Athens: Ten years of popular assemblies and self-organization of residents in the neighbourhoods of Petralona, Thissio and Koukaki

A few words on the projects of residents in the district:

The popular assembly of Petralona–Thissio–Koukaki stands as a collective activity since November 2002. After several interruptions throughout a journey of 10 years, in which we have dealt with various different matters, the assembly’s participants continue to meet, discuss, decide and act to date.

In these 10 years, we managed to resist and overthrow plans of the local and central administrative authority regarding smaller and bigger issues concerning our everyday lives, because some people always insisted on deciding for us without us.

The slogan ‘we take our lives in our hands’ took shape in different popular assemblies, depending on the thematic each time. We thus carried out interventions and actions that enabled us to prevent the commercialization and fencing of Filopappou Hill with railings (that was our first open popular assembly on November 3rd, 2002), we took action against the Sisser–Palco factory closure (it was our first popular assembly in a working area, in May 2003), we opposed to the installation of mobile phone masts and their effects on our health, we achieved the creation of the public park in the former Korean Market. We objected to the commercial ‘development’ that is taking place with all kind of night bars in Ano Petralona and Thissio, we protested against fare hikes claiming free public transport, we canceled the controlled parking system in Thissio. We took to the streets during the December 2008 revolt that broke out after the assassination of Alexis Grigoropoulos; we participated and co-organized a series of protests against the murderous attack on our immigrant neighbour and syndicalist worker Konstantina Kuneva.

On the occasion of the memoranda and plans of the IMF/ECB/EU Troika and its governmental partners, ever since the summer of 2011—and the period of the ‘indignants’—the residents’ assembly of Petralona–Thissio–Koukaki has come on strong with numerous actions at the local level, and has also taken part in the strike demonstrations in central Athens, always trying to re-determine the cause of its existence and keep up the fight.

In an attempt to face the increasing problems associated with food and health the assembly has been working in task groups that contributed to the operation of the ‘Social Space for Health’ since October 2011 in PIKPA squat (in the vicinity of ‘Asyrmatos’ in Ano Petralona), as well as the ‘Collective Space for Food’ since April 2012 in Ano Petralona.

Ten Years of Popular Assemblies and Self-organization in Petralona, Thissio and Koukaki

Image on the left: Residents and supporters demolish railings that separated ‘threes from other trees’ on Filopappou Hill in January 2003; several residents faced prosecution ever since these protests.

Image on the right: People’s assembly in April 2005 in front of the old vegetable market opposite of Gazi, formerly known as the ‘Korean Market’; a space of more than ten hectares which the Greek authorities were committed to expropriate, but intended to leave its expropriation incomplete so that owners would eventually sell off to corporations instead; however, residents managed to reclaim the space with a series of self-organized protests, until it finally became a park open to the public.

Documentary Screening & Discussion: The struggle of residents for free spaces on Filopappou Hill and in the Korean Market

Friday, November 2nd, 2012, at 20.00pm in the assembly’s Collective Space for Food, where people’s kitchens are regularly held. The space is located on Dorieon and Tantalou streets in Ano Petralona (very close to the metro station).