Greece en rage

22% cut in the minimum wage, 15% cut in complementary pensions and 15.000  civil service redundancies, are the austerity measures -among others- that the coalition government agreed in return for bailout loans, dragging Greek people into the downward spiral of poverty. The country’s two major trade union bodies GSEE (General Confederation of Workers) and ADEDY (Civil Servant’s union Federation) have called for a 48h general strike, starting today. Anti-austerity mobilizations will take place in various cities across the country which are expected to escalate on Sunday, when parliament will be voting on the terms of the loan agreement. To this end, School of Law has been occupied by students and citizens, aspiring to become a hub of activities and support amid demos of the next days.

6000 police officers are expected to be on duty for the anti-austerity demos during the weekend, reinforced by 12 prosecutors on guard. Theιr focus will be on government buildings, banks, uni campus and especially the area in close proximity to the parliament. Tube stations of Panepistimio, Evaggelismos and Syntagma will remain shut. It is estimated that the occupied building of Law School may become shelter for demonstrators in case of trouble. To this end, riot police officers will be guarding in a discrete manner the building since the abolishment of the academic asylum law has sparked resentment and the police is not eager to take full responsibility of handling clashes that may occur inside the campus. Stop-and-search tactics will be employed as well.

Here’s a recap of the weekend’s main events
Feb 11
  • 6000 police officers on duty for the weekend along with 12 prosecutors on guard
  • Less turnout of protesters than Friday in Athens (5000+ people), but demos of tomorrow are expected to be bigger.
  • PAME labour union members -affiliated with the Communist Party of Greece- rolled out a big banner in the archaeological site of Acropolis writing “down with the dictatorship of EU monopolies
  • Demos in Athens and Thessaloniki were peaceful. Minor clahses among police officers and protesters took place in Patra though.
  • The town hall of Holargos, a suburb northeast of Athens, remains occupied by citizens for 2 days in a row. An assembly is due at 19:00
  • Olympion cinema in Thessaloniki is occupied by protesters who will reportedly hold an assembly as well.
  • One man around 55 years old suffered minor injuries as riot police officers repelled the last few demonstrators remaining peacefully outside the parliament at 15:00

Feb 12

  • Several preventive detentions in Athens took place before even the demo starts.
  • Massive turnout as expected.The crowd was dispersed very early though, around 17:30-18:00 when tensions aroused on the front side of the demo and riot police officers started hurling teargas to repel demonstrators on the lower side of the square.
  • The demo was split, but protesters remained en masse in the nearby roads, to avoid clouds of tear gas filling the air…which was literally unbearable. With sheer determination they attempted to get back on the spot but riot squad tactics were aimed at halting the demo. This cat-and-mouse chase kept for 3,5 hours.
  • There were reports by journalists of policemen attacking on random people, protesting peacefully.
  • Paul Mason, the BBC correspondent was attacked by a bunch of far right protesters as they thought he was German. The worst was prevented thanks to other people’s intervention.
  • Clashes spread across the city, with banks and retail outlets set on fire. Estimated number of arsoned buildings at 10  45.
  • 100 people suffered injuries, while 74 have been arrested and 92 detained.
  • In Thessaloniki 28.000 people demonstrated (including PAME members) and clashes broke out between protesters and riot police as well.

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