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Hunger strikes in Greek prisons

A brief chronicle of the past few days:

While the Greek society is watching the post-election fables of the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government in an almost dormant state, incarcerated anarchists and combative prisoners in the galleys of democracy have once again decided to clash with the Power and its laws, using hunger strike and abstention from prison food as weapons of their struggle.

On February 27, 2015, Giorgos Sofianidis, social prisoner in the E1 wing of Domokos maximum security prison, begins a hunger strike demanding to be transferred back to Koridallos prison, where he was held until New Year’s Eve, so he can continue his studies at the Technological Education Institute of Piraeus and the Institute of Professional Training of Koridallos prison. At the same time, along with his fellow inmates, he claims the definite abolition of type C prisons. On the same day, all other prisoners in the E1 special wing of Domokos – anarchists Nikos Maziotis, Kostas Gournas, Yannis Naxakis, communist Dimitris Koufontinas, and social prisoners Alexandros Meletis, Konstantinos Meletis, Vasilis Varelas, Mohamed Said Elchibah, Alexandros Makadasidis – declare prison food abstention, stating they will continue their mobilisations. Besides, in early February, a joint protest was carried out by inmates in Domokos prison in response to yet another death of a prisoner because of medical negligence.

On March 2, prisoners that share a common political context of demands launch a hunger strike, mostly aiming at abolishing the 2001 and 2004 antiterrorism laws, articles 187 and 187A of the penal code, the ‘hoodie law’, the legal framework for type C prisons, the prosecutorial provision of forcible taking of DNA samples, and demanding that the convicted 17N member Savvas Xiros be released from prison on health grounds. Those who announce their participation in the collective mobilisation are Kostas Gournas and Dimitris Koufontinas with a joint statement, Nikos Maziotis (type C prison of Domokos), and five comrades from the Network of Imprisoned Fighters (DAK); namely, Antonis Stamboulos (Larissa prison), Tasos Theofilou (Domokos prison), Fivos Harisis, Argyris Ntalios and Giorgos Karagiannidis (Koridallos prison). The rest of the participants in the Network of Imprisoned Fighters will join the hunger strike later on. On March 2, Mohamed-Said Elchibah also initiates hunger strike in the type C prison of Domokos. A day later, two women incarcerated in the female section of Neapoli men’s prison in Lasithi, Crete, declare their abstention from prison food in solidarity with political prisoners on hunger strike.

Meanwhile, since February 28, police have arrested several people in relation to the case of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire attempted escape from Koridallos prison: Christos Rodopoulos, anarchist fugitive Angeliki Spyropoulou, Athena Tsakalou (mother of the Tsakalos brothers) and a friend of hers, a friend of the brother of Giorgos Polidoros, as well as the wife of Gerasimos Tsakalos. Therefore, on March 2, CCF imprisoned members Olga Ekonomidou, Michalis Nikolopoulos, Giorgos Nikolopoulos, Haris Hadjimihelakis, Gerasimos Tsakalos, Christos Tsakalos, Giorgos Polidoros, Panagiotis Argirou, Damiano Bolano and Theofilos Mavropoulos announce a hunger strike until death or until their family members and the friends of their relatives are immediately released. Angeliki Spyropoulou, from the holding cells at police headquarters, also goes on hunger strike with the same demand. On March 4, anarchist Panos Michalakoglou, held in pretrial detention in the prison of Nigrita in Serres, initiates abstention from prison food in solidarity with CCF hunger strikers. Both friends of relatives of CCF members are released, however the bastards Nikopoulos and Asprogerakas, special appellate judges in charge of the investigation, order that the mother and the wife of Gerasimos Tsakalos be remanded to prison. Additionally, two more arrestees are sent to pretrial detention; namely, hunger striker Angeliki Spyropoulou (Koridallos prison) and Christos Rodopoulos (Domokos prison). Furthermore, on March 6, Christos Polidoros (brother of CCF member Giorgos) is also arrested and held by the antiterrorist unit.

Giorgos Polidoros and Christos Tsakalos have explained that the ten political prisoners of CCF support the other collective hunger strike that’s currently underway in Greek prisons, emphasising that the latest machinations of the antiterrorism agency against their family members are an extreme consequence of antiterrorism legislation. Revolutionary Struggle member Nikos Maziotis has also stated that, regardless of the different context of the hunger strikes’ demands, he supports the struggle of CCF prisoners.

Faced with this rapidly developing situation while waiting for further updates, it’s up to those of us on the outside who fight to abolish the prison society in all of its aspects and crush all Power, to support each and every prisoner in struggle for the immediate fulfillment of their demands, and try to bring about the complete destabilisation of the system of domination. Let us not forget that what we fight for is the total destruction of the State/Capital, and that struggles for partial demands are used as a means of destabilisation to this end, not as an end in itself; otherwise, there’s always the danger of being assimilated into reformism. Let us multiply the actions of agitation and attack against institutions, persons and symbols of Greek democracy inside and outside the borders. Let us make solidarity into praxis.

in Greek (6/3/2015), Spanish, French,
Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, German

Important updates:

On March 9th, anarchist prisoner Grigoris Sarafoudis – who participates in the Network of Imprisoned Fighters (DAK) – joined the hunger strike.

On March 10th, Christos Polidoros (brother of CCF member Giorgos) was released by police.

On March 11th, communists from Turkey & Kurdistan incarcerated in Greek prisons started a rotating hunger strike in solidarity with all other political prisoners on hunger strike.

On March 16th, anarchist prisoners Dimitris Politis and Andreas-Dimitris Bourzoukos, participants in DAK, began hunger strike.

Since March 17th, CCF prisoner on hunger strike Panagiotis Argirou was transferred to a hospital outside prison.

On March 19th, CCF prisoner on hunger strike Theofilos Mavropoulos needed to be hospitalised outside the prison.

Since March 20th, anarchist prisoner on hunger strike Fivos Harisis, participant in DAK, was moved to a hospital outside prison.

On March 21st, communist prisoner on hunger strike Dimitris Koufontinas (convicted 17N member) needed to be hospitalised outside the prison.

On March 23rd, anarchist prisoner on hunger strike Kostas Gournas (convicted Revolutionary Struggle member) was transferred to a hospital outside prison.

On March 23rd, anarchist prisoner Yannis Michailidis, participant in DAK, joined the hunger strike.

On March 24th, CCF prisoners on hunger strike Haris Hadjimihelakis, Giorgos Polidoros, Gerasimos Tsakalos and Olga Ekonomidou were transferred to hospitals outside the prisons.

On March 25th, CCF prisoners on hunger strike Damiano Bolano and Michalis Nikolopoulos needed to be hospitalised outside the prison.

On March 25th, after one more inmate died at Domokos maximum security facility, prisoners caused extensive damage to the E1 wing of type C prison.

On March 25th, it became known that social prisoner Giorgos Inglessis has been on a hunger strike since March 3rd in support of all the demands of political prisoners who are on hunger strike since March 2nd.

On March 26th, the comrades who participate in DAK (Network of Imprisoned Fighters) called for an international day of action for the hunger strikers in Greek prisons – date set for April 1st.

On March 27th, Dimitris Koufontinas suspended hunger strike.

On March 27th, anarchist prisoner on hunger strike Argyris Ntalios, participant in DAK, was admitted to a hospital outside prison.

On March 31st, the mother of CCF member Gerasimos Tsakalos was granted conditional release, but his wife was denied release from prison.

On April 1st, Athena Tsakalou (mother of the Tsakalos brothers) explained in an open letter that she refuses to walk out of prison until her daughter-in-law is also granted release.

On April 1st, Kostas Gournas suspended hunger strike.

On April 2nd, CCF prisoner on hunger strike Michalis Nikolopoulos was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Since April 2nd, Revolutionary Struggle prisoner on hunger strike Nikos Maziotis needed to be hospitalised outside the prison.

On April 3rd, Evi Statiri (the remanded companion of Gerasimos Tsakalos) published an open letter asking the CCF prisoners to stop their hunger strike, and Athena Tsakalou to accept her release from prison.

Since April 3rd, anarchist prisoner on hunger strike Antonis Stamboulos, participant in DAK, was admitted to a hospital outside prison.

On April 4th, the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire imprisoned members and anarchist prisoner Angeliki Spyropoulou announced the end of their hunger strike, anticipating that the mother and the wife of Gerasimos Tsakalos will soon be released from prison.

On April 5th, anarchist prisoner Nikos Maziotis, member of the Revolutionary Struggle, stopped his hunger strike.

On April 6th, Athena Tsakalou finally walked out of prison.

On April 9th, anarchist prisoner Tasos Theofilou, participant in DAK, suspended hunger strike.

The remaining eight anarchist prisoners of DAK, Andreas-Dimitris Bourzoukos, Antonis Stamboulos, Argyris Ntalios, Dimitris Politis, Fivos Harisis, Giorgos Karagiannidis, Grigoris Sarafoudis and Yannis Michailidis, as well as communist prisoners from Turkey & Kurdistan incarcerated in Greek prisons, continued the hunger strike.

On April 10th, anarchist prisoner on hunger strike Yannis Michailidis, participant in DAK, was moved to a hospital outside prison.

On April 12th, anarchist prisoner on hunger strike Giorgos Karagiannidis, participant in DAK, was admitted to a hospital outside prison.

On April 14th, anarchist prisoner on hunger strike Dimitris Politis, participant in DAK, needed to be hospitalised outside the prison.

On April 18th, the eight anarchist prisoners of DAK Antonis Stamboulos, Giorgos Karagiannidis, Fivos Harisis, Argyris Ntalios, Grigoris Sarafoudis, Andreas-Dimitris Bourzoukos, Dimitris Politis and Yannis Michailidis announced the end of their hunger strike, considering that a significant portion of their demands were partially fulfilled.

We wish all rebellious prisoners who conducted hunger strikes a complete and speedy recovery.

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