Greece General strike alterthess coverage
Alterthess.gr is covering the 48hr general strike in Greece and offers an alternative update on current events.
Dead ended a protester, 53 years old
Thousands of people are protesting against the harsh measures the Greek Government has voted for under the frame of IMF, EU, and the Central European Bank politics.
Workers are seeing their rights violated and their salaries cut down. Old people are hardly able to survive as their pensions have also been the Government's target. Pupils and students see their schools and universities close down, as the new Act by the Education Ministry has procceeded in enormous cuts.
These two days, during the 48 - hour General Strike, all people of Greece are united and protest against this politics which serves the interest of capitalism and destroys life and hope.
During the second day of the 48h strike, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Greek Parliament. GSEE and ADEDY (major federations) PAME (syndicate of the Communist Party), the Coordination of Base's Labor Unions in Public and Privet Sector, the peoples assembly of the Constitution Square, political parties and organizations of the left, (SYRIZA & KKE) decided to blocade the Parliament for the whole day, as the new austerity measures are expected to be voted today. A blocade of 5000 people is, also, taking place in Thessaloniki outside the local government building. People are demonstrating in many other cities as well.
In Athens people keep coming to the Parliament till 15.00. The crucial voting is expected to take place in the evening. Apart from the opposition, members of the government party have, also, stated their opposition especially to the 37 article of the act, that cancels the collective agreements. MP Pasok Louka Katseli, who was the previous Minister for Labour and Social Security announced that she will vote against the 37 article, but she has voted for the act as a whole.
At 3 p.m. there were violent clashes between rival groups of protesters (anarchist groups and communist party members). More than 100.000 demonstrators gathered in Syntagma square during all the day. The demonstrators were tear - gassed by the police and attacked violently. Dimitris Kotsaridis a protester, 53 years old, member of PAME (syndicate of the Communist Party), was in Syntagma - square and died from heartattack after the tear - gasses. According to the doctors of Evaggelismos hospital, the protester died after respiratory problems and heartattack.
Lines of Greek police that guarded the Parliament attacked repeatedly the demonstators until the night and tried to push them in order to evacuate the Syntagma square.
Photos from Thessaloniki 20 October here
”We want to overturn this bill which will destroy Greece and its people” said Ilias Iliopoulos, general-secretary of public sector union ADEDY, which is coordinating the strike with its private sector counterpart GSEE.
The two unions, which represent some 2.5 million members, or half the Greek workforce, have frequently been at odds over the crisis but have put aside differences for the moment to organise what is expected to be the biggest labour action in months.
9:30 All main streets at the Centre of Athens (Sintagma, Omomia Sq. Ermou) are covered by police men. Access to Parliament is blocked with a plexy-glass fence to prevent protesters from approaching the building.
11:00 PAME (trade unions of the Communist Party) are now at the Parliament Sq. Most protesters are in Omonia Sq. while primary teachers trade unions and students are gathering in the Archaelogical Museum.
11:45 Protesters are becoming more and more. The square in front of the Parliament as well as all streets around are already crowded. It seems to be one of the biggest demonstrations of the decade.
12:00 There are gatherings of trade unions in different parts in the centre of Athens. There is very big participation.
12:40 Hundreds of thousands people are at the streets in Athens. Nobody can give exact numerical estimations so far.
13:20 Due to the big amount of protesters different unions seem to have united and formed a general moving mass around the Sintagma Sq. All main roads are blocked while older people compare this demonstration to the first demonstrations after the fall of dictaroship (1974). Police forces -albeit present- have not intervened as demonstration is peaceful till now.
14:30 Quite tensed is the situation between protesters and police in the Sintagma Sq now . People do not withdraw.
14:40 In front of the parliament there is a lot of demonstrators, it is the first time since police didn`t allow the entrance in that place.
15:20 Police vacued the place in front of the parliament. A block of demonstrators continue to reach Parliament, the situation is quite tensed between protesters and police in many places in the centre of Athens near the Parliament.
11:20 Demostration has started in Thessaloniki too. 20,000 is the first estimation making it one of the biggest demosntrations of the town the last decade.
12:20 People have crowded the main roads in the centre of Thessaloniki too. The main body of the demostration is in Egnatia Str. 40, 000 people in total are at the streets.
12:41 The head of the demonstration is in Ethnikis Aminis and Egnatia while the back part of the demonstration has not turned yet, it is still in Agiou Dimitriou.
12:50 The head of the demonstration is now in Ethnikis Aminis and Tsimiski, while the back part is up at Iasonidou Street.
13:00 The head of demonstration is now at Tsimiski Str. Journalists' estimations say protesters have reached 50,000!!!
14:10 Protesters have surrounded the General Secretariat of Northern Greece (the local Government's Building). Police have withdrawn for now.
14:40 Quite tensed is the situation in Thessaloniki too around the Government's Building. People remain there however, while another part has moved further down at Agiou Dimitriou Str.
15:00 Violent police attack and intrusion in the Workers Centre of Thessaloniki. One protester is arrested. At the same time, protesters try to re-gather and continue their demonstration in front of the Government's Building. One woman has fainted and is tranferred to the hospital.
15:48 Demonstrators have been surrounded by the police inside the Aristoteles University of Thessaloniki. In front of the General Secretariat of Northern Greece (the local Government's Building) remains the main part of the demostration. According to their statements the police is going to release the arrested people in a while.
16:02 The two arrested demonstrators have been released. One of them is injured. The gathered demonstrators are moving to the Workers Centre.
General view of the demonstrations
The general view of the demonstrations in Thessaloniki is that today 40.000 people demonstrated in the centre of Thessaloniki: 30.000 were the demonstrators of the common gathering of the Trade Union and the Initiative of the Primary unions. 15.000 people followed PAME`s demonstations and more than 100.000 demonstrators took part in more than 50 demonstrations in the whole of the country. If we add the hundred thousand people that demonstrated in Athens we conclude that half a million people demonstrated today against the goverment`s politics.
In Volos there were three gatherings and more than 10.000 people demonstrated in the centre of the city. During the demonstration, many people attacked the office of the PASOK MP Kostas Kartalis. In Larisa 12.000 were the demonstrators. In Agrinio the demonstrators were more than 3.000 and even in Sparti 600 workers took part in the strike - demo.
Similar is the picture of Northern Greece. In Kavala the demonstration was the largest of the last decades and the 5.500 demonstrators have occupied the Worker's Center in order to become the center of the struggle. Most of the Greek islands were also part of the big struggle. For example, 2.000 people took part in the strike demo and 3.000 in Chios.
Tomorrow, there will be an encirclement of the parliament and many government buildings all over Greece. All estimates indicate that the demonstrations tomorrow will be very big, since tommorow afternoon the new harsh measures are scheduled to be voted in the Parliament.
Photos from Thessaloniki here
Video from the police attack against Worker's Center of Thessaloniki here
Videos from Thessaloniki here