Greeks Protest Austerity Measures

2 05 2010

Compare and contrast,

this from the BBC:

Greek riot police have used tear gas to disperse angry protesters in Athens, during a march against government cuts to tackle the country’s crippling debt.

Clashes erupted at the finance ministry and a state TV truck was petrol bombed. A tense stand-off continues, with protesters hurling bottles and rocks.

Thousands of Greeks are taking part in May Day rallies called by trade unions and left-wing parties.

Ericos Finalis, who was taking part in the march, described the planned government cutbacks as “the biggest attack on workers for centuries”.

“They want to return us to the 19th Century – this is not going to be a battle but a war that will last for months or even years,” he was quoted by AFP as saying.

Another protester, Marina Yotis, told AFP: “Nobody knows what really is going to happen but people know that there is no other way than to come down into the streets and protest.”

During the protests, a prominent hotel was vandalised in the central Syntagma square.

There were reports of similar scenes in the northern city of Thessaloniki as youths attacked banks and business premises with iron bars.

and this from the BBC’s correspondent who witnessed the demonstrators fire-bomb a state media truck:

I’m outside the University of Athens where a Greek state television truck is on fire.

Anarchists who were marching past saw that it was standing there and it is a symbol of the state and so they smashed the windows and somebody put a petrol bomb inside and set it on fire.

The fire brigade is now here and has put out the flames, the riot police have chased off the anarchists and there is a terrible searing taste of tear gas in the air.

With this from LibCom:

Labour May the 1st has erupted in pitched battles in Athens with many arrests and two people seriously injured.

Labour May the 1st (May Day) is a day for token trade union parades in greece, but the IMF related austerity measures that have cast their long shadow on the country made sure no one was expecting a peaceful demonstration today.

Four different demos had been called in Athens, reflecting existing class and political differences. One by PAME, the Communist Party controlled trade union umbrella, gathered at Syntagma square and marched to the American embassy. A second, by GSEE, the private sector trade union umbrella controled by the ruling Socialist Party, staged a protest concert in Klafthmonos square. A third, by the Radical Left Coalition and extreme-left groups gathered at Victoria square and marched to the Ministry of Labour. And the forth, by anarchists and autonomous grassroots unions, gathered outside the Archaeological Museum and marched to the Parliament.

The first signs of unrest appeared when the anarchist-autonomous march numbering around 4,000 people reached Klafthmonos square chanting slogans against GSEE like “Scum, filth, union-bosses” and attacked the concert scene with red and black paint interrupting the performances. Upon reaching the Parliament and attempting to march towards the EU offices, the protesters were confronted by riot police forces and clashes broke out. Protesters attacked the prestigious ruling class hotel “Great Britain” with the clashes spreading across Panepistimiou street where banks and shops came under attack. Reaching Propylea, protesters torched a State TV van, and closed against the ex-president of the Parliament who happened to be on Korai square. The senior PASOK politician took refuge to a cafe while heckled and was rescued by strong police forces. At the same time, the General State Accountancy came under attack by protesters. The march proceeded towards Omonoia square where upon meeting up with the march of the extreme left returning from the Ministry of Labour it came under brutal attack by motorised police forces. In the battle that ensued many protesters were injured and many more detained, while hundreds of protesters took to a barricaded retreat into Exarcheia and the Polytechnic from which more clashes ensued. As a result of the clashes some 10 people are reported arrested (with people gathered outside the National Police Headquarters demanding their liberation), and two men are reported as injured, one with serious cranial wounds. Meanwhile, journalists are accusing the police as not allowing them to film, and one journalist was reported as being detained. The police claims seven of its officers were injured.

At the same time, more limited clashes erupted in the May Day protest march in Salonica with many banks and shops attacked. Protest marches also took place in many smaller cities and towns like Heraclion, Patras, Rethimnon, Corinth and Ioannina.

It’s also worth mentioning here, that the mainstream media in Greece are loathed by Anarchists for failing to report stories that involve them accurately and favouring police and government in their reports.  When 15 year old Alex was murdered, the State media failed to investigate and report what had actually happened, supporting the police involved.  Even when a youtube video was released that disputed police claims at having been attacked by 30 hooded youths throwing molotov cocktails, one mainstream news outlet added sound bites consistent with riots and the sound of exploding molotov cocktails breaking.




One response

3 05 2010

This is why you must always view media with a grain of salt and ALWAYS read/listen/watch as many sources as possible, even if you don’t agree with them. In the US, I go from the extreme right to the extreme left. I understand the biases and read/watch/listen with that in mind. I can’t stand sources that claim to be impartial like the BBC or the big American networks. No one is impartial.
Anyway…I feel for Greece. The country is between a rock and a hard place.

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