Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Greek Parliamentary Blockade and 3rd General Strike in 2011
Today was the day a general strike which was organised by the Greek GSEE-TUC, Adedy-Public Sector, and KKE-PAME (Communist Party). Alongside them were the alleged ‘indignadants’ of Greece who had their usual drums and slogans ‘Thieves, Thieves’ ‘Burn the B rothel (Parliament) Down’. These protests have been going on for 25 days today peacefully. Today they came under attack by a coordinated plan from black hooded provocateurs and the riot police which has used teargas extensively. Once again there were 3 different points of reference, one in Omonia by the KKE one in Pedion Arios by GSEE and one in Sindagma Sq.
Alongside the ‘Indignant’
Many demonstrated gathered 7am in the morning trying to enforce the blockade round Parliament which is a very large area as on one side is the national park and on the other is the Presidential Palace. There were probably only around 5,000 at 7am and alongside a hundred or so we marched to block the entrance that would be the main focal point of the parliamentarians would use to get in. The actual entrance from the side of Sindagma Sq was sealed off by police using a heavy metal barrier which had been placed on the road alongside two massive police buses. It was impossible to pass this route and as it was blocked by the police the parliamentarians couldn’t get in. There were 32 police divisions in total 10,000. The largest for years and both Papandreous car was attacked and the Presidents who are now meeting to decide whether he resigns and they go for new elections or a government of ‘national unity’.
So a section of the demonstration agreed to march round the other side of Parliament passing the national park and heading round the far end of roads which eventually will lead to Parliament. Despite there being only a couple of hundred the side roads were blocked but slowly more police started to arrive and a cat and mouse game occurred whereby the police created lines but they were outwitted by the demonstrators who went behind them at both points and continue to blockade the side roads. At some point riot police arrived with tear gas and they attacked the blockade picking on the vulnerable and those who tried to defend them arresting half a dozen. But in the meantime a couple of MP’s cars were attacked and the police were criticised vehemently by what was said by protestors that they are defending ‘traitors’ and ‘quislings’ and that what happened in Keratea (where they were withdrawn after two months of struggle by the locals).
KKE Parliamentary Parade
On returning to Sindagma Square and going on to the KKE march one noticed that they were around 10,000 chanting the same old sterile slogans. This time they couldn’t go round the front of Sindagma as it was occupied so they went down one side stayed outside the Ministry of Economics for a bit and the moment they started to leave the riot police at the other end of the square started to use tear gas. This type of gas is so powerful most people can’t breathe but because many Greeks are well prepared people help each other with special sprays and lemons. One cant rub ones eyes with this type of tear gas even when one cant see.
Black hooded police provocateurs make their reappearance
For 25 days the demonstrators have been peaceful and now it appears the plan is to disperse the square violently as they have teargassed everyone. Conflicts have now emerged amongst the indignant and the black hooded protestors thus giving an excuse that the demonstrators are all violent hoodlums to justify police attacks. So far there hasn’t been one general strike which hasn’t been dispersed by tear gas. Fires have started in the square where people are camped. But up till 4pm around 10,000 remain outside the main Sindagma Sq and they haven’t dispersed. What will happen over the next few hours and what the government will announce is still fluid...
In total there must have been around 70-100,000 throughout the day on the streets in Athens. Three times attempts were made to disperse those on the main square and the battles raged from around 1.30pm till 5pm. Until 9pm ones eyes could still hurt from the teargas. After 7pm thousands started to arrive and by 9pm three quarters of Sindagma Sq was full once more.
Throughout the day Papandreou met the leaders of all the main parties 5 in total (incl. the KKE) trying to unblock the political impasse of not being able to go forward to new elections (as the parties may get wiped out or end up 'governing' on such a small mandate to make it impossible) being unable to get agreement for a coalition government and Papandreou announcing that he would resign if some type of agreement could occur.
So he has now asked for a vote of confidence to form a 'new' government with him still as leader to gain some time to try and sell the 'new' appointments to pass the 2nd round of IMF measures on 28th June. His health minister Loverdos, who plans to cut the 140 hospitals for the IMF dictats stated that a bunch of hoodlums in the square cant dictate govt policy or the democratic nature of Parliament.
Having failed to throw out the protestors from the square with the use of known provocateurs many of which came directly out of government ministries and a couple were caught with their police ID on them by protestors and paraded on the internet, the govt has essentially fallen, the issue is what is to replace it and how can it sell IMF measures when everyone knows why it has fallen.
Some of the slogans heard tonight on the square:
We aint leaving the square the whole of Greece should become Keratea
We will keep the ports and the Electricity company but sell the Parliamentary Brothel
We will stay in the square take your provocateurs and Go
Resign Resign Resign
Bread Education Freedom the Junta didn't Die in 1973
George (Papandreou) you are a Traitor and an American
Resistance Resistance National Resistance
Hellas Hellas Hellas
Leonidas had 300 who had a soul we have 300 thieves, throw them in the sea so we have a Party
Fxxx the IMF, where did the Money Go?
Papulia Papulia (President) go tend to your vegetable garden
They chanted also agains the Economics Minister Papakonstantinou to do one correct thing in his life and jump off a balcony, against Pangalos stating he should sell himself (as he is very fat) so we can pay off the debts
We Owe No Money, We Aint Paying, We Have no Money
The People United will Never be Defeated
On the Police:
If you have Honour and you are Greek turn your police shields the other way to help us storm Parliament
You get paid Peanuts to Beat People Up
Police, Pigs, Murderers