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Greece: Police interrogation of students prompts protests

Students protest police interference in schools - Greece

(Image: Nikolas Georgiou/Demotix)

Between 200 – 250 students last week staged a demonstration outside the offices of the Piraeus’ Public Prosecutor against police interference in school protests, following high school students being taken in for police questioning.

Joined by the Secondary Teacher Union of Piraeus and the Parent Association of Keratsini the students shouted slogans like “we won’t be terrorised” and “money for education”. The protest came after students were interrogated by police over an occupation of Keratsini’s 2nd High School in October, in protest at the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas by a member of the far right Golden Dawn.

Students were asked about their own and their teachers’ political preferences, especially those who had been striking against public job cuts and forced transfers. There were also media reports that students were questioned about their parents’ voting preferences. A high school student who participated in the protest said they were asked “to give as many names as possible”, adding that they were threatened with having a criminal record if they refused.

Greek police has said it was obliged to conduct an investigation into the matter. It did so on the basis of a legislative act from 2000 punishing by imprisonment attempted occupations or disruption of the “smooth functioning” of a school. The act remained inactive until 2011 when school protests against government plans on privatisation of education, prompted a Supreme Court order for investigations in schools.

Maria Delli, board member of the Parent Federation in Attica District told Index on Censorship: “It is not an unprecedented incident, we have been experiencing police interference and student profiling in recent years. The government is trying to criminalise the common struggles of students and teachers for education. Students complain about the obvious: Not having teachers, not having heating infrastructures and having to pay for their books during the economic crisis.” She added that there was no damage to the school.

Nikos Peritoyannis, president of Parent Association of Keratsini commented to Index on Censorship: “It is a positive outcome. It can be definitely seen as a result of the pressure from the protest actions undertaken by students, teachers and other social groups. However, it does not mean that similar cases will cease to exist. As the struggle against the privatization of education goes on, the government will have to intensify monitoring and suppressing policies.”

On Monday 20 February, Piraeus’ Public Prosecutor finally decided to temporarily withdraw the case as there was no criminal offence for which to prosecute the students. Apart from the incident in Keratsini, Athens’ Attica General Police Directorate (GADA) has also issued a document informing police stations to conduct meetings with school directors in order to disclose “any immediate problems schools are facing”. On 13 February, a similar document reached the director of a kindergarden in New Psychiko, Athens. There was public outcry from teachers’ associations in the media.

This article was posted on 24 February 2014 at indexoncensorship.org

Αμβούργο: Καταλήψεις και απαγορευμένες ζώνες

Τα πρόσφατα επεισόδια στο Αμβούργο, με τις διαμαρτυρίες και τις συγκρούσεις για τα σχέδια εκκένωσης της κατάληψης Rote Flora, είναι διδακτικά από πολλές πλευρές.

roteflora1Αρχικά, μπορεί κανείς ν’ αντιληφθεί την στρατηγική σημασία που αποδίδει το κράτος στην επιβολή της ισχύος του και στην κήρυξη του δημόσιου χώρου ως χώρο «επικίνδυνης ζώνης». Η στρατιωτικοποίηση της κοινωνικής ζωής, ως το μέτρο των σύγχρονων πολιτευμάτων, είναι εμφανής και στην περίπτωση της Rote Flora.

Ο πειραματισμός των γερμανικών αρχών πάνω σ’ ένα πληθυσμό, με διαφορετικές πολιτικές επιρροές (από μια «φιλελεύθερη», ρεφορμιστική αριστερά ως τους πιο ριζοσπαστικούς, αυτόνομους και αναρχικούς) και με πολιτικές δράσεις που φαίνεται να ενοχλούν τις ελίτ και τους μπιζναδόρους της πόλης, δεν είναι μόνο μια εικόνα αλλά ένα βίωμα, μια πολιτική κατάσταση.

Επιπλέον, η συμμαχία συλλογικοτήτων με διαφορετικές πολιτικές αναφορές  απέναντι στο κρατικό «έτσι θέλω» είναι ένα αναμφισβήτητο γεγονός, το οποίο αν και δεν είναι του παρόντος, χωράει πολλή (και όχι απαραίτητα με γκρίνιες) συζήτηση.

Στη Γερμανία η κατάληψη της Rote Flora είναι (απ’ όσο γνωρίζουμε) η τελευταία «παράνομη» κατάληψη. Εκείνη η παράδοση των καταλήψεων, στις δεκαετίες του ’80 και του ’90, δεν είναι  σήμερα η ίδια. Οι περισσότερες καταλήψεις μπήκαν στη διαδικασία να συνομιλήσουν με τις κρατικές αρχές ή με τους ιδιοκτήτες των κτιρίων και συμφώνησαν, είτε να αγοράσουν τον χώρο είτε να δώσουν κάποιο χαμηλό νοίκι.

Η πίεση που ασκήθηκε κάθε φορά εξαρτιόταν από τις προθέσεις των καταληψιών όσο και από την ανοχή (δηλαδή  τις προθέσεις) των κρατικών αρχών. Στο Αμβούργο, όπου  οι καταλήψεις είχαν μια έντονη παρουσία και επιρροή στο κοινωνικό πεδίο, η πίεση ήταν ιστορικά πιο μεγάλη.

Τη δεκαετία του ΄80 για παράδειγμα  υπήρχε το δόγμα του  Alfons Pawelczyk, υπουργού Εσωτερικών και δημάρχου του Αμβούργου, ο οποίος έλεγε ότι όλες οι καταλήψεις έπρεπε να εκκενωθούν από την αστυνομία εντός 24 ωρών, για να σταματήσουν ακόμη και την πιο μικρή απόπειρα που θα δημιουργήσει «σκηνικό κατάληψης».

Σήμερα η Rote Flora διακηρύττει ότι δεν την ενδιαφέρει ποιος είναι ο ιδιοκτήτης του κτιρίου. Αυτό δεν εμπόδισε αρκετούς αλληλέγγυους καταληψίες της «νέας γενιάς» να σταθούν στο πλευρό της και να συγκρουστούν.

roteflora2  Μερικοί από αυτούς παραδέχονται ότι οι νέες καταλήψεις -που έχουν κι αυτές τις ενοχλήσεις τους- έχουν συμβιβαστεί, ότι έχουν χάσει το πρόσημο των «παλιών», πιο συγκρουσιακών καταλήψεων. Άλλοι πάλι βλέπουν μια μεταμόρφωση της παράδοσης των δεκαετιών του 80 και του 90.

Η όποια εξασφάλιση μη ενόχλησης από το κράτος, είναι για μερικούς το αντάλλαγμα της αυτονομίας ενός στεκιού και της αυτοδιαχείρισής του.

Είναι κι αυτή μια τεράστια συζήτηση.

Στις αρχές Γενάρη λοιπόν και εν μέσω των συγκρούσεων για τη Rote Flora επικοινωνήσαμε με την Zomia, μια κατάληψη σε τροχόσπιτα στο Αμβούργο.

Ρωτήσαμε ορισμένα πράγματα.

                         – – – –

Για αρχή, πείτε μας δυο κουβέντες για την Zomia. Τι ακριβώς είστε;

zomia Η Ζomia είναι ένα από τους έξι «εναλλακτικούς χώρους τροχόσπιτων» στο Αμβούργο. Πρόκειται για χώρους εναλλακτικής υποκουλτούρας όπου οι άνθρωποι ζουν από κοινού σε τροχόσπιτα τσίρκων ή κατασκευών, σε ιστορικά φορτηγά κ.λπ. – εκτός βέβαια από το να προσφέρουν στέγη χαμηλού κόστους  στο πλαίσιο ενός αυτόνομου τρόπου ζωής (‘φτιάξτο μόνος σου’), η Ζomia προσπαθεί να λειτουργήσει σαν μια ανεξάρτητη πολιτισμική μονάδα, προσφέροντας μη εμπορευματοποιημένες συναυλίες, κοινοτικές κουζίνες, συζητήσεις και άλλες τέτοιες παρόμοιες δράσεις.

Αυτοί οι χώροι είναι μάλλον συνηθισμένα φαινόμενα στις μεγάλες γερμανικές πόλεις και έχουν τις ρίζες τους στην κοινότητα καταλήψεων της δεκαετίας του ‘80. Ο δικός μας χώρος είναι 3 ετών˙ ξεκίνησε με μια κατάληψη εγκαταλειμμένης δημόσιας περιουσίας.

Μετά από δύο χρόνια προστριβών μεταξύ των ανθρώπων του τροχόσπιτου και των αρχών της πόλης, έπειτα από τέσσερις μετακινήσεις και διαμαρτυρίες καθώς και έκθεση στο κοινό και τα media, μεταφερθήκαμε σ’ ένα αχρησιμοποίητο χώρο, πρώην πάρκινγκ, πάρα πολύ κεντρικά του Αμβούργου. Εκεί υπογράψαμε ένα συμβόλαιο περιορισμένης διάρκειας με την πόλη (διότι πληρώνουμε κάποιο νοίκι).


Τα πρόσφατα γεγονότα στο Αμβούργο δεν είναι φυσικά ένα μιντιακό γεγονός, υπάρχει μια ολόκληρη ιστορία από πίσω, έτσι δεν είναι; Μπορείτε να σχολιάσετε αυτή τη σύγκρουση των καταληψιών με το κράτος; Ποια η πολιτική προέλευση/σύνθεση
των πρώτων;

 Αυτή είναι μια ερώτηση που σηκώνει πολύ συζήτηση, είναι λίγο δύσκολο να απαντηθεί. Και βέβαια υπάρχει μια διαρκής πάλη μεταξύ των αρχών και του φάσματος της ριζοσπαστικής αριστεράς η οποία τώρα ασχολείται με ζητήματα όπως αυτό της κατάληψης Rote Flora,  με την υποστήριξη προσφύγων από αντιρατσιστική σκοπιά και με τοπικές δράσεις κατά του εξευγενισμού (gentrification) πρώην «εναλλακτικών» γειτονιών.

Θεωρούμε ότι σ’ αυτό το πλαίσιο πολλοί ακτιβιστές θεωρούν τους εαυτούς τους ως ριζοσπάστες αριστεροί ή αντιφασίστες. Την ίδια στιγμή, υπάρχουν αναρχικές ομάδες όπως επίσης και ακτιβιστές της «φιλελεύθερης αριστεράς» σε μία συμμαχία συλλογικοτήτων που αντιμάχεται κυρίως διαδικασίες gentrification.

Είναι η Rote Flora η τελευταία κατάληψη που υπάρχει στο Αμβούργο; Πως αξιολογείτε την πρόσφατη εκκένωσή της;

Ακριβώς, είναι η τελευταία κατάληψη. Στο μεταξύ, οι περισσότερες καταλήψεις του παρελθόντος νομιμοποιήθηκαν ενώ οι καινούριες είναι μάλλον δύσκολο να ευδοκιμήσουν μέσα στην πόλη.

Η Rote Flora λειτουργεί ταυτόχρονα σαν ένας ανεξάρτητος χώρος σκέψης αλλά και σαν ένα εναπομείναν σύμβολο. Η συμβολική σημασία είναι τεράστια, γι’ αυτό η πρόσφατη απειλή προκάλεσε τόσο μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον. Ακόμη δεν έχει γίνει εκκένωση όμως˙ η πόλη πούλησε το κτίριο σ’ έναν ιδιώτη 12 χρόνια πριν και μετά από χρόνια σιωπής αυτός ο τύπος διακηρύσσει το συμφέρον του στο να χρησιμοποιήσει την Rote Flora για να φτιάξει ένα νέο κτίριο (aρκετοί πιστεύουν ότι θέλει να πιέσει τις αρχές να επαναγοράσουν την Rote Flora με πολύ υψηλό τίμημα).

Πως αντιλαμβάνεστε την πολιτική της «επικίνδυνης ζώνης»;

Αυτή η πολιτική είναι ένα πολύ ειδικό κομμάτι του αστυνομικού δίκαιου στην πόλη του Αμβούργου (δεν υπάρχει σε άλλα κρατίδια), η οποία επιτρέπει τον έλεγχο σε πολίτες που δεν είναι ύποπτοι για κάτι. Αυτή η μεταχείριση επιτίθεται στα πολιτικά δικαιώματα˙ είναι ένα εργαλείο καταστολής μια αστυνομίας που καυχιέται.

Κατά τη διάρκεια των τελευταίων ημερών η γειτονιά μας πλημμύρισε με ένστολους, ωστόσο, την ίδια στιγμή υπήρχαν διαμαρτυρίες κατά της ζώνης. Στα γερμανικά media το θέμα εισέπραξε κυρίως αρνητική κριτική και προς το παρόν φαίνεται ότι οι αρχές της πόλης μαζί με την αστυνομία απέτυχαν ως προς τις προθέσεις τους. Στις 13 Ιανουαρίου η αστυνομία αποσύρθηκε από τη «ζώνη κινδύνου». Πολλοί εκτιμούν ότι αυτό οφείλεται στις διαρκείς διαμαρτυρίες όπως επίσης και στην «καταστροφική» για τις αρχές ανταπόκριση των media.

Υπάρχει ευρύτερο ενδιαφέρον στο Αμβούργο για τα τελευταία γεγονότα; Που εντοπίζεται η κινητοποίηση;

Οι πρόσφατες διαμαρτυρίες εναντίον της «επικίνδυνης ζώνης» συμβαίνουν μέσα σ’ ένα ευρύ φάσμα από την φιλελεύθερη αριστερά μέχρι την ριζοσπαστική αριστερά, συμπεριλαμβανομένων πολλών κατοίκων από τις γειτονιές που επηρεάζονται.

Οι αλληλέγγυες διαμαρτυρίες/δράσεις στη Rote Flora, από την υποστήριξη των προσφύγων ως και την κόντρα ενάντια στις διαδικασίες εξευγενισμού, δεν γίνονται μόνο από τους ριζοσπάστες αυτόνομους αριστερούς αλλά από πιο διευρυμένα πολιτικά στρώματα της αριστεράς.

*ευχαριστώ τον Simon Brinkrolf για τη βοήθειά του.

Neonazis and the Greek Church: Unholy blessings

xrisiavgiSince the national elections of 2012, when neo-nazi party Golden Dawn entered the parliament with nearly 7 percent of the popular vote and 18 seats, there have been numerous occasions of supportive announcements and sympathy sentiments from metropolitan bishops of the Church of Greece.

Somehow, it all started on October 2012 when controversial theatrical play “Corpus Christi” sparked anger among some orthodox religious groups and Golden Dawn. They threatened hand in hand the director and actors of the play and finally attacked journalists and theatre-goers. 

At the time, Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus together with several members of the neo-nazi party filed a lawsuit for “malicious blasphemy” and “insulting religion”.

However, the Standing Holy Synod -the highest governing body of the Church of Greece- has distanced itself from the lawsuit stating that there was never a “mandate” to follow such procedure. In a previous statement though, the Synod had condemned the play as “blasphemous” while stating: “we urge our People to condemn this”.

Until today there has never been an official statement (from the Standing Holy Synod) that condemns the deeds of Golden Dawn.

On October 14th 2012, after the “Corpus Christi” incident, Bishop Pavlos of Siatista opened fire to Golden Dawn and heavily criticized some “Christian militants” for identifying themselves with the neo-nazis. Later on, he said he was receiving threatening calls and messages from members of Golden Dawn. 

Bishop Pavlos’s stance sparked some reactions: nine Metropolitan bishops, including Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronimos, sent anti-racist and pro-immigrant messages largely circulating Greek press.

Sources with very good knowledge of the way Greek Church functions, told us:

“Ecclesiastical hierarchy is an unwieldy body taking decisions as a whole. In this manner, it would be unfair to hold the whole of the Church responsible for building ties with Golden Dawn. There are of course some bishops who openly express their views. As all people, they will be judged”.

For instance, Bishop Amvrosios of Kalavryta often using an anti-communist and anti-semitic rhetoric, has openly expressed his support for Golden Dawn:

“If you change your style, i.e. if you become mature, you will be able to become a sweet hope for the desperate citizens and a quiet force in the rotten political system”.

We contacted theologian Vassilis Xydias on September 13th to ask about his personal view on the relationship between Golden Dawn and the clergy.

“What lies at the ‘Achilles’ heel’ of the Greek Orthodox Church is a mentality of ‘the enemy that undermines the nation’. There is a common ideological and, essentially, psychological basis whereby ‘everyone conspires against you’, say the Jews, the Masons etc. There has always been ‘a need’ for a secret enemy against which you don’t stand good changes to win. This is exactly the space Golden Dawn is using, for propagating its ideas and influence. It is a conscious and strategic move so as to capitalize from Greek Orthodox Christians”.

Writer and researcher Stavros Zoumboulakis has recently published the book “Golden Dawn and Church”. Zoumboulakis, according to critics, anticipates from the official Church to take a firm stance towards neo-nazis and far-right extremists.

He argues about the anti-communist rhetoric adopted by the majority of the clergy since the Greek Civil War, during the 7-year military junta anduntil today. “The Greek Orthodox Church in the postwar era becomes a stylobate of an authoritarian and police state”, says Zoumboylakis on an interview in “ΒΗmagazino” magazine.

Apart from the ‘political’ nature of the matter, from a theological perpective, there is evidence that Golden Dawn and Christianity bear a rather odd relationship. An investigative- reporting blog called “Jungle-Report” has shown that the nazi party falls into contradictions when it comes to Christianity.

 In Golden Dawn texts, it is evident that Lucipher (Satan) is being worshiped while paganism is embraced. Vassilis Xydias commented on that:

“Golden Dawn’s ideological starting points are paganistic, anti-christian and anti-semitic. In reality, Golden Dawn sees in Christianity a hidden transformation of ancient Greek religion with Dodekatheon (Twelve Olympian gods). So, while not wanting to provoke divisions inside ‘the nation’, it turns a blind eye on what or whom to worship. It is a documented pro-Christianic tendency in the Neopaganism stream”.

But what is really happening among people who regularly go to the church? A lot of believers, when asked about the role of Golden Dawn, refuse to open a discussion. Those who choose to answer though, firmly support the view that “Christianity cannot be judged in terms of ‘corrupt politics’.”

 There are priests, however, who defended immigrants lacking basic necessities, putting themselves at risk.  One of them, serving for nearly two decades a church in the heart of Athens, explained to us how he was abused by Golden Dawn thugs.

“The attacks on immigrants were politically motivated. They were the victims of clashes for electoral reasons. All I tried to do all these years was my priestly duty: helping immigrants by handing out free food, giving them some clothes. For that reason Golden Dawn was regularly threatening me. I was in danger. At the time, I felt lonely because no one from the Holy Archdiocese of Athens ever supported me, not even with a statement”

There are many reports that Greek Orthodox church offers its blessings to the neonazis. However, one can find many efforts and initiatives that are anti-nazi.

 “Nazism and the Gospel have two completely opposite meanings”, says Dr Thanassis Papathanasiou, Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Synaxis”, a publication on orthodox Christian faith.

“As the time passes by, judging from the people that go to church and from what the priests are saying to their flock, even the ‘hard conservatives’ cannot tolerate what GD is standing for. As for the high ecclesiastical hierarchy, condemnation should be immediate, explicit and official”, he adds.

* This story was written nearly 3 months ago, before the Golden Dawn arrests

Roma in Greece: Headlines revert to ancient prejudice

romani_flagThe case of a little girl called Maria, allegedly abducted by a Roma couple on the outskirts of Farsala in central Greece, has filled local and world headlines with prejudice and racist stereotypes.

Maria’s appearance -a blonde girl with blue eyes- was enough to spark speculation in tabloid press about Roma involvement in child abductions and other serious offenses. “Roma grab babies” screamed a headline in a newspaper. Mainstream media’s sensationalism favoured the ancient notion of the “evil gypsies.”

However, no media outlet that carried sensationalised reports were eager to admit their abusive language when Maria’s parents proved to be Roma from Bulgaria. Maria’s adoptive parents in Greece had told the truth about the girl’s origins. Only it was too late to correct the demonization of an already excluded group.

Lina Giannarou, a reporter of the newspaper Kathimerini offered her insight into the coverage of the story:

“I think the main problem was that the media merely followed the police investigation. There was no first-hand reporting on what really happened with the little girl nor serious analysis on the major side issues that this tragic story revealed, like for example the thousands of illegal adoptions taking place all over the country. The vast majority of articles focused on the suspected crime and the supposed abduction. When it became clear this was not the case, the story ceased to be of interest.”

Smile of the Child, the charity entrusted with Maria’s care, compounded the misinformation.

On 1 October, Damian Mac Con Uladh, a journalist with online news service “EnetEnglish”, published a revealing story about the contradictory comments and the false assessments made by the charity’s director and other representatives.

The case was communicated with language targeting the Roma couple, while maintaining a climate of moral panic towards them. At times, representatives of the charity appeared to be sure of her origin (“the girl was not a Roma”), while mixing every possibility of her being abducted, being sold or mistreated. According to their claims, the girl had been treated as “a dancing bear” or like “a commodity.”

All the panic produced was to be answered by police operations carried out against Roma communities. This summer already, riot police squads had conducted large operations throughout the country, in the southern Peloponnese and in Thiva settlements in central Greece.

However, Dimitris Angelidis, reporter of the Editor’s Newspaper suggests that the linking of Roma with criminality is a false one.

“Roma people, together with immigrants, street drug users, people living on the street and other marginalized groups of people, have been the target of regular police operations. These operations, which have been condemned by European authorities for their extreme use of ethnic profiling, do little more than painting a negative picture that connects inescapably Roma to criminality. The few news items about Roma emphasize their supposed criminal behavior which is not supported by police statistics: raids in Roma settlements are very often but they result in very few arrests, a mere 3 percent.”

Panayote Dimitras, Spokesperson of Greek Helsinki Monitor and Humanist Union of Greece explained the wider context.

“The living conditions of Roma in Greece and Italy are at their worst level right now. And while there is much attention to Italy, no one focuses in Greece whereby Roma experience their worst year in a 15 years period. Hundreds of millions of euro aimed at their social inclusion and their living conditions have changed little. Most of their settlements remain unsafe while the children do not go to school or attend Roma-only schools.”

Poorly educated, disconnected from the world

The low level of education among Roma puts them at a constant social disadvantage. Although Greece has been found violating the European Convention for Human Rights, for the segregation of Roma children in separate schools, the contempt coming from non Roma parents and the pressure from state and local authorities pose serious restrictions.

Alexis Koutrouvelis has been teaching in a Roma-only school for the past 4 years, in Aspropirgos, a suburb of Athens in the West Attica region. Koutrouvelis described  the way Roma children go to school.

“Roma communities are largely uneducated, thus, parents do not understand the necessity of education. Following this culture, children cannot easily perceive a space-time continuum, they don’ t seem to hold a strong sense of identity throughout history.”

Being at the bottom of the social class pyramid, Roma children grow up without knowing their rights. In addition, most of their contact with the government is when police conducts raids against their communities.

“There are children that never really leave the settlements. Some of them do not even know what lies behind the mountain of Egaleo. They grow up learning to pay for someone else’s bad deeds in their community,” Koutrouvelis said.

Poor education does not mean these kids are deprived of imagination. In 2011, director Yorgos Didimiotis made a short film with Roma children in Aspropirgos. The narrative and the themes were the childrens’ work, Didimiotis did only the technical staff and gave them basic tips.

He said that it was an unprecedented experience.

“I’ve never seen so much enthusiasm in children. You could see the need for expression with an unstoppable imagination. These children were so proud to be making a short-film when at the end, it was difficult to stop them from watching it, over the 25th time! And imagine that some of them have never been to the cinema.”

This article was originally published on 6 Nov 2013 at indexoncensorship.org

Greece: murder of anti-fascist prompts protest

fissasThousands of protesters gathered on Wednesday evening in Athens near the place where Pavlos Fyssas, a 34 year-old antifascist hip hop artist was murdered by a Golden Dawn supporter.

“The blood is running, it seeks revenge”, they shouted, a slogan echoing the December 2008 riots , when 15 year-old student Alexandros Grigoropoulos was killed by two policemen.

The 45 year-old man who carried out the stabbing has told police that he was a supporter of far-right party Golden Dawn. This was clearly a politically motivated killing, added to a sequence of intimidation events and attacks carried out by Golden Dawn against immigrants and asylum seekers.

On 17 January, Shehzad Luqman, an immigrant worker from Pakistan was lethally stabbed by two men. Police later found pre-election pamphlets of Golden Dawn in the house of one perpetrator.

In December 2012, Amnesty International reported on this issue. In addition, Human Rights Watch has found that there is evidence connecting the attackers on immigrants with members of or affiliated with far-right groups such as Golden Dawn.

No matter how useful these findings may be, they were clearly not at the “agenda” of the rally at Keratsini. Young and old antifascists, together with immigrants, have been increasingly struggling with Golden Dawn vigilantes in the past five years. The murder of Fyssas comes as no surprise. A lot of people somehow anticipated the tragic event.

“The regime, in co-operation with Golden Dawn is clearly escalating the confrontation with political dissidents. This is why we’re here today. And we have to step up the intensity of this political struggle. Everywhere,” said a demonstrator, local resident of Keratsini.

Some 3,000 – 4,000 members of an organised anarchist block was heading towards Golden Dawns’ offices in Nikaia, while at the same time, demonstrators attacked Keratsini’s police station. Almost instantly clashes began: Riot police squads tried to disperse groups of demonstrators with the typical use of excessive force.

In an alley, the head of a police squad was heard shouting “Come on, let’s go and fuck them up”. Middle-aged people from the neighborhood curesed them, while young antifascists threw Molotov cocktails and stones.

Keratsini district, a working class neighborhood, was established after Greek refugees fled Asia Minor on 1922. The greater area of Piraeus (Nikaia, Perama, Keratsin), known for its anti-Nazi struggle, was historically affiliated with the political left.

This picture though seems to be fading away. According to polling company “Public Issue”, Golden Dawn has doubled its electoral influence on these areas. Moreover, it has worked its way on socially penetrating existing political views.

On June 2012, Egyptian fishermen were attacked in Perama after an inflammatory and racist speech by Golden Dawn MP Yannis Lagos, who said that the party would hold them accountable for their actions. A few days ago, again in Perama, members of the Communist Party (KKE) were brutally attacked by Golden Dawn’s supporters while putting up posters for an upcoming festival.

Last nights’ clashes have led to a total of 130 detentions and 34 arrests while tweeters were reporting a demonstrator had been heavily injured by a direct teargas shot. Questions about the way police responded at the place of the assassination remain unanswered. Witnesses on TV broadcasts this morning said that police were reluctant to involve at the fight before the stabbing.

There were protests against the murder throughout the country. Latest reports suggest that there have been discussions on emergency legislation to ban Golden Dawn’s acts.

This article was originally published on 19 Sept 2013 at indexoncensorship.org

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