- STATE VIOLENCE IN GREECE
Many of you may be familiar with the recent developments in Greece: amidst the worst crisis in its recent history, the country is shaken not only by a series of austerity packages presented by the government, but also by the people's reaction against these packages. As many of you may also know, for almost forty days now citizens have been gathering across from the parliament in the central square of the city of Athens (Syntagma Square) to peacefully protest against the government's handling of the crisis and the democratic deficits of the state. The public assembly that takes place every night in the square is indicative of the kind of protest going on.
Although this protest is peaceful and rapidly gains the sympathy of the general public, during the last month the police forces have violently attempted to empty the square three times. The third, on 28 and 29, during the first 48-hour strike after the fall of the dictatorship (1974), riot police and other special units used vast amounts of tear gas (20 times more than the average usage in Greece in similar situations), flash-grenades and excessive violence against the protesters. On the 29th in particular the police spread the violence all over the city-centre in what looked like a direct assault of the state against its people. The minister for the 'Citizen's Protection' (the political leader of the police) supported the police tactics on the grounds that the peaceful protests were a 'cover' for urban guerillas, which apparently aimed at storming the parliament. Of course he did not give any valid explanation for the fact that the police did not touch the 'masked youth' that in certain cases engaged in battles with the police, but instead attacked the medical unit on Syntagma Square, the metro station, and even cafes in the wider area of the city-centre (the same minister is responsible for issuing an order that prohibits any ship to sail from Greek port towards Gaza, thus not allowing the Freedom Flotilla II to reach its target). Considering the fact that the protests on the square have been peaceful for the last five weeks, the excessive violence employed by the police cannot be seen as anything else than a well-planned state operation to terrorise the citizens who are reclaiming public spaces and the public sphere from a corrupt political and economic system.
This kind of violence is unacceptable. Also unacceptable is the fact that none of the EU governments has publicly condemned the violent practices of one of its member states. Their silence is a sign of complicity.
The following links are only a few of the documented examples of excessive and abusive police violence. Please forward them further: mainstream media do not show these images, so we have to circulate them ourselves.
Riot police brutality on the square against unarmed citizens (warning: this video contains images of extreme violence):
Mounted police raid Monastiraki:
Police attack the metro station in Syntagma Square:
Unprovoked attack by riot police near Evangelismos metro station (across from Athens Hilton):
Since virtually all news of the tumultuous and historic events taking place in Greece (and Spain) has been blacked out by the mainstream media, I am copying below a text written by a Greek acquaintance.