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Plato Smashing

Austerity Protests Sweep Greece in Time for 38th Anniversary of Student Uprising

More anti-austerity protests swept Greece on Thursday (17th) during the largest ever annual commemorative demonstration for the 38th anniversary of the student uprising of 1973. Back then, student protests led to multiple fatalities at Athens Polytechnic, which in turn acted as a catalyst to the overthrowing of the 7-year-long military regime. Ever since, it has been traditional to watch the fires burn bright around Athens, in places such as Exarcheia and Syntagma square.

Since the events of 2008 (see SchNEWS 659) this day has gone from merely rebellious to properly revolutionary.

Protesters set out to march to the US embassy to mark the event. Some anarchist comrades decided to use the same slogan as was used by the armed resistance against the Nazi occupation, “When the people are confronted with the threat of tyranny, they either chose the chains or the guns”.

“We are all anticipating violence”, veteran leftist Dimitirs Hadzisokrratis told the mainstream media. On the day, police presence was 7,000 strong. Ordinary cops and riot police were kitted to the max with clubs, tear gas, pistols and shields. The whole city centre was shut down; banks  were boarded up tight, shops rolled their shutters down and all iron doors were firmly shut in preparation for what turned out to be more than 50,000 disgruntled people out on the streets. Anarchist blocs en mass amounted to over 3,000. A banner drop simply stated “Don’t need a military regime, Democracy is ruining everything on its own” and “Fight united for the revolution”.

Two hours into it, 20 people had been detained. The Polytechnic building in Exarcheia was kettled by police blocking access to it. By 4pm, a stand off was in full swing by Syntagma square between protesters and police (who else?). As the clock approached 6, a police cubicle next to the EU building was aflame. Riot police slowly started to break up the demo. The official number for those detained is 78, with 11 arrests. This was the low-down at the time of print; events will surely continue to rattle the Greek capital as the night rolls on.

Many protesters have clocked on to the fact that the Eurozone is a detriment to Greece. They think it is time to leave the Eurozone, “because this way they are killing us”. The European Commission force worked out this week that the economically defunct country is owed a hefty 60bn Euro from tax evaders, who stash their capital in off-shore accounts. This figure is equal to 25% of Greek gross domestic product;  another bitter pill to swallow. The new Grecian government has got its work cut out. As the austerity rolls out, the economy is contracting – meaning that even with all the extra loans, the debt position is still getting worse.

* More info atsee: www.occupiedlondon.org/