May 5, 2010
by actforfreedomnow
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>An employee of the burnt bank speaks out on tonight’s tragic deaths in Athens – please spread

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Tonight’s tragic deaths in Athens leave little space for comments – we are all very shocked and deeply saddened by the events. To those (on the “Occupied London” blog even) who speculate that the deaths might have been caused purposefully by anarchists, we can only reply the following: we do not take to the streets, we do not risk our freedom and our lives confronting the greek police in order to kill other people. Anarchists are not murderers, and no brainwashing attempted by Greek PM Papandreou, the national or the international media should convince anyone otherwise.

That being said, and with developments still running frantically, we want to publish a rough translation of a statement by an employee of Marfin Bank – the bank whose branch was set alight in Athens today, where the three employees found a tragic death.

Read the letter, translate it, spread it around to your networks; grassroots counter-information has a crucial role to play at a moment when the greek state and corporate media are leashing out on the anarchist movement over here in Greece.

I feel an obligation toward my co-workers who have so unjustly died today to speak out and to say some objective truths. I am sending this message to all media outlets. Anyone who still bares some consciousness should publish it. The rest can continue to play the government’s game.

The fire brigade had never issued an operating license to the building in question. The agreement for it to operate was under the table, as it practically happens with all businesses and companies in Greece.

The building in question has no fire safety mechanisms in place, neither planned nor installed ones – that is, it has no ceiling sprinklers, fire exits or fire hoses. There are only some portable fire extinguishers which, of course, cannot help in dealing with extensive fire in a building that is built with long-outdated security standards.

No branch of Marfin bank has had any member of staff trained in dealing with fire, not even in the use of the few fire extinguishers. The management also uses the high costs of such training as a pretext and will not take even the most basic measures to protect its staff.

There has never been a single evacuation exercise in any building by staff members, nor have there been any training sessions by the fire-brigade, to give instructions for situations like this. The only training sessions that have taken place at Marfin Bank concern terrorist action scenarios and specifically planning the escape of the banks’ “big heads” from their offices in such a situation.

The building in question had no special accommodation for the case of fire, even though its construction is very sensitive under such circumstances and even though it was filled with materials from floor to ceiling. Materials which are very inflammable, such as paper, plastics, wires, furniture. The building is objectively unsuitable for use as a bank due to its construction.

No member of security has any knowledge of first aid or fire extinguishing, even though they are every time practically charged with securing the building. The bank employees have to turn into firemen or security staff according to the appetite of Mr Vgenopoulos [owner of Marfin Bank].

The management of the bank strictly bared the employees from leaving today, even though they had persistently asked so themselves from very early this morning – while they also forced the employees to lock up the doors and repeatedly confirmed that the building remained locked up throughout the day, over the phone. They even blocked off their internet access so as to prevent the employees from communicating with the outside world.

For many days now there has been some complete terrorisation of the bank’s employees in regard to the mobilisations of these days, with the verbal “offer”: you either work, or you get fired.

The two undercover police who are dispatched at the branch in question for robbery prevention did not show up today, even though the bank’s management had verbally promised to the employees that they would be there.

At last, gentlemen, make your self-criticism and stop wandering around pretending to be shocked. You are responsible for what happened today and in any rightful state (like the ones you like to use from time to time as leading examples on your TV shows) you would have already been arrested for the above actions. My co-workers lost their lives today by malice: the malice of Marfin Bank and Mr. Vgenopoulos personally who explicitly stated that whoever didin’t come to work today [May 5th, a day of a general strike!] should not bother showing up for work tomorrow [as they would get fired].

– An employee of Marfin Bank [greek original]

May 5, 2010
by actforfreedomnow
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>DIRECT NEWS FROM A COMRADE IN ATHENS TODAY 5/5

>1) Police attack social spaces:

More than 60 abducted to GADA police headquarters and at least 6 confirmed arrests up to now. Motorbike police gangs of Delta, Zeta and plain clothes cops holding a siege at the offices of the “anarchists for a polymorphic movement” and of the “cooks and waitreses’ base union” at Exarchia. They invaded the “polymorphic” space, beating their way in, injuring heavily one girl and arresting many others. Also many cops are moving to Patision and Skaramanga str. squat. Some arrests and many beatings near the self managed park of Navarinou and on Tsamadou street, at Exarchia. There is also information they invaded “Diktyo” social rights network space at Tsamadou. Some people are still inside Polytechnic uni maintaining minor clashes with the cops. There are talk about a new march during the night, and many workers claimed another strike for tomorrow.

Police checkpoints around the whole city center. The cops are playing nervous, threatening to use their guns.

2) Indeed, the three employees of Marfin bank are announced dead by the fire brigade service. Their boss (mr Vgenopoulos, owner of Olympic air and MIG business corporation) made them work on a strike day, locked in the upper floors of a seemingly empty bank building with no exit doors available nor fire extinguishers! The fire brigade issued a complaint to the police, for not letting them approach the building in time, but after some time the media say they changed their evaluation to the police cooperation as “good” and said it was the rioters that didn’t let them approach instead.

Some more info: A Bazaar supermarket was expropriated during the riots and stuff were distributed to the people. One minister was dressed up as protestor with helmet to enter the parliament during the demonstrations! A mercedes was set on fire near the polytechnic university and many other luxurious cars during the riots near Syntagma square. Also a jewelery and few banks, and the offices were the state keeps the taxes record! If the back up are harmed or not found, many people’s owing to the state will be virtually evaporated! The president of GSEE was once again kicked out of the marches…

Now the despicable media say “when some people asked the rioters why are they burning a building with employees inside the rioters replied they deserve to burn because they re working for the bank” which is ofcourse yet another hideous lie. We weren’t actually near the Marfin bank fire, but we were in front of another bank being burnt on Stadiou street a few minutes earlier, and again an employee let us know there are people inside, and right after that the people starting the fire helped put it out…

This kind of manipulation is typical for our pathetic and incompetent bourgeois scum.

more info maybe later.

Dim.

May 5, 2010
by actforfreedomnow
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>up day from comrades in athens 5/5

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Tens of thousands demonstrators on the streets, more than 2000 with the anarchist blocks, not well organized though. Massive clashes around Syntagma and throughout central Athens. Few cops had their shields taken, and some cops in plain clothes were beaten. Some slogans were also spray painted in solidarity to the Buenos Aires comrades.

Delta and Zeta motorbike cops attacked people leaving the march at Syggrou-Fix metro station with batton charges, light-bang grenades and massive tear gas use leading to one elder person with resporatory problems, sitting at a nearby cafe, heavily injured.

The police used tear gas canisters even inside metro stations (Syntagma).

Also full police cordon around Exarchia. Dozens taken to GADA police headquarters. Many people are still out on the streets.

May 5, 2010
by actforfreedomnow
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>Fire brigade statement: three dead in Athens protest

According to a statement issued by the fire brigade in Athens, three bank employees suffocated and died in a private bank torched alight on Stadiou Street in Athens.

The ambulance service (EKAV) is so far (16.41 GMT+2) not confirming the news.

More info as it comes.

May 5, 2010
by actforfreedomnow
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>Protests in Greek general strike turn violent

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Trouble erupted as a group of protesters tried to storm the Greek parliament

Protests in Athens have turned violent amid a general strike over planned austerity measures that has brought the country to a standstill.

Petrol bombs have been thrown at police who responded with pepper spray, tear gas and stun grenades.

A building in the city has also been set on fire and people are being evacuated, reports say.

Protesters are angered by spending cuts and tax rises planned in return for a 110bn euro (£95bn) bail-out for Greece.

Parliament is to vote on the measures by the end of the week.

Measures include wage freezes, pension cuts and tax rises. They aim to achieve fresh budget cuts of 30bn euros over three years, with the goal of cutting Greece’s public deficit to less than 3% of GDP by 2014. It currently stands at 13.6%.

A mass rally attended by thousands of people took place in central Athens before some protests began to turn violent

Outside parliament, a group of protesters rushed up a flight of steps, taunting MPs to come out and calling them “thieves”.

Riot police forced them back with pepper spray, tear gas and stun grenades.

May 5, 2010
by actforfreedomnow
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>COMRADE IN GREECE BADLY WOUNDED FROM POLICE BULLETS AND NEEDS BLOOD

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Two people were arrested yesterday in Athens. One of them, anarchist Simeon Seisidis, accused of being the “mastermind” behind the “robbers in black” (G.Dimitrakis case) and who has been on the wanted list since 2006, was arrested accidently last night as police were looking for robbers that had just robbed a supermarket in Athens.

The comrade of G.Dimitrakis is also accused of being part of the “Revolutionary Struggle” group.

Simeon is in hospital now, because of his serious leg injury.

He was with another person near the area of the robbery and as soon as they realized there were cop cars in the area, they tried to run away. After a shoot out, Simeon was badly injured in the leg.

According to the doctors, a bullet went through his hip, ripping arteries. He has lost a lot of blood and is now in a critical condition.

The police say that he first gave the name Giorgos Nikolopoulos (who has a warrant out for his arrest for the “conspiracy cells of fire” case), but after fingerprinting him they found out he was Simeon.

The other person arrested shortly after is Aris Seirinidis, also a known anarchist who has been persecuted before for the “robbers in black” case.

The police say the two men were not involved in the supermarket robbery.

They say they found weapons, a grenade and some ammo on them. The guns are being analysed but so far they say they haven’t been used in “terrorist” actions.

May 4, 2010
by actforfreedomnow
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>EVERYBODY TO THE STREETS IN GREECE! INSURRECTION NOW!!

Actions this week against the cuts greece

  • Monday 3/5 6.30 pm – blocking off of the ministry of Finance by Sintagma square with banners and sound-systems. Also, commencing of the hygiene workers’ strike; they are gathering at noon at Karaiskaki square in Athens; their strike is likely to turn into an indefinite one.
  • Tuesday 4/5 the 48-hour general strike called by the union umbrella ADEDY commences. Teachers are also on strike and grassroots trade unions call for demonstrations across the country. Blocking off of the parliament building in the evening
  • Wednesday 5/5 general strike called by GSEE and ADEDY
  • Saturday 8/5 demonstrations by the grassroots trade unions across the country
  • A fresh general strike will be called for early next week

    Occupations…

    Today the 48 hours strike started. Tonight, Agios Dimitrios’ and Vyrona’s town halls were occupied in the two Athens’ suburbs, by the unions of the municipal employees, while preparations for the tomorrow demonstration take place.

    Teachers clash with police in Greek State TV Headquarters

    Clashes erupted between teachers and riot police inside the Headquarters of the Greek State TV after the former entered the building trying to interrupt the speech of the Minister of Education

    On Monday 4 May evening teachers invaded the Greek State TV (ERT) Headquarters in order to interrupt the interview of the Minister of Education Mrs Diamadopoulou concerning the new educational reform which is expected to lead to a radical devaluation of the greek educational system. Ms Diamandopoulou was rescued by a back door of the building, while ERT interrupted its main news broadcast refusing to let the teachers present their demands live. At the same time, strong police forces surrounded the building which they entered attacking the teachers. During the clashes within the building many people were reported as wounded. Soon hundreds of protesters gathered in solidarity outside the ERT Mansion forcing the riot police to allow the exit of the teachers. After their exit representatives of the teachers have gone public calling the PASOK government a “quisling government” comparing it to the Tsolakoglou Nazi-collaborator government of the 1940s. The teachers and solidarity protesters formed a demo and marched down Mesogeion Avenue.

    The teachers have declared a 48h strike for the 4th and 5th of May in opposition to the educational reform which is believed will lead to a sharp devaluation of the educational system.

May 4, 2010
by actforfreedomnow
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Riot breaks out in downtown Santa Cruz; windows broken on dozens of businesses, porch of cafe set on fire

May 2nd, 2010

SANTA CRUZ – A group of protesters demonstrating at a May Day rally for worker’s and immigrant rights downtown broke off into a riot vandalizing about a dozen businesses around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.

Windows were left shattered and graffiti including anarchy signs were tagged onto buildings. The Rittenhouse Building, Urban Outfitters, Jamba Juice and Velvet Underground all had windows broken, according to Capt. Steve Clark.

Santa Cruz police asked for help from all agencies in the county to break up the riot. At one point, protesters lit a fire on the porch of Caffe Pergolesi and blocked access to firefighters, officers said. Police were able to clear out the demonstrators before more damage was caused.

A large rock sat outside Verizon Wireless on the 100 block of Cooper Street, where vandals tried to break the window twice, according to Clark.

“The damage that was caused was without purpose,” Clark said. “It was senseless violence that victimized a community who cannot afford to be victimized in this manner. This did nothing to add credit to whatever they believed their cause was.”

One person was arrested for damaging a window. Police are searching for others responsible for the damage. Protesters cleared the downtown area around midnight.

“Our entire team of investigators are processing the scene of violence for evidence,” Clark said. “We will be looking at video available to try to ID who’s responsible.”

May 4, 2010
by actforfreedomnow
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>Vandals destroy downtown Asheville storefronts, car windows

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May 4, 2010

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ASHEVILLE — Most of those arrested for a rash of vandalism Saturday night in downtown Asheville listed addresses in Eastern North Carolina and out of state, according to arrest warrants.

Only two listed an Asheville address. At least five of the suspects appear to be students at colleges including UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Asheville, Alamance Community College and Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt. The suspects ages ranged from 17-26.

All but one of the 11 suspects arrested were each charged with seven counts of misdemeanor injury to personal property and three counts of injury to real property. Each was being held under $10,000 bond. One man was charged with 11 counts and had an $11,000 bond. All are scheduled to appear in court on the charges Monday morning.

Those charged include:
– Randall Duncan Stezer, 17, of Graham, N.C.
– Wyatt Sherman Allgeier, 19, of Mount Pleasant, N.C.
– Karen Leigh Alderser, 19, of Carrboro.
-Alissa Marie Batzold, 18, of Carrboro.
-Havely Carolyn Carsky, 23, of Meadow Lake Road, Asheville.
-Nicholas Ryan Entwistle, 19, of Kansas City, Mo.
-Naomi Rachel Ullian, 26, of West Chestnut St., Asheville.
-Marshall Rogers Tingler, 24, of Oklahoma City, Okla.
– Daniel Heinz Regenfcheit, 26, of Carrboro.
-Cailin Elizabth Major, 25, of Milwaukee, Wis.
-Jordan M. Ferrand-Sapsis, 24, of Oklahoma City, Okla.

About 10:45 p.m. Saturday, a group of between 20-30 people wearing dark clothing, some wearing masks and carrying backpacks, threw items, including newspaper boxes, through windows of several businesses along O’Henry Avenue. A front window of the Asheville Citizen-Times was shattered, as were multiple storefronts at the Grove Arcade. An ATM was smashed at the RBC on O’Henry.

Multiple cars parked on Battery Park had their windows smashed.

The violence is likely linked to the observance of May Day, a day for marking worker solidarity that has been seized upon for anti-capitalism displays of violence, especially by self-proclaimed anarchist groups in Europe.
Several in the group yelled unintelligably as they vandalized. The group walked south on O’Henry Avenue and turned left on Battery Park Avenue. Some walked through the alley beside the Citizen-Times, where several employees of the paper had rushed to ensure the safety of their cars.

Carmel’s chef Mary Scherger said she was having a shift drink at the Page Avenue restaurant when she saw the group smash out a window on a BMW parked along Battery Park Avenue.

“That’s when I yelled for my manager to come out,” she said.

Scherger said she saw some of them run toward Haywood Street and a few run up the stairwell from Wall Street parking garage ditching their garb as police moved in.
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Scherger said she recalled a similar act of group vandalism last year, but the group did far less damage.

Diana Kostigen, of Hendersonville, was visiting downtown with a friend from Charlotte, whose car was damaged.

“I just feel really disappointed because it’s always felt like a really safe town,” she said

“With people coming from out of town, it might be their first experience in Asheville and they have this happen. It’s really heartbreaking to see that they might have damage to their car to such great extent.”

“I’ve never seen any kind of violence like this in Asheville at all. I’m very shocked, very disappointed, and feeling like I wouldn’t even want to come downtown after 9 o’clock.”

When asked if she might feel unsafe in downtown now, Kostigen said yes.

Christina Williams said she was with friends at Carmel’s when the cacophony of smashing glass, yelling and tumult erupted.

She watched as a bewildered man talked to a Police Department officer beside his seriously damaged car.

“Violence and cowardice,” Williams said, noting that several of the vandals removed their masks and black outer clothing and tossed it away after committing their crimes.

May 4, 2010
by actforfreedomnow
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>86 Arrested After May Day Demonstrations in Chile

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May 2nd, 2010


SANTIAGO – At least 86 people were arrested in Chile on Saturday following demonstrations called by the CUT labor federation on International Workers’ Day, police said.

According to police Col. Miguel Angel Castro, his men had to use tear gas and a cistern truck to disperse a group of people bent on creating disturbances.

“During the event there were no great complications, but when it was over, a large group of people began to cover their faces to cause disorder, so we intervened and arrested 86 people,” he said.

Castro also said that before the ceremony began, seven people were arrested for carrying knives, another three for having Molotov cocktails and nine for drugs.

Though the event organizers had estimated a turnout of some 40,000 people, only about 8,000 attended the ceremony, according to police estimates.

International Workers’ Day was celebrated in a number of cities around Chile, though attendance was not massive and no incidents were reported.

Big May Day demonstrations were held across Latin America on Saturday.