Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Eyewitness Account-Greece, Keratea in Struggle against EU Landfill Regulations

Situated in the middle of a green agricultural belt on the way to historical Lavrio (an area that goes back to ancient times) there has been a battle going on between the few thousand citizens and the dictats of the ruling IMF political party PASOK. Despite the fact that 4.5 m Greeks abstained out of a total electorate of 6m in Octobers regional and local elections, a battle has been waged since November over the decision to place a landfill right in the middle of an archaeological area and an area of natural beauty. The fate of the IMF government may actually be hanging on a thread. A rural area of Athens has been under constant riot police occupation for over 4 months. Daily battles ensue with riot police, tear gas, smoke bombs and baton charges has been the reality for many in that area. How no one so far has died has actually been a miracle.

Keratea Resistance Festival 8-10th April

Supported by the local mayor and the embattled citizens who have built roadblocks and occupation buildings the intellectual middle classes came to support the citizens with shows, art, poetry, plays, music. More than 50 different participating organisations, with around 35,000 people arriving in the embattled zone came over the three day period. Provisional camp sites were set up, mobile toilets, the traditional souvlaki barbeques and copious amounts of wine, beer and ouzo. The working people of Athens showed their solidarity to the citizens.

Riot police in their tens have been stationed in the area for up to 16 hours a day, attacking citizens, hitting pensioners, arresting young people and generally trying to implement the dictats of the government which without consultation decided where to place a new landfill despite court rulings that they cannot be placed on archaeological sites. But the government that wanted to sell off the Akropolis to pay the foreign banksters has no such reservations. Citizens in Keratea described how the riot police invaded their round the clock blockade at 345am and beat the few citizens up there to a pulp by stating at the same time, ‘you will all die’ go home.

Due to the success of the resistance festival the citizens of Keratea proceeded to a new wave of struggle by digging up the main roads passing between Keratea and Lavrio with road diggers in the middle of the night. When the riot police found out about it the next day they stormed the citizens reaching right up to their houses with many injured on both sides and many going to hospital. No media outlet has gone to interview ANY citizens about the events. It is becoming clear, that without a resolution of this issue the governments dictats are being questioned fundamentally. That implies that either they have to win, or fall

The Left refuses to campaign for the departure of PASOK

Officially only two leaders of the Left (Alavanos-Euros and Theodorakis-Spitha) have gone to Keratea, the KKE has abstained despite its paper support of their struggle in their paper Rizospastis (Radical) and a large mobilisation of the supporters of the left, hasn’t been called for. Instead evening style protests where you only hear speeches are made in different Athens squares by different union federations on different days and different times.

Official website of the citizens of Keratea

Videos of the battles and the dug up roads

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