Mass mobilization in Greek prisons (since 13/9) – Rebellion in Koridallos prison (23/9)

Since September 13th, 2012 inmates in Greek prisons carry out yet another mass mobilization, which concerns legal regulations as well as the living conditions within the hellholes. Resistance includes prison food abstention and other forms of protest. In some facilities prisoners are in total strike, abstaining from day’s wages, while they conduct partial labour strike in others. In addition, in certain prisons the inmates’ participation in the mobilization is universal, whereas partial in others.

On Sunday evening, September 23rd – shortly after the solidarity rally from family members, friends and supporters, which had been called for 17.00pm outside Koridallos men’s prison –inmates rebelled, fighting not only for their dignity, but also for basic survival needs. Especially in the E wing, where prisoners refused to go back into their cells until at least 22.00pm, MAT anti-riot squadrons stormed the buffer zone (that separates the prison from the surrounding residential area) firing tear gas and stun grenades.

Earlier in the afternoon, approximately 50 people gathered in solidarity and stayed at the park on Grigoriou Lambraki Street for some time, before managing to reach a location close to the C prison wing (which we see only from a distance on New Year’s gatherings). Once the prisoners felt the presence of supporters, they began to chant slogans, banged the bars and doors, and burned objects that they threw out the windows.


Chants heard:
Solidarity is the people’s weapon; war to the bosses’ war’,
Give our children their rights…’,
The passion for freedom is stronger than all prison cells!

Specifically, the solidaritarians went up an alley to the opposite side of the women’s prison, turned to the right and left the soccer fields and the school behind, until they stood only 50 meters away from the external fence. A police squad did not stop the march, so people protested in an elevated position, having almost direct eye contact with the prisoners in combat. Inmates set fire to clothes, sheets, blankets, etc., clenched their fists from inside the cells, sang and whistled really loud the entire time supporters chanted slogans for freedom. Five to six heads per prison cell were visible (one must wonder how they even manage to sleep or move in such a tight space). The rally remained in the same place for half an hour, and when solidaritarians started to leave the prisoners were still burning sheets and shouting slogans, and raised their fists in salute. It seemed as though they would dismantle the prison bars with their own bare hands.

By 19.30pm the mutiny in Koridallos prisons was spread, with large sections of the B and C wings up in flames, and a fire in the A wing’s yard. Initial negotiations between some prisoners and the administration followed, but the situation was already very tense. Shortly after, a host of repressive forces arrived in the area (anti-riot squadrons, motorcycle units, patrol vehicles, paddy wagons, etc.), as the police were on alert awaiting a prosecutor’s order to intervene.

At about 20.00pm guards closed the doors of the D wing and around 21.00pm the A wing was locked as well. In the latter, prisoners had stayed an hour longer out of their cells, because the administration attempted to lock the doors an hour earlier than provided, and several inmates resisted factually at the time. At 21.40pm the men in the B and C wings were forced to go back to their cells, too.

However, unrest prevailed in the E wing, with the strike action continued. The prisoners trashed and smashed almost everything within that ward. They even slipped into the buffer zone and started throwing a rain of stones that fell on the street, outside the prison fence. Dozens of humanguards with batons and helmets ran to suppress the riot. At 21.30pm the alarm had already sounded. According to unconfirmed rumors that circulated at the time, and since many Arabic speakers are incarcerated in the E wing, the rage may have been triggered by the news of prior repression against a protest of Muslims at noon in Omonia, central Athens (in fact, a religious protest against anti-Islam movie filmed in the US that ‘offends the Prophet Muhammad’). Soon, the first tear gases were fired by the cops and resounded in the area. Anti-riot units that were deployed in the buffer zone of the prison unleashed violent attacks, in order to stifle the rebellion of prisoners in the E wing, from which it has also been said there were escape attempts.

From 23.00pm until 01.00am, both the neighbourhood (that was equally overwhelmed with chemicals) and the prisons were under a state of siege by heavy police forces, while several prisoners shouted ‘SET FIRE TO EVERYTHING…’ Within the outer perimeter of the facilities, there were all sorts of cops who repeatedly tried to inflict panic to the residents: every time people were standing out on their balconies, the pigs kept yelling at them, saying that the prisoners would come out and kill them, that there would be disturbances, that their homes would be damaged, and so forth.

Several residents remained on the balconies of nearby buildings despite intimidation. At 03.00am, people heard gun shots: prison guards that patrolled outside fired about 10 shots into the air. Soon thereafter, the rioting ended. But the prisoners’ struggle continues…

Next solidarity rally outside Koridallos prisons
Sunday, September 30th, at 17.00

Immediate fulfillment of prisoners’ demands

Solidarity with the State’s hostages in this fight
Freedom to all imprisoned men and women from the dungeons

related info in Greek i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, viii

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