Protests at the Thessaloniki International Fair 2011

Constant updates:

Later on, from night to Sunday, September 11th, heavy criticism was expressed regarding the students unions’ attitude during Saturday’s demonstration in Thessaloniki.

It must be said that, up till now, 310 academic faculties are under students’ occupation across Greece; therefore, a lot of people speak generally of the current students’ movement with high anticipation of widespread youth resistance to the government’s policy.

Although many argue that the students’ coordination assembly in Thessaloniki had decided to end the rally by entering the University, in a symbolic action to defend the (recently abolished) Asylum, and that clashing with the police was not considered a first choice option (!), others suggest that a significant number of students had wished to end the march in Kamara —in fact, a students’ part did head to Kamara, along with several rank’n’file unions.

Several commenters suggest that shortly after 21.30 GMT+2 the main students unions’ block avoided on purpose confronting the repressive forces in YMCA (HANTH) Square, and left behind other protesters. While protesters were fighting against cops in YMCA (HANTH) Square, the student unions passed in a hurry and abandoned the street battle. It has been said that people who participated in the clashes and defended themselves against cops’ menace, shouted out to the students’ block for help and active solidarity. Nevertheless, the latter passed in a ‘solid’ block (lined up baring wood pickets and forming a human chain on both sides). Others mention that the entire demo route itself chosen by the students unions was very long, thus it caused undue delay in their arrival outside TIF facilities.

It is now up to the nationwide students’ movement to prove that it can fight back —alongside other social movements such as anarchism.

02.46 GMT+2: In Athens, DELTA motorcycle cops were attacked with Molotov cocktails and stones in Benaki Street, in Exarchia. There was tension in the area earlier as well.

02.15 GMT+2: In Thessaloniki, one young man was beaten fiercely by the bastards of five motorcycles police units in Kassandrou Street, near the General Secretariat for Macedonia and Thrace. More cops arrived at the spot while the young man was screaming in pain. Neighbours yelled from their balconies against the uniformed pigs. The severely beaten man was arrested. Another man was also detained for the sole reason that he was standing nearby waiting for a taxi and rushed to help him. Police brutality in all its glory:

23.10 GMT+2: An estimated 2,000 students/demonstrators are inside the academic premises —factually defending the (recently abolished) Asylum.
People ought to beware of the plainclothes and motorcyclist cops across the city’s neighbourhoods.

Some photos from Thessaloniki: 1, 2

We demand the immediate release of all detainees
and arrestees of today’s demo.
The struggle will go on!

22.50 GMT+2: Cops’ fierce attack at Chimiou Square, next to the Physics-Mathematics faculty of Thessaloniki.

22.35 GMT+2: In Athens, a profound attack against the 400 people on Syntagma Square took place; about 15 people are injured by the cops, 2 of them from a shock grenade thrown on them.

22.30 GMT+2: According to the police headquarters, there have been 95 detentions and 3 arrests until 21.30 GMT+2. Cops-murderers didn’t release any more information, i.e. regarding the tones of tear gas and flash-bang grenades they have been using across the city throughout the day.

22.15 GMT+2: Many people set up barricades and counter-attack to police squads, in front of the University entrance.
Cops have also approached the Church of Rotunda; they have fired tear gas straight at demonstrators in numerous cases.
There is a barricade in Kamara; ongoing clashes at Syntrivani and Chimiou squares, and around Ethnikis Amynis Street —along which the public lights went off.
A police bus was passing through Iasonidou Street outside ABC Hotel; when it moved to Egnatia Street, people spotted it and attacked it with a lot of stones.

22.00 GMT+2: In Thessaloniki, several thousands still on the streets.
Clashes in front of the Physics-Mathematics faculty; a lot of people are defending themselves around the university premises.
Clashes between protesters and cops at Syntrivani (Fountain) Square, after brutal police attack in Egnatia Street. Many people are trapped by riot police in Aggelaki and Ethnikis Amynis streets.
One more detention was reported in Ethnikis Amynis Street, near Kamara. (The total number of new detentions/arrests has not been confirmed.)

In Athens, at Syntagma Square, several hundreds of people blockaded the road in front of the parliament in solidarity to Thessaloniki demonstrators; police attacked them and pushed them to the staircase of Syntagma Square.

21.45 GMT+2: It is the first year that students from occupied university buildings participated at the TIF demonstration. Most students’ blocks are now entering the University, from the Philosophical School entrance; a part of them, as well as several rank’n’file unions are headed back to Kamara.
Iraklis’ fans seem to have ended their demo; so did ‘Den Plirono’ (most of its demonstrators had arrived from Athens).
Stone throwing at the TIF’s lower gate.

21.35 GMT+2: The Prime Minister has just ended his sold-out speech and prepares to leave the Ioannis Velidis Conference Centre. He mentioned that ‘there is hope’ (obviously implying the salvation of bosses and the Capital).

21.15 GMT+2: A new march (with many thousands from the student unions, along with base unions and other blocks such as the indignants) is reaching the TIF facilities; cops attacked them with flash-bang grenades.

20.45 GMT+2: People were attacked by massive police force in front of the White Tower; police squads chased people in fury. One protester has been fiercely beaten and was detained near the White Tower.
Cops use batons, tear gas and flash-bang grenades; people resist with stones and swear at them. Various fronts of clashes downtown; several protesters’ blocks are now near Venizelos Statue.

20.30 GMT+2: Police had blockaded the base unions and students’ demo in Nikis Avenue, but protesters have now managed to reach the White Tower.
Many other demonstrators clash near YMCA (HANTH) Square in order to get closer to Ioannis Velidis Conference Centre where the Prime Minister is about to give his closed-doors speech.
More injured protesters; five were transferred to Aghios Pavlos hospital.

‘We will not live like hunted animals – Autonomous immigrants and refugees’

20.20 GMT+2: All detainees are released; 3 arrests are reported, and at least two severely injured protesters.
Huge police force in Nikis Avenue [paraliaki].

20.10 GMT+2: Clashes and barricades with fire in Ethnikis Amynis Street.
Iraklis’ fans clash with cops who prevent them access, in Tsimiski Street.

20.00 GMT+2: Despite the teargasing, people remain in the streets chanting very loud and dynamic slogans while many protesters still clash with police via stone throwing, etc.

19.40 GMT+2: The Legal Aid Team reports 70 detainees who are held in Thessaloniki’s police headquarters; at least 2 detentions have been turned into arrests. Only 5 detainees have been released.

19.30 GMT+2: There are several fronts at the moment all around the centre of Thessaloniki. Besides the students, the taxi unions and other union rallies and marches, the ‘communist’ union’s (PAME) rally is having circa 6,000 and started marching. Iraklis’ fans are also gathering to join the anti-government protests. In front of Ioannis Velidis Conference Centre police tear-gassed the demo.

19.15 GMT+2: Clashes at the YMCA (HANTH) Square. One ambulance arrived at the place to pick up an injured demonstrator; police squads prevented the ambulance, but other demonstrators attacked to them and opened the way.

18.50 GMT+2: Taxi protesters are face to face with cops; even more tension between them.

18.45 GMT+2: Many motorcyclist demonstrators passed Aghias Sofias Street and are headed to Aristotelous Square.
The indignants of Athens have also reached the White Tower.
The student demonstration has just been attacked by police; this demonstration counts approximately 10,000 people.

18.30 GMT+2: Taxi and students’ blocks are headed towards Venizelos Statue, at the (central) Aristotelous Square; so do the blocks of rank’n’file unions that have marched from Kamara.
Banners from student unions of Athens, Patras, Xanthi, Komotini and Thessaloniki can be seen.
Teargasing and more detentions are reported. (The number of arrestees and released people is yet unconfirmed.)
Coastguard forces are also guarding the city’s port and surveilling the demonstrations.

18.25 GMT+2: Thousands of students marching down Egnatia Street from the Polytechnic School.

18.15 GMT+2
: Taxi protesters threw eggs at police squads and attempted to tear down the plexiglass-iron wall so as to break through the police blockade and approach the Exhibition’s facilities. Cops fired tear gas and flash-bang grenades.

17.40 GMT+2: The banner of the indignants’ block of Veria reads ‘Resistance – Overthrow – Equality.’
Demonstrators of ‘Den Plirono’ movement are approaching the White Tower too.
An estimated 5,000 university students are now in Egnatia Street, in front of the rectorate.
The Police Headquarters officially report 32 detentions across Thessaloniki.

17.30 GMT+2: An estimated 2,000 people, mostly from the blocks of taxi drivers/owners and Iraklis football fans, march now in Aghiou Dimitriou Street.
Five more detentions had been reported earlier in the same street.

17.15 GMT+2: Constant identity controls and (danger of) detentions by police are reported. The Polytechnic School, Kamara and the White Tower are reachable. Unfortunately, quite many demonstrators who gather at the White Tower carry Greek national flags!

Meanwhile, a counter-information PA’s [mikrofoniki] is held from the Polytechnic School’s terrace (since midday).

Around 16.15 GMT+2: Protesters are gathering at the White Tower (Lefkos Pyrgos). Most streets that surround the TIF facilities still look empty due to the numerous police blockades across the city’s centre.

Around 15.15 GMT+2: Police is preventing demonstrators from approaching the blockades and pre-gathering points, and proceeded in two ‘preventive’ detentions at Vasileos Georgiou Avenue blockade (in front of the Scouts’ Building).
Six similar ‘preventive’ detentions also occurred at the 424 (former Military Hospital) blockade.

Water cannon at Ioannis Velidis Conference Centre

Gatherings and demonstrations throughout Saturday, September 10th, include those by the square movement (attempting to blockade the Expo); taxi owners/drivers (also on strike); the mainstream trade unions (GSEE, ADEDY); the Stalinist union (PAME); the ‘Anti-authoritarian Movement’ (AK); Iraklis football fans (protesting against this local team’s relegation on financial grounds), the Libertarian Syndicalist Union (ESE); the base unions’ federation; autonomous immigrants/refugees; ‘Den Plirono’ (I won’t pay!) movement, secondary/university students, anti-authoritarians/anarchists.

Comrades’ call

Through a social turmoil that wants different parts of society resisting oppression and injustice of this rotten system, in recent years we also call out for the demonstration at TIF during which the Prime Minister along with his party’s pack of hounds will talk about the government’s official policy that forces the society to stand with its back to the wall (wages, pensions, layoffs, state terrorism, racism, poverty, social exclusion).

Democracy shows its teeth and uses them to suppress the self-determination and the will for freedom and dignity. The entire political and parties’ mob allegedly protests and denounces the ruling PASOK’s corruption and power. They simply defend their own political interests and games —a game that we’ve watched before and we constantly see on TV news bulletins and newspapers’ columns.

As long as one maintains and supports the authoritarian system, and wishes for its betterment and improvement, he/she substantially makes it stronger and gives it an alibi.

The complete overthrow of the government and the state apparatus is the only one and real solution for the revolutionary transformation of society; the collectivization of the means of production and the creation of self-organized councils that will act unanimously, beyond minority–majority control procedures.

We create outbreaks of resistance and self-organized projects with the goal of providing counter-information and disseminating the violent, political confrontation against the State and its servants who dominate our life.

People, you can do without parties and bosses; without union fat-cats and mediators.
Struggle for life and freedom; not for survival.

September 10th
Pre-gathering: Kamara, Thessaloniki, at 18.00 GMT+2
Demo route towards YMCA (HANTH) Square – Ioannis Velidis Conference Centre

For coverage of the unfolding events, also check Occupied London

(In Greek)

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Police plexiglass-iron wall, Thessaloniki International Fair 2011

We are not intimidated by cops; we are enraged!