Athens: Protest in defense of the Prosfygika housing complex, threatened with sell-off and a massive forced eviction

Communities of the future are built in squatted neighbourhoods –SY.KA.PRO (‘Assembly of Squatted Prosfygika’)

“The sole mission of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund is to maximize the proceeds of the Hellenic Republic from the development and/or sale of assets. (…) Privatization is not seen as a mere sale of assets; rather, it is the key element in re-establishing credibility, itself the basic pre-requisite for Greece’s return to global capital markets.” —TAIPED

Earlier this year, the TAIPED (so-called Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund; founded in 2011) announced its plans to sell many of its current possessions on behalf of the Greek State. These privatization/gentrification plans affect, among others, large part of the Prosfygika (‘Refugee buildings’), a housing complex on Alexandras Avenue in Athens – which consists of eight blocks that were constructed back in the 1930s to house some of the refugees from Asia Minor, after the 1923 compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey. More than a decade ago, the Greek State bought most of the apartments, intending to tear them down and redevelop the particular real estate. In 2008, residents won a court fight against immediate eviction and demolition of the Prosfygika, which were declared a protected site later on. Nevertheless, 138 government-owned apartments which are now squatted in these buildings are among the assets that were handed over to the TAIPED lately, which has committed to transfer all such properties to the private sector.

The district has at least three buildings fit for demolition: the Court of Appeals (Efeteio), the Athens Police Headquarters (GADA), and the Supreme Court of Greece (Areios Pagos, which was built in the place of the notorious Averoff prison); all in the close proximity of the Prosfygika. Today, some residents own small apartments in the ‘Refugee buildings’, others rent their homes, while many flats are squatted by both migrant and Greek-born people in need of living space. According to the SY.KA.PRO (assembly of some of the residents who have occupied apartments in the Prosfygika and hold self-organized activities) more than 500 people are currently living in the housing blocks, which can be considered a proletarian residential area.

Here is footage from a recent demonstration, attended by the SY.KA.PRO and people in solidarity on June 7th, 2014, in the district of Ampelokipoi. Some of the slogans chanted by protesters were:

“If we don’t resist in all neighbourhoods, our cities will become modern prisons”

“Listen up you cops and bosses, hands off the Prosfygika”

“Solidarity is people’s weapon, war against the bosses’ war”

“Let’s set fire to the court of appeals, let’s bomb the police headquarters, to make a park for the Prosfygika in their place”

“10, 100, 1000 squats against a world of organized sepsis”