Two Battles in the Struggle for Greece

by George Hayduke

In January, the City of Patras, Greece, was the site of a major victory for thousands of migrant workers living in shantytown settlements. According to the recently-launched Indymedia Patras, on January 19 and 20, Patras authorities served the mostly Afghani and Kurdish migrants (who for years have flocked to the Greek port city hoping to gain passage to Italy) an unsigned final eviction warning. Police had the settlement surrounded by January 21, and despite organized protests from anarchists and other supporters, managed to demolish a portion of the settlement on January 23.

On January 29, however, the tide turned. According to Indymedia Patras, "in an unprecedented move, the vast majority of the settlement's residents (over 1,000) joined in the solidarity demonstration and demanded their rights to dignity and asylum...The demonstration took the authorities by surprise and local mass media report that in its light, the knocking down of the remainder of the settlement is to be postponed." This is a major victory for the Patras settlement, but the struggle will surely continue.

Another battle took place the weekend of February 2 and 3 when 100 fascists from the Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) group gathered in Athens' Kolokotroni Square for the 12th anniversary of the Imia islets dispute with Turkey. Anarchists and other anti-fascists, numbering around 400, marched to defend their city from racist hate, but when they reached Kolokotroni Square, the police had formed a protective wall around Chryssi Avgi. Soon, the cops let fascists cross the line to stab two of the anti-fascists and hit others with rocks. One of the stab victims needed surgery, but is not in critical condition.

At 11 a.m., a fight broke out between the two groups, and the police responded again by aiding the fascists and beating the anti-fascists, knocking one unconscious. Afterwards, small skirmishes that broke out across the city exploded into larger battles for the city's main squares. According to The Irish Times, "About 400 anarchists barricaded themselves along the main street, throwing rocks and petrol bombs," a police officer at the scene said. "Two policemen and two anarchists have been slightly hurt, but there are no serious injuries."

The anarchists and other leftists, in their occupied squares, organized another anti-fascist demonstration for 6 p.m.

According to Athens Indymedia, "A little later than 3 p.m., the Public Prosecutor announced their decision to ban the manifestation of the fascists and disperse their gathering. The fascists initially refused, but left when they saw more squads coming." The leftist radicals held their anti-fascist demonstration in the evening as planned, and the riot police again attacked the 600 marchers with chemical weapons and batons. The attack resulted in 120 arrests, and many others were sent to the hospital with injuries. Though all of the arrested were released without charges, "among the ones in the hospital, four to five of them stayed there, including a female comrade who had been hit by a tear-gas shot directly on her eye and her forehead," according to Athens Indymedia. Around the end of the demonstration, anarchists attacked a police station with incendiary devices.

Patras Indymedia Article


Athens Indymedia Article

The Irish Times