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(en) Greek, Joined demonstration of Bulgarian, Greek and Turkish anarchists in Alexandropolis, 24.08.3008

Date Sat, 18 Oct 2008 13:36:36 +0200

On 24.08.2008, in the greek city of Alexandropolis, there has been a
demonstration against the planned oil pipe-line Burgas-Alexandropolis and the
gold-mine construction project. The main organizers were the autonomous groups
"AnarchistResistance" (Sofia), Utopia A.D. (Komotini), as well as some activists
from Turkish collectives. ---- The demonstration was organized here, despite the
fact that none of the collectives is from the city, for the following reasons.
---- Firstly, the oil pipe-line will end precisely in this city, therefore it
will be the one that would be affected mostly, from the negative effects of the
project. Secondly, the anarchist movement in Alexandropolis is very weak in the
city, and with one demonstration we can support it.

Lastly, the the meeting of the global activist network - PGA(Peoples' Global
Action) had just ended in the same city, so we decided that some of the
remaining foreign activists will be able to attend the demo.

Now we would have to pinpoint what links the already mentioned
collectives, and why they are the organizers of the demo. It is true that
some of us are directly affected from the pipe-line and gold-mine
projects, such as Utopia A.D. (Komotini is in the vicinity of
Alexandropolis), but more importantly it is the closesness of the
political and practical understandings among the collectives. We think,
that all social struggles are interlinked, in one way or another, and it
is of immense importance that we help with each other, even if we are not
directly affected. Let's stop repeating words like "solidarity" and
"internationalism", as if they were some kind of a mantra/spell, and to
put them into practice instead. We have to acknowledge the fact that we
have good mutual relation and that with we trust each other. We met the
people from Komotini in person this week, but our communication with them
pre-dates this meeting, thanks to the PGA mailing lists. We have known
some of our turkish comrades in person for quite some time now, much
before this meeting now. Nearly an year ago, they helped us make a
turkish-language section in our web-site.

The preparation for the demo started several days in advance. We
collectively put down some money for printing of the propaganda. We
started with the details. One day before the demo a group of six people
was formed - two from Bulgaria, two from turkey, a boy from France, and a
woman from Greece. They stuck posters informing about the coming event,
all over the main street, and handed our small leaflets. Under the poster
text, the names of the collectives organizing the event were put down. We
had put several hundreds posters and we handed out more leaflets.

The demo started 7 p.m. We never asked anyone for a permission. We were
around 50 people. Apart from the already mentioned 3 countries, there were
people from Germany, France, Lithuania and so on. We carried flags, as
well as a banner saying - "Oil, State, Death" in Bulgarian, Turkish, and
Greek. Apart from that we handed a newly made leaflet, explaining the
problems in detail. We stayed near the light-house for about an hour.
During this time lots of TV camera-men came to film. The Greek comrades
told them directly that they can film only the banner and that if they see
that their faces had been filmed on tv, the next day they will be infront
of the TV station and the people that were filming will be in some
trouble. Soon we realized that a police van had parked down a block
nearby, 6 policemen in uniforms were outside, possibly inside there were
more. They never intervened during the evening, only some civil cops that
were hanging around were recognized. After this around 100 military passed
by us, training for an army parade. We met them with raised flags and
laughter. Around 8pm we decided to start the actual demo on the main
pedestrian street. It went on for an hour. We chanted many slogans, mainly
in greek and english: "Build more hospitals, because cancer comes from the
mines", "Our passion for freedom is stronger than your prisons", "No Oil,
No Gold - our lives cannot be sold". The most important english language
slogan was - "No pipeline, no gold-mine, its a crime, don't be blind". The
people from Greece said there were many turkish and bulgarian speaking
people in town, as well as a lot of russion tourists, who understand the
bulgarian words. This was confirmed when an aged couple (woman and a man)
stoped us and started speaking Bulgarian. We explained them shortly, what
the problem is.

For us from "Anarchist Resistance, this demo is effective in every respect
- accumulated international experience is always useful. Officially we
never took responsibility for the international event - the No Border
between Greece and Bulgaria in 2005. On the Greek side it was possible to
see some disappointment. The demo was small for the greek standards, but
historically it is the largest anarchist event in in Alexandropolis. But
this is not improtant and it is not this that disappointed the people from
Greece. 50 or 500 does not matter, as much as a few Greek anarchists were
from Alexandropolis itself. Apparently until the people from the city do
not solve their internal problems, for which we found out in the final
days, it will not be easy to strengthen the movement. Nevertheless there
is optimism - the town people around were really interested in the
problems arising from the development projects. For example when were were
at the light-house many cars pulled over to ask us for a leaflet. Many
young people and kids saw living anarchists for first time, and who knows,
they might get interested in our ways of direct action.

We are certain that this will not be our final joined action with our
friends from Turkey and Greece, and we are already considering new ideas.
Our struggle is common and we are firmly decided to stick with it.

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