'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Greece: Strikes, Clashes and Intensified Austerity 

UPDATE 2: Greek unions are saying that the strike today was the largest in the country's history with 500,000 people participating in it, with the media reporting 100,000. Significantly, a BBC reporter familiar with Athens said that he had never seen so many people on the streets. Meanwhile, others note that the Greek government is showing a shocking inability to control the crowds. Follow tweets on the Greek protests here. Is there a Pinochet to restore order, and impose discipline upon the working class so that the banks can be paid?

UPDATE 1: Updates from Occupied London over the course of the day (start from the bottom and read up):

17:52 PM Syntagma has been completely evacuated by the police. A huge, diverse crowd has attacked the Bank of Greece, trashing it inside. Large groups of demonstrators are trying to regroup in Syntagma. There is an urgent need for medical help at the square.

17:42 PM Cops try to scoop clear Syntagma, attacking from different sides. There is DELTA/DIAS at the Olympiou Dios columns, blocking off people from leaving

16:55 PM Generalised clashes all around Syntagma at the moment. The bulk of the demo has been pushed away form the sq.

16:45 PM A huge black block is attacked massively by police at the moment in front of the Ministry of Finance in Syntagma Sq.

16:22 PM Reltevely passive attitide of the police and reletevly calm situation now all around Syntagma. The masses of people remain there. banners of I do not Pay movement and base unions are in front of the police in the Unkown Soldier.

16.09 PM Step by step police units are occupying the Unkown Soldier Square in front of the Parliament, pushing people back towards Syntagma Square but they meet strong opposition and do not manage to move much forward, demonstrators respond with stones and head to head clashes any time a police unit tries to move forwrad. Thousands still there, just a couple of metres away from the police cordons and attack to them.

15:44 PM Clashes all around the centre of Athens. Tear gases, shock grenades mainly on Akadimias st. but burning barricades are all around the centre. In Syntagma several hundernd of demonstrators attacked with stones and sticks in co-ordinated way against the cops, police uses chemical gases en mase there, but people do not retreat and hold their posiitions in front of the parliament defending themselves, however a part of the Unkown soldier is occupied by the police now. Thick black smoke can be seen in front of the University Refectory.

15:19 PM Police operation along Akadimias st. head to head clashes with the police there. Clashes on the Uknown Soldier Square on the bottom of the staircase leading to the parliament building. Police operation takes place there as well, as they are trying to push the people towards Syntagma Square, stones and molotov cocktails against the police and clashes in front of the parliament carries on.

15:05 PM Base Union and Anarchist blocks are enetring now Syntagma Square from the lower part, from Stadiou st.

14:56 PM Clashes in front of the parliament building still going on, on Panepistimiou stthere are clashes, taxi drivers union along fellow protesters hold a barricade on Akadimias st. and fighting with the cops, at the moment the only street leading to Syntagma is Stadiou st. Tear gases and chemical gases used by the police in Syntagma but people are not leaving the area.

14.44 PM Gas shot straight into crowd at Panepistimiou metro. Earlier on Patison, anarchists attached the government money-printing building.

14.43 PM In front of the parliament people now have reached the bottom of the staircases that leads to the main building of the Parliament. In front of the parliament again on the other side, stones, molotov cocktails and other items are thrown to the police units guarding the parliament. Tension goes high. Police does not dare to attack, while Syntagma and the Unkown Solider square are occupied by protesters-strikers.

INITIAL POST: Reports from Greece are confused, but indicate that the government has prevailed on a preliminary vote for another round of austerity, with the final one scheduled for tomorrow, while police and protesters clash on the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki. Police have cleared protesters from the Syntagma Square in front of the parliament building after wounding 15 people, 6 of them seriously. Prior to the vote, protesters came close to storming the building. Tweets from Theodora Oikonomides give an impression of the intensity of the protests in Athens. For updates, consider the Guardian live blog as well. lenin has a good analysis of the situation here. A 48 hour strike commenced prior to the vote in Parliament continues.

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