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(en) UK, London, Solidarity Actions with Thesaloniki 7 Hunger Strike by friends of Simon

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 22 Nov 2003 10:17:27 +0100 (CET)

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This morning over a dozen activists entered the Greek Embassy/Consulate building,
situated near Holland Park, London, in solidarity with the Thessaloniki seven,
and the hunger strike they are engaged in, now entering its sixty first day.
Refusing to leave until given an audience with the ambassador, a delegation was
taken into the embassy, where they were met by a diplomat; the delegation
demanded the release of the prisoners (whose case today to be reviewed,
following the intervention of the Greek justice minister) and that the
ambassador relay this demand to the authorities in Greece.
Notwithstanding the embassy official's avowal of discomfort with the way in
which the Greek police and judicial system has handled their cases, and despite
having viewed all the available video evidence, showing the Greek police
attempting to frame the seven during the EU demonstration in which they were
arrested, the official refused to be drawn on his personal opinion and stated
that his role was solely to relay information 'home'; that the judiciary system
in Greece was operating already on the bounderies of what it can do
independently and of what the Greek state will allow and that the actions of
the hunger strikers were pushing against these bounderies.

While stating that he would relay the concerns put to him to the relevant
parties and that the hunger strikers would have a fair trial, and
that 'something would be done' the official had to be made aware of the further
arrests that had been made and it was iterated to him that time was very much
of the essence.

Following the resolution of the morning's action a decision was taken to
increase the pressure on the Greek state's representatives in the UK.

Arriving at the tourist board's offices on Conduit Street, London,
approximately ten activists took the decision to occupy the offices.

Activists then made their way throughout the building as staff telephoned the
police. Several activists remained outside to contact media and to draw
attention to the occupation with a large banner and leaflets.

Before long the police arrived, four vans, one containing armed diplomatic
police, and one squad car, crowding the small area. Officers were noted in
conversation to say,
"Is it the Wombles, guv?"
"No, it's just some students."

It was observable that the police (initially gearing up with riot gear, before
the intervention of one of the board's staff, perhaps wanting to deflect
adverse publicity) wanted to crack down hard - at one point entering the
building with guns - wanted to crack down hard, and the interjection by a board
member of staff that "[The demonstrators] c[ould] leave when they have
apologized" seemed to frustrate the police further, as they were desperate for
the owners to say they wanted the activists to leave so that they could wade

After reaching the four demonstrators who remained on the third level, the
police began removing them forcefully, one at a time, punching one in the
stomach to make him "walk properly," and ensuring that the only black activist
was removed last, despite him being second in line.

Last but not least, Ziad Lima, was the only activist to be arrested (despite
being no more involved than the previous three), and the only one to be dragged
out by the arms legs and head, gasping at his throat and moaning in agony and
being grasped by an otherwise uniformed female officer dressed with neither hat
nor her serial number.

When asked what her serial number was, she responded with nothing but a cheaky
wink, and the request was ignored or obstructed when it was brought to the
ttention of other officers, including Chief Inspector Robinson, CW51.

At the time of writing Lima remains in jail in West End Central, on Saville
Row, London, on charges of "breach of the peace" despite no harm or imminent
threat of harm shown to be occuring.


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