Veria, northern Greece: Mass arrests of counter-protesters and police raid in the Autonomous Hangout Baruti during ‘national day’

Banner in solidarity with the PIKPA squat (Heraklion, Crete), made by comrades of the autonomous ‘steki’ Baruti in Veria in February 2011: ‘Hands off the squats and liberated spaces. No prosecution against our comrades!’

By 9.30am on March 25th (one of the two dates celebrated as a ‘national day’ by the Greek State, which holds obligatory military and student parades in major cities across the country) a counter-protest was held in the city of Veria. The protest, as many others in several Greek cities, was called for against the dictatorial-democratic regime on the occasion of the annual nationalist parade that includes platforms for officials and politicians, national flags, uniformed marchers, etc. More than 150 police pigs surrounded the crowd at the gathering place — near the spot of the parade — and arrested 29 comrades, most of them members of the Autonomous Hangout Baruti (‘Gunpowder’). According to reports, 3 more protesters were also dragged and detained by the police from the street. At this moment, 29 comrades are held in custody in the Imathia police headquarters, in Veria, which had been cordoned off by cops.The initial reports mention that the arrestees will have to appear in court tomorrow, accused of resisting authority and other possible charges that the prosecutor may add. It must be noted that several people remanded in custody from previous cases are still packed inside the detention rooms of the same police headquarters, because the Greek prisons are so overcrowded that they cannot really accept anyone new!

Meanwhile, various police units in large numbers, assisted by the presence of a prosecutor and police dogs, raided the Autonomous Hangout Baruti and searched the building, located on 21, Pyrrou Street. The cops confiscated everything that was inside (just furniture, posters and books, because they couldn’t find anything to incriminate the comrades).

Letter of some people from the police holding cells in Veria
Sunday, March 25th, 2012, 21.38 (GMT+2)

The regime of emergency imposed on the large number of oppressed in the country by the banks and the State launched an offensive in Veria with its praetors and detained 32 people from 10 in the morning.

After 6 hours of waiting in the police department, 26 of them were charged with resisting and insulting authority and possession of weapons. Since 16.00 we are held in the cells of the regime. Simultaneously, the police with dogs raided the autonomous social hangout of the city.


Some people from the police holding cells in Veria

The presence of repressive forces in Veria is unprecedentedly massive, given that nearly 400 police agents have occupied the city, including cops from nearby regions.

This crackdown against participants in the self-managed space was carried out only a few days before the scheduled event by Baruti for autonomy, self-organization and self-education, from 6th to 8th April, with various activities in Dimarhiou Square and inside the steki (see the event’s poster here).

Solidarity with all arrestees and prosecuted! Hands off free spaces!
Against state violence!

sources i, ii, iii

Update, 23.26 (GMT+2): Indymedia Athens reports that arrestees held in the police headquarters in Veria were a total of 26 people, who were charged with ‘resisting and insulting authority’, as well as ‘possession of weapons’. Already, 10 of them have been released after appearing before the prosecutor (5 people at a time). It is estimated that all arrestees will be released in a few hours. A trial date was set for May 29th, 2012.