[Marxism] Will strike and riots bring Greek government down?
walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 11 09:28:30 MST 2008
Amy Goodman had an interview today with another
activist, from the Socialist Workers Party of
Greece, giving more background on this struggle:
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
Will strike and riots bring Greek government down?
Five days of protests, and a nationwide strike Wednesday,
have shaken the conservative ruling party.
By Nicole Itano | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the December 11, 2008 edition
Athens - On an Athens street lined with luxury stores, a small pile
of flowers has been laid outside a store owned by the mother of the
15-year-old boy killed by a policeman's bullet Dec. 6. Elsewhere on
the street, shops are shut and boarded, victims of five days of
The violent unrest in Greece – the worst since World War II – may
have begun with Alexandros Grigoropoulos' death, but it has now
widened into tide of anger over government corruption and perceived
economic failure. Greece's ruling center-right New Democracy Party is
now fighting to bring order to the streets – and for its own
political survival. Calls for the government to step down are
"The ruling party is numb. It was caught by surprise and in no way
responded as it ought to," says Thanos Veremis, a professor at the
University of Athens. "And the opposition ... politicians are fueling
the anger" for their own gain.
On Wednesday, a nationwide strike led by unions brought the country
to a standstill and led to further clashes outside Greece's
Parliament. The strike was called long before the events of Dec. 6 to
protest the government's economic policies and demand better pensions
and higher pay. But the unions are benefitting from anger over the
"The Greek people are very furious about the things that have
happened," says Maria Yaniris, an opera singer who joined the
protesters on Wednesday. "Everything started with the death of the
15-year-old boy ... but personally I don't think this was the basic
"As a country, we have big problems," she says. "Young people have to
face a life that is full of uncertainties."
The bulk of the violence is being caused by a comparatively small
number of people, mainly anarchists and other radical
anti-establishment parties who have now been joined by university
students. These loosely organized groups have clashed with police for
decades, since the days when Greece was ruled by a military junta
between 1967 and 1974.
But the killing of Alexandros escalated that simmering conflict to a
new level and angered many youths, who are pessimistic about their
future. "The youth are in a bad and worsening situation," says Peter
Linardos, an economist for Greece's trade unions. "I've been saying
for years that ... we were going to have an explosion."
In the initial days of the conflict, the police took a restrained
stance, generally refusing to engage with protesters. But on Tuesday,
police frustration began to show. In one incident, police fired
warning shots into the air.
Many Greeks are dismayed by the scale of the violence. But there is
nevertheless widespread outrage at the police, who are seen as guilty
of a pattern of abuse. Skepticism dates to the junta, when police
were responsible for torturing people with left-leaning political
But the circumstances of boy's death have fed that mistrust. Police
say he was killed accidentally by a warning shot that ricocheted, and
a lawyer for the policemen involved now says a government autopsy
confirms that story. But claims that he was shot in cold blood after
an argument have become the dominant political narrative here.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with leaders of rival
parties Tuesday, calling on them to support his effort to bring order
back to the country's streets.
George Papandreou, leader of Greece's Socialist party, emerged from
the meeting with calls for early elections.
Desperate to show that it can restore order, Greece's government is
sounding a harder note. But the arsenal available to authorities is
limited. Greek police have tear gas and shields, for example, but no
rubber bullets. And so far, the public is still wary of giving police
a freer hand.
December 11, 2008
Uprising in Greece: Protests, Riots,
Strikes Enter 6th Day
Following Fatal Police Shooting of Teen
Protests, riots and clashes with police have overtaken Greece for the
sixth straight day since the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy
in Athens Saturday night. One day after Wednesday’s massive general
strike over pension reform and privatization shut down the country,
more than a hundred schools and at least fifteen university campuses
remain occupied by student demonstrators. A major rally is expected
Friday, and as solidarity protests spread to neighboring Turkey, as
well as Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Denmark and the Netherlands,
dozens of arrests have been made across the continent. We speak to a
student activist and writer from Athens.
Protests, riots, and clashes with police have overtaken Greece for
the sixth straight day since the fatal police shooting of a teenage
boy in Athens Saturday night. One day after Wednesday"s massive
general strike over pension reform and privatization shut down the
country, more than a 100 schools and at least 15 university campuses
remain occupied by student demonstrators. A major rally is expected
Friday and as solidarity protests spread to neighboring Turkey as
well as Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Denmark, and the Netherlands,
dozens of arrests have made across the continent.
On Wednesday two police officers involved in Saturday"s shooting were
arrested and one was charged with murder. But anger remains high over
the officers failure to express remorse at the student"s death. The
police officers claim the bullet that killed Alexandros Grigoropoulos
was fired in self-defence and the death was an accident caused by a
The unrest this week has been described as the worst since the end of
the military dictatorship in 1974 and could cost the already weakened
Greek economy an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars. It has
also shaken the country"s conservative government that has a narrow
one-person majority in Parliament. The socialist opposition has
increased calls for Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to quit and call
new elections, ignoring his appeals for national unity.
We’re joined by a student activist and writer from Athens. Hes with
the Greek Socialist Workers Party and is a graduate student in
political philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.
Nikos Lountos, Greek activist and writer. He’s with the Socialist
Workers Party in Greece and a graduate student in political
philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.
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