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(en) An interview by the France CNT-F with the International Secretary of the Greece ESE (union of libertarian syndicalists)

Date Sun, 14 Dec 2008 16:45:04 +0200

An interview by the CNT-F with Yannis - the International Secretary of the ESE
(union of libertarian syndicalists - Eleftheriaki Sindikalistiki Enosi),
discussing the death of Alexis Grigoropoulos and the events that have followed.
> Can you describe the events surrounding the death of Alexis again?
< For the last three years the Greek police's strategy in Exârcheia, a district
famous for popular struglle and home to many students., young people and
libertarians, has been one of provocation. Police patrols have become more
frequent recently and on a daily basis the police are insulting the people in
the area. When it comes to the murder of this 15 year-old boy all the witnesses
(residents, passers-by etc) state that the police were provoking a group of
young people by insulting them. When the youths responded the police parked
their car and then returned to where the youths were sitting then they fired
three times. The witnesses state that the murderer fired directly at Alexis who
died on the pavement.

What are the tactics of the Greek police?

Since the end of the dictatorship of the Colonels dozens of Greeks have been
killed by the police. Amongst the dead are: Mikalis Kaltezas, a 15 year-old
anarchist militant killed in 1985; Issidoros Issidoropoulos, a 16 year-old
extreme left-wing militant killed in 1976; Koumis and Kanellopoulou, two
demonstrators and also a number of immigrants and people from ethnic minorities
(gipsies and Thracian turks etc). Recently the police murdered a young disabled
boy. At the same time we're seeing countless cases of militants, demonstrators
and immigrants being tortured by the police; as well as a systematic and
unjustifiied use of tear gas bombs and other gas weapons at all demonstrations.
I'll add a final note, a police officer has never been killed by a demonstrator,
furthermore no police officer, has ever spent more than two and a half years in

What is going on, and where?

The revolt has exploded in virtually all the regional capitals. In Salonika,
Agrinion, Yannena and across Crete there have been clashes between police and
demonstrators. In Patras the police attacked demonstrators accompanied by a
battalion of armed neo-nazis, so-called "outraged citizens". Every day in Athens
there are two or three different demonstrations, with tens of thousands of
participants. In solidarity 20000 demonstrators attended the funeral of
Alexandros Grigoropoulos. This isn't about "blind rebellion" like the media
claim, on the contrary it is a real movement and one that continues... The
targets of the demonstrators are the banks and the multinational enterprises
that are the symbols of poverty and suffering. The revolt unites young and old,
militants and the non-politicised. It is the largest revolt in Greece since the
Second World War and the Civil War which folowed in Greece. It could be the
largest revolt in the western world for the last forty years. For us this revolt
is a completely legitimate response.

Apart from the murder of this young man, what are the other reasons for this
explosion of protests?

We are the first post-war generation to experience worse economic and employment
conditions than our parents. In Greece we often speak of the "700 euro
generation". Without a doubt this slogan doesn't express how bad things are. In
fact the majority of people under 30 live on less than 700 euros a month. The
only jobs available are casual or short term, a lot of people are forced to work
on the black market. The bosses fire people, blaming them for the crisis, mean
while Greek Capital is benefiting from the massive profits gained from the
pillage of the Balkans.
The situation is worse for immigrants who suffer from racist laws, widespread
xenophobia and attacks from nazi groups which go unpunished. We must underline
that immigrants have played a large part in this movement and, as usual, they
have been the main victims of state repression. Of the 400 arrests so far, half
have been of immigrants. As far as politics and corruption goes I can briefly
sum up the situation for you: Recently there was a scandal as the 'Vatopedio'
affair saw the government giving land to the church. Two families, the
Papandreous of the centre-left and the Caramanlis of the right have governed
Greece for 34 of the last 40 years. To this we can add the disastrous
mismanagement of the fires in 2007 and of the aftermath; the attacks on Social
Security by the Socialists in 2001 and by the right in 2006. And the
privatisation of the electricity company, the ports and of Olympic Airways.

*Interview by Jérémie, International Secretary of the CNT.
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