EU has its own riot police that can operate in any European country but is answerable directly to none of them? No I didn't either.
They are called the European Gendarmerie Force (Eurogendfor) . They are based in Italy but funded and staffed by six signatory nations who are France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Portugal and Romania. However, according to the Treaty which established Eurogendfor they can operate in any EU country and are available to others who invite them to do so. The country which invites them in is refered to as the Host'.
The Gendarmerie are specifically set up to deal with riots and civil unrest and as the treaty spells out they are to be
…exclusively comprising elements of police forces with military status
Here is a picture of the force. How many police forces or even riot police do you know who drill with bayonet?
[Image: gendar11.jpg]
The force is 3000 strong based in Italy composed of two rapid deployment brigades. Since Greece is not a member of Eurogendfor few if any of its troops/officers(?) will speak Greek. Yet they may now be operating in Greece. I have checked with friends in Athens and they tell me it is true.
I have also contacted or tried to contact Eurogendfor directly to double check the facts. However the email contact on their web site does not work. You can fill out the form but for the last 4 and a half hours when I press send I get this reply,
"Server is unable to send your request.Please try later".
Should you phone the HQ directly, you will find an automated system. There is a Press Office option but it cycles you back to the main Welcome" menu as does EVERY single other option as well. This has been how it is all day.
Thus is isn't how it is over lunch this is just how it has been set up. In other words there is the facade of contact but the operational reality is "Piss Off you commoner!"
What does it say if it turns out ot be true that the Greek government has invited' a quasi military riot police made of personel from other nations to operate in Greece against its own citizens. Greek police not enough? Greek military not willing to crack heads? Got to get some foreigners to do it for you?
What exactly is the difference between Eurogendfor and any other mercenary force? The Greek government could invite' any private army in. No matter how you view the status of Eurogendfor, the reality is the Greek people did not vote in favour of joining it and certainly were not asked if they wanted foreign quasi military forces to be able to operate in Greece. If this story turns out to be true then it iouwld mean that the greek government that like all governments through history that have lost all legitimacy with its own people, eventually seek military support from outside forces with which to supress its own people. Once you view it like that the word tyranny eventually enters in. And that word has extremely serious consequences.
Let's take a step back from this. The cuts in Greece are tied up intimately with bailing out French and German banks as well as the Greek owners of Greek banks. The Greek people have been demonstrating against the bail out for months. The Greek government has ignored its people and chosen to do the bidding of the EU elite, the IMF, the ECB and most of all the banks globally.
Now it is alleged that a non-Greek militarized riot force may have arrived to enforce austerity. Whose bidding would they really be doing? Whose interests would they be serving? Could it be the banks? Have the financial class now got their own riot police who they can ship to wherever the locals try to defy them and where the local police cannot be trusted' to serve the supra-national interests of the banks?
Of course this is not how Eurogendfor is set up. I know that. But is this how it actually works nevertheless?
I will continue to try to talk to anyone at all at Eurogendfor and let you know if they ever condescend to even accept an email or answer the phone. Don't hold your breath. Who am I after all? Just a citizen and what does that count for these days?
Citizen? In the new order you're either a bond holder or you're a nobody.
http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2011/10/foreig...-in-greece
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#9
The European Gendarmerie Force: Storm Troopers of Global Economic Shock Therapy.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
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#10

Greece in flames over cuts (while fat-cats secretly shift €228billion into Swiss banks accounts)

  • Wealthy are moving euros through foreign subsidiaries in Cyprus
  • 50,000 people descend on Athens as 48-hour general strike begins
  • Hundreds of flights and ferries cancelled as workers walk out
  • Greek parliament will vote on fresh austerity measures tomorrow
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

Last updated at 8:35 AM on 20th October 2011
Fat-cat Greeks have secretly shifted more than €228billion euros out of their country's crisis-hit banks and into accounts in Switzerland, according to a report.
The big money is fleeing the country as rich Greeks fear the possible re-introduction of their old currency, the drachma, would instantly halve the value of their euros if they are left in Greek banks.
Most of the money is being transferred via Cyprus by Greek industrialists using their foreign subsidiaries to channel it out of the debt-ridden country, where tens of thousands of workers launched a general strike yesterday.

[Image: article-2050895-0E714A9F00000578-610_634x461.jpg]Attack: A protester hurls a petrol bomb over barricades next to the Greek parliament in Athens


[Image: article-2050895-0E71294D00000578-594_634x384.jpg]Clashes: A protester throws a petrol bomb at police during a rally on the first day of a 48-hour general strike in Athens, Greece


[Image: article-2050895-0E712A5C00000578-186_634x424.jpg]Backlash: A riot police officer is covered in black paint during clashes in front of the Greek parliament building


[Image: article-2050895-0E71278100000578-638_634x427.jpg]Mob: A crowd of protesters hurl rocks at police officers as tens of thousands of people descended on Athens

Markus Korll, from the German financial services group Roland Berger, told Bild: 'During the past few months alone more than 10billion euros has been moved abroad.'
Greek newspapers have also reported that people flying abroad - including nuns, priests and the unemployed - are being stopped at Athens airport with suitcases full of euros.

More...

Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament, called for the Swiss to impose a 25 per cent tax on the money.
He said: 'In this way we can at least limit this massive flight of capital.
'People secretly moving millions out of the country can't be poor. They must pay their share.
'I can understand why the "little people" are taking to the streets to rebel against this injustice.'


[Image: article-2050895-0E712A3C00000578-593_634x408.jpg]Violence: The last 48-hour general strike in June also saw scores of arrests in the Greek capital


[Image: article-2050895-0E71233A00000578-722_634x389.jpg]On guard: Lines of police officers block the entrance to the parliament building in Syntagma Square


[Image: article-2050895-0E7129B600000578-448_634x427.jpg]Tear gas: A protester runs for cover after cannisters were fired by the police. The Greek prime minister has called on people not to hamper the recovery by going on strike

Bild says that Greek banking bosses have already warned the government about the growing panic at bank cash desks and the ever-increasing flood of capital abroad.
Government advisers are also warning of the dangers of a Northern-Rock style storm outside the banks and the need for capital controls, including disconnecting ATM machines, the paper reports.
The two-day general strike grounded flights, disrupted public transport and shut down everything from shops to schools today - as at least 50,000 protesters converged in central Athens.
Violent clashes broke out between riot police and protesters near the Greek parliament building, with petrol bombs and rocks being thrown at officers.


[Image: article-2050895-0E707BBF00000578-223_634x382.jpg]Resentment: An estimated 50,000 protesters have converged on the centre of Athens to rally against austerity measures due to be passed tomorrow


[Image: article-2050895-0E70820100000578-996_634x434.jpg]Fury: A report has revealed that wealthy Greeks have secretly shifted more than £200billion in euros to banks in Switzerland over concerns the country could leave the single currency


[Image: article-2050895-0E70C74700000578-190_634x452.jpg]No nonsense: Riot police stand shoulder to shoulder as they try to prevent the march of protesters

All sectors, from dentists, state hospital doctors and lawyers to shop owners, tax office workers and dock workers walked off the job ahead of a parliament vote tomorrow on new austerity measures.
Flights were due to resume at noon after air traffic controllers scaled back their initial strike plan from 48 hours to 12.

Ferries remained tied up in port, while public transport workers staged stoppages, although buses, trolleys and the Athens metro were expected to remain in operation.

[Image: article-2050895-0E706A4800000578-745_634x348.jpg]Stand: A protester wears a mask and prison uniform outside the Greek parliament building in Syntagma Square


[Image: article-2050895-0E6EC91C00000578-56_634x423.jpg]Deserted: A passenger looks for information in Athens International Airport after a 48-hour general strike grounded hundreds of flights


[Image: article-2050895-0E700CFF00000578-339_634x387.jpg]Stink: Rubbish lies piled up on a side street in the Greek capital. Refuse workers have been on strike for 17 days



Several thousand police deployed in the capital, blocking a road by parliament and shutting down two nearby metro stations.

Nikos Anastasopoulos, heard of a workers' union for an Athens municipality, said: 'We just can't take it any more. There is desperation, anger and bitterness.'

Demonstrations during a similar 48-hour strike in June left the centre of Athens badly damaged as rioters clashed with police.

Piles of rubbish continue to rot on street corners despite a civil mobilisation order issued yesterday to order crews back to work after a 17-day strike.
Civil servants have also staged sit-ins in government buildings, including the Finance Ministry.

The new austerity measures have been so unpopular that MPs from the governing Socialist have indicated they might vote against some of them.

But Greece must pass the bills if it is to continue receiving funds from its 110billion euro bailout.

Unless it receives the now long-overdue final installment of the bailout, it has said it will run out of funds to pay salaries and pensions by mid-November.


[Image: article-2050895-0E6FE8BB00000578-308_634x423.jpg]Blockade: Ferries, like these in Piraeus, have remained in ports as thousands of workers walked off their jobs today


[Image: article-2050895-0E6FE2F900000578-749_634x422.jpg]Unrest: Many of the shops in the centre of Athens have closed their doors during the 48-hour general strike, which last time descended into clashes between protesters and riot police



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...z1bKctBh1n
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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