Communiqué (29/6) by Italian comrades who were arrested during the December 2009 demonstration in Athens:
THE DISTURBERS OF COMMUNAL PEACE
On the night of December 6th, 2008, two police officers on patrol in the streets of Exarchia, popular neighbourhood of Athens, shoot to death the 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos. In the following hours, the rage of people in Exarchia is unleashed, giving life to numerous spontaneous protest marches through the neighbourhood’s streets, thus sparking—with the diffusion of this news in an already explosive social situation—a true generalized revolt, which spreads throughout the capital and then also nationwide, putting the Hellenic forces of order under strain for more than a month. Also, numerous solidarity initiatives are being reported in major European cities and beyond.
Athens, December 2009; many initiatives have organized protests across Greece on the occasion of the first anniversary of Alexis’ death. Saturday, December 5th; a gathering is organized by the neighbourhood assembly in Exarchia close to the place where the boy was killed. The remembrance is still vivid in people’s memories, and the rage mounts. The gathering is followed by a spontaneous march through the neighbourhood’s streets. The district is heavily loaded with ‘Delta’, an anti-riot motorized unit purposely instituted in order to quell street demonstrations in the light of last year’s riots. Following clashes, 12 people are arrested, including five Italian anarchists that are released the next Monday with various charges, including resistance, attempted bodily injuries to public officer, damage and disturbance of communal peace —an offense comparable to the Italian equivalent of public nuisance, which however provides for heavy penalties under a law enacted ad hoc in Greece shortly before, to penalize dissent in the streets.
On November 14th, 2011, the hearing of the first-instance trial takes place in Athens against the arrestees of the 2009 clashes. At the hearing the accusation witnesses, namely the same Delta unit cops, present themselves in numbers and provide a version of the events clearly machinated and orchestrated in order to inflict the maximum possible sentences for the defendants, revealing the Greek State’s intention to strike an exemplary repressive blow. The heaviest sentences are ranging between 5 and 6 years in prison. The prosecutor’s fury goes further, as he declares the willingness to immediately apply for a European arrest warrant for the five Italian comrades. Also, the formulation of convictions singles out: for all, 4 years plus several months, from 12 to 24, depending on the defendant. The 4 years are in fact attributable to the single offense’s infringement of disturbance of communal peace.
On June 28th, 2012, the appeal hearing is due to take place in Athens. It is evident that the Greek State places heavy emphasis on this process to give a strong signal to all those who decide not to accept passively the destiny that somebody else has decided for them and that, in the face of police violence, choose to fight back and unleash their own rage towards those who daily exploit and oppress their existence. Certainly, the repression will not manage to curb the flooding river of social revolt that still inundates the Greek streets, and not only.
Anarchist Alessio Del Sordo—remanded in custody at Turin prison in the context of a series of prosecutions and pretrial incarcerations against NO TAV resisters—has written the following letter (30/6) concerning the aforementioned appeal trial in Greece that also implicated him:
WITH HEAD DOWN
On December 6th, 2008, in the neighbourhood of Exarchia in Athens, an infamous cop assassinated Alexis Grigoropoulos. Following such an infamy, throughout Greece, attacks were carried out against structures and people who wield Power. Street battles, ATMs uprooted, bank branches set on fire and police stations assaulted.
Exactly one year after his assassination, on December 5th, 2009, a few steps from the place where he was murdered, a spontaneous rally was repeatedly charged by anti-riot motorized units, the Delta corps, funded by the European Union and trained by Italian instructors.
That night, the raid of motorcyclist cops penetrated deep into the demonstration, managing to disperse most of the comrades, who fell back to the occupied Polytechnic, within a short distance. Those who failed to go back in the Polytechnic ended up encircled in the takedowns and sweeps of Delta cops.
Despite being arrested that day with four other Italian comrades, among a dozen of detainees, along with Greek comrades and Albanian boys (including two minors), I had the best time in the world. Unfortunately it’s not every day you get to throw cops off their bikes and help them land on the nose.
For these incidents the first-instance court imposed sentences of 5 to 6 years’ imprisonment. The appeal trial is set for June 28th, and certainly similar (suspended) sentences will be given. A story of routine repression added to so many others that have over the years affected and continue to affect comrades anywhere in the world.
How can we not think here, in Italy, from the media maxi-operations of the Special Operations Group (ROS), with the inquiry ‘boldness’ last in chronological order, to the convictions for street battles in Rome on October 15th, 2011, passing to the convictions in relation to the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001, which could become definitive on July 13th, 2012, or to the trial concerning the clashes in the Susa Valley last summer that will start soon?
The state play is always the same. In the judiciary’s intent, the high sentences serve as a warning, in part for punishing the enemy within that continues to disturb the social peace of the rich, in part for discouraging the indecisive, the least aware of the fact that the state order can be wiped out. Terrorizing in order to continue to govern is not only a paradigm of Machiavellian memory, but the modus operandi of Power. And the more fear will be spread, the more uncertainty will be instilled in our daily lives, the longer this state of affairs will persist. (Sorry for the polished Italian; I’ve been doing a lot of reading in the cage.)
But who is afraid of whom? Those who defend the landowners’ property are well aware of the potential that lies in the intensification of social conflict. Clashing with state troops, carrying out the sabotage on commercial and energy flows that maintain this society, acting directly against people and structures of Power are practices that will always make part of the theoretical and practical luggage of the exploited everywhere. And as we often say, if these practices should be generalized, they could hardly be reabsorbed.
In the meantime, however, it is of critical importance that the practice of direct action increases in quantity, quality and intensity. This is the very least we can do for our comrades that are sequestered, for now, in the State’s cages. It goes without saying that as many years in prison that might be stuck to us, as many of us that might be arrested, we will continue to lean the head over only to smash skull.
I take the opportunity from these lines to send my solidarity and my complicity to all the comrades searched, investigated and incarcerated in this latest wave of repression. Let’s hold strong and fight for permanent social conflict, for insurrection, for anarchy.
To write to him:
Alessio Del Sordo, c.c. via Pianezza 300, IT-10151 Torino