Greece: Antifascist war rages in the city of Patras; four comrades arrested and threatened with felony charges


The morning of Monday, October 1st, saw another police operation under the name ‘Xenios Zeus’ against immigrants and refugees, this time in the port city of Patras. There was heavy police presence in the city since the day before, including anti-riot squadrons from Athens and other cities, as well as the general police inspector of Southern Greece.

Anarchists and supporters gathered in Parartima squat, in the city centre, trying to hold an open space of resistance and host persecuted immigrants, while they also carried out counter-informative actions against the ongoing racist pogrom. An evening assembly for the coordination of actions was held in the squat on the same day; by then, comrades in Patras were reporting hundreds of detentions of immigrants, either undocumented or not.

Anarchists and other antifascists realized solidarity actions against the hunt for immigrants and refugees, such as a motorcycle demo, PA’s gatherings at squares, distribution of leaflets in open-air markets, along with the creation of a welcoming space in Parartima squat for all persecuted resisters. At the same time, they called for a large demonstration.

On October 2nd, some 350 comrades took to the streets of Patras, for an evening march which lasted more than two hours, passing through several neighbourhoods. The main banner read ‘Against the fascist operation “Xenios Zeus” – Solidarity to immigrants’ and the chanted slogans included: ‘Poverty, misery, cannibalism; this is crisis and capitalism’.

On October 4th, the following text was released (in Greek) by several immigrants on the occasion of ongoing events in Patras (and elsewhere):

We are a group of immigrants who decided to write this text as a message to Greeks, and thus call for solidarity because of the problems we are facing. We left our homelands for many different reasons, such as wars, poverty, oppression, fascism. We came here with a desire to travel to Europe, having dreams for the future.

In Greece, amid crisis, we are experiencing unemployment and have no papers that would allow us to work legally. We don’t have what’s necessary to get by, such as food, medical care, shelter. The legitimacy of the fascist party, and the fact that every day they become more, causes problems in our lives. We are attacked by some policemen who are fascists, too. Even immigrants who obtain the red card (temporary residence permit of asylum seekers) cannot exercise their lawful rights. Human rights are not respected, and many immigrants lose their lives attempting to cross the borders or staying on the streets. We know well that, as much as fascism exists in Greece, there also exist good people who know what human life means.

Today, right now, the State applies the operation ‘Xenios Zeus’ here in Patras. Under this police operation—which picks up immigrants in no time with many extended crackdowns—300 immigrants were caught yesterday and taken to concentration camps that are closed as a prison. Today, we ask the local people, who know what life and freedom mean, to show us solidarity in order to stop this inhumane operation. We have experienced many problems in our country, and we face numerous unjust, fascist and inhumane laws till this day.

We cannot bear it any more. Thank you for your interest.

Following these developments closely, comrades tried not to leave the mass detentions of immigrants, nor the Nazi threat unanswered. Although activists did send a clear message of resistance and readiness to fight back, their instant protests were unable to halt a state mechanism that violently kidnaps people wherever they are. Nevertheless, the lurking parastatal gangs waiting to attack defenseless people—with the friendly participation of the Greek police—were hindered to a large extent by the constant presence of antifascists in the streets.

In the early hours of Thursday, October 11th, a gang of the Golden Dawn (Chrissi Avgi) met in a grill house called ‘Psitalonia’, at the square of Psila Alonia, and prepared to attack antifascist comrades in the vicinity (near Maragopouleio squat). Supporters moved immediately to the area to defend the comrades, and all together crushed the neo-Nazis when the latter attempted to attack them. The Golden Dawn members retreated in disarray, and the store which serves as their haunt was smashed. Specifically, the ‘Psitalonia’ grill house is owned by thugs who have a direct connection to the party’s leading core of the local branch. Besides, it is a known meeting place for fascist scum, related to attacks on immigrants in the neighbourhood. The Golden Dawn party officially denies presence of its mercenaries in the incident.

The State’s vindictiveness for its whipped dogs was soon turned into mania, as the cops detained nine people on a blind basis, in another location and time, approximately one and a half hour after the events. Five of the arrested comrades were released after many hours. However, the other four were held hostages on felony charges of attempted murder because they were identified as ‘suspects’ involved in the clash by none other than some Golden Dawn members. Therefore, the case is based on fascists’ allegations, who have fabricated the accusations together with the cops and the judiciary.

On Friday, October 12th, solidaritarians called a gathering at 12pm in front of Parartima squat, on the corner of Corinthou and Aratou streets, for a protest march to Patras courts on Gounari street, where the four arrested comrades would be examined by an investigating judge. Nearly 400 comrades protested outside the courthouse, shouting out loud slogans in solidarity with the four arrestees. However, the hearing was postponed for Monday, October 15th (at 8.30am and later, at 17.00pm). The four comrades remained in temporary custody and were transferred into the police headquarters of Ermou street, in Patras.

We must fight state and parastate attacks! Hands off our comrades!