May 6, 2010
>After the tragic death of the three workers made the round of Athens, new clashes started to spread in the Greek capital, with a large crowd gathered outside the burned bank when Marfin’s boss tried to visit the site. Clashes broke out between the crowd and police when the former attacked the bank magnate accusing him of forcing the dead workers to scab on a general strike and locking them in the building despite them demanding to evacuate it since 12:00.
In Parliament the Communist Party of Greece has accused the government for the deaths, claiming it was a result of agents provocateur fascist groups. The claims of the Communist Party are based on the fact that 50 fascists tried to enter the PAME demo bearing the flags of the union earlier in the morning. The fascists were spotted, chased and sought refuge behind riot police lines. Accusing the extreme-right as being behind the deaths, the Coalition of Radical Left has declared in Parliament that the government cannot pretend to be in grief for the loss of life, as it has been attacking human life by all means possible.
Meanwhile, extended clashes broke out in Salonika where approximately 50,000 people marched destroying dozens of banks and corporate shops in Greece’s second largest city. Clashes with the police continued for several hours. According to news broadcasts anarchist have occupied the Labour Center of the city.
In Patras, around 20,000 protesters were joined by tractor drivers and garbage truck drivers on their vehicles, as flaming barricades were erected along central streets of the city and clashes developed between protestors and the police.
In Ioannina the protesters attacked banks and corporate shops leading to extended use of chemicals by the police. In Heraklion, 10,000 people are reported as marching against the measures. In Corfu, protesters taking part in the anti-measures march occupied the County Headquarters. Protesters have occupied the Administrative Headquarters of Naxos and the City Hall of Naoussa.
As a result of the Athens riots, the police have cordoned off the entire center of the city, erecting check points of entry and exit, while all police work permits have been recalled. At the time of writing battles continue to rage in the inner city, while news broadcasts claim the police is mobilising its forces to storm an anarchist squat in Exarcheia.
>| Statement by the Skaramanga squat in Athens regarding today’s events: The murderers “mourn” their victims
The statement below was issued a few hours ago by the anarchist squat of Skaramanga and Patision in Athens.
The murderers “mourn” their victims
(Regarding today’s tragic death of 3 people)
The enormous strike demonstration which took place today, 5th of May turned into a social outflow of rage. At least 200,000 people of all ages took to the streets (employees and unemployed, in the public and private sector, locals and migrants) attempting, over many hours and in consecutive waves, to surround and to take over the Parliament. The forces of repression came out in full force, to play their familiar role – that is, of the protection of the political and financial authorities. The clashes were hours long and extensive. The political system and its institutions reached a nadir.
However, in the midst of all this, a tragic event that no words can possibly describe took place: 3 people died from infusions at the branch of Marfin Bank on Stadiou Avenue, which was set ablaze.
The state and the entire journalistic riff-raff, without any shame toward the dead or their close ones, spoke from the very first moment about some “murderer-hooded up youths”, trying to take advantage of the event, in order to calm the wave of social rage that had erupted and to recover their authority that had been torn apart; to impose once again a police occupation of the streets, to wipe out sources of social resistance and disobedience against state terrorism and capitalist barbarity. For this reason, during the last few hours the police forces have been marching through the center of Athens, they have conducted hundreds of detentions and they raided – with shootings and stun-grenades – the anarchist occupation “space of united multiform action” on Zaimi street and the “migrant haunt” on Tsamadou Street, causing extensive damage (both these places are in the Exarcheia neighbourhood of Athens). At the same time the threat of a violent police eviction is hanging over the rest of the self-organised spaces (occupations and haunts) after the Prime-ministerial speech which referred to soon-to-come raids for the arrest of the “murderers”.
The governors, governmental officials, their political personnel, the TV-mouthpieces and the salaried hack writers attempt in this way to purify their regime and the criminalise the anarchists and every unpatronised voice of struggle. As if there would ever be the slightest of chances that whoever attacked the bank (provided the official scenario stands) would possibly know there were people inside, and that they would torch it alight regardless. They seem to confuse the people in struggle for themselves: them who without any hesitation hand over the entire society to the deepest pillage and enslaving, who order their praetorians to attack without hesitation and to aim and shoot to kill, them who have lead three people to suicide in the past week alone, due to financial debts.
The truth is that the real murderer, the real instigator of today’s tragic death of 3 people is “mister” Vgenopoulos, who used the usual employers’ blackmailing (the threat of sacking) and forced his employees to work in the branches of his bank during a day of strike – and even in a branch like the one of Stadiou Avenue, where the strike’s demonstration would pass through. Such blackmailing is known only too well by anyone experiencing the terrorism of salaried slavery on an everyday level. We are awaiting to see what excuses Vgenopoulos will come up with for the relatives of the victims and for the society as a whole – this ultra-capitalist now hinted by some centers of power as the next prime minister in a future “national unity government” that could follow the expected, complete collapse of the political system.
If an unprecedented strike can ever be a murderer…
If an unprecedented demonstration, in an unprecedented crisis, can ever be a murderer…
If open social spaces that are alive and public can ever be murderers…
If the state can impose a curfew and attack demonstrators under the pretext of arresting murderers…
If Vgenopoulos can detain his employees inside a bank – that is, a primary social enemy and target for demonstrators…
…it is because authority, this serial murderer, wants to slaughter upon its birth a revolt which questions the supposed solution of an even harsher attack on society, of an even larger pillage by capital, of an even thirstier sucking of our blood.
…it is because the future of the revolt does not include politicians and bosses, police and mass media.
… it is because behind their much-advertised “only” solution, there is a solution that does not speak of development rates and unemployment but rather, it speaks of solidarity, self-organising and human relationships.
When asking who are the murderers of life, of freedom, of dignity, the ferments of authority and capital, they and their tuft hunters only need to take a look at their own selves. Today and every day.
HANDS OFF FREE SOCIAL SPACES
IT IS THE STATE AND THE CAPITALISTS WHO ARE THE MURDERERS, TERRORISTS AND CRIMINALS
EVERYONE TO THE STREETS
from the open assembly of the evening of 5/5/2010
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]
>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.
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.
>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.
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.
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.
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.
Tons of windows smashed and Cafe Pergolesi, which supplied information to the government concerning those being charged with the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (see: Support the AETA4,) had their porch set on fire. Only one arrest. Well done, Santa Cruz!
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.”