Protestors in Greece Meet With Police Brutality

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Written by: EV

 

Protesters filled the streets of Athens Monday the 17th to commemorate the anniversary of the 1973 Athens Polytechnic anti-junta uprising. 35,000 people, including an additional 10,000 who were part of a rally being held at the same time in the city of Thessalonica, were met by more than 7,000 police who were deployed to “safeguard and monitor” the streets. By evening, police began to clash with students, passers-by, and demonstrators in the district of Exarcheia. This isn’t the first confrontation between protesters and police in recent days, and tensions appear to be on the rise.

On Monday the 10th, nearly six hundred high schools throughout Greece were occupied in protest of the New Lyceum legislation which was voted into Greece’s parliament last year, and has radically overhauled the process of school and university entrance examinations. Additional factors to the occupations were chronic underfunding—public spending on education in Greece makes up 2.5 percent of GDP, which is well below the European Union (EU) average of 5 percent—and lack of teaching staff.

In response to the occupations, Supreme Court Prosecutor, Efterpi Koutzamani, sent out a circular on the following Tuesday to all local prosecutors in Greece requesting they step in to restore order in the schools. She sighted another circular that had been sent out in 2009 that stated in case of “extreme criminal” behavior during the occupations, the parents of perpetrators should be investigated to establish grounds for prosecution based on negligent supervision.

Although November is the traditional month of student mobilization in Greece, in recent years it has seldom gone beyond the symbolic level. This year, however, with the problems the schools and universities are now facing, the situation has escalated. On the morning of Thursday the 13th, Athens Law School students arrived at their University in an attempt to apply their Assembly decision. This included the symbolic occupation of the University until Monday the 17th—the commemoration day of the 1973 student revolt. When they arrived, they found the school occupied by riot police.

The Athenian Universities’ rectors decided to apply a “lock out”. Neither students nor teachers were permitted to enter the building, apparently for “security reasons”. The government helped by providing police in riot gear. After an assault by the officers, a couple students were injured, and the rest dispersed. Student protests broke out by lunchtime after word spread, and other protests worked their way around the Universities, confronting a police blockade in the city center.

The student protests eventually arrived at the Polytechnic University of Athens in Exarchia, the location of the original 1973 uprising. They forced open the doors, and entered with the intention of creating another assembly, however they were immediately attacked by police. According to eye-witnesses, several protesters were injured, and hundreds were barricaded inside the Polytechnic. During a demonstration the day before, two students were injured when they were hit on the head by riot police batons.

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By the evening of Monday the 17th, “Gangs of riot police soared through the narrow streets of Exarcheia on their bikes, batons in their fists, terrorizing local residents and protesters,” reported VICE Greece’s News Editor, Antonis Diniakos.

After the march on the 17th, reports were received that riot police made excessive use of teargas. Amnesty International has noted before that this is commonly used by police in Greece during demonstrations, and it is in clear violation of international standards. Things at the time had quickly spun out of control when reports started to pour in of police violence against pedestrians and journalists, including a German Erasmus student whose bloodied face is now circulating the internet.

The use of excessive force by police is normal in Greece, however the violence aimed towards journalists seems to have the special purpose of censoring the press. The decision to use police as a form of suppression is a political one. In fact, Vassilis Kikilias, the Minister of Public Order, stopped to visit the Athens police headquarters to congratulate them for a job well done.

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Sources:

Revolution News. Nov 13, 2014. (http://revolution-news.com/greece-student-protests-against-education-reform-face-police-brutality/)

Turner, Vania. VICE Media. Nov 19, 2014. (http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/vice-reporters-attacked-by-greek-police-199)

Vassilopulos, John. World Socialist Web Site. Nov 11, 2014. (http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/11/gree-n11.html)

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1 COMMENT

  1. For a flourishing Greece and Europe
    let us transform our TYRANNIES in DEMOCRACIES
    by introducing the TEMPORARY MANDATE in every PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT

    Dear Sir,

    it is impossible to improve a world reduced to such a state of confusion without making an intellectual leap. Which is not possible without gaining a precise historical awareness.

    Briefly: the difference between TYRANNY and DEMOCRACY is all in the TEMPORARY MANDATE of public roles. There’s nothing else that matters equally. Let us retrace history to see what happened.

    The democratization process began long ago, at the dawn of the same monarchies, through the introduction of the TEMPORARY MANDATE for the members of parliaments. 70 years ago, in Italy, with the advent of the Democratic Republic, democracy was supposed to continue to expand itself by introducing the TEMPORARY MANDATE in every role of the Public Administration. But the PUBLIC CAREERISTS, the hired for life in the Public Employment according to the pre-democratic use, have blocked the cultural evolution and consequently the spread of democracy to the sole purpose of preserving “their” FIXED JOB. The same identical phenomenon happened in every other “democratic” Country.

    Besides this the struggles for job have prevented the individual taking of conscience that each Public Job is a PUBLIC GOOD and POWER that cannot be assigned for life, it cannot become a PERSONAL FEUD without reducing the Res Publica to a property deprived of access to others. De facto it was kept the ethical, philosophical, legal and political design of the previous feudal/imperial/monarch/fascist societies. It works precisely like this: the hired for life in the Public Employments serve to keep the subjects marginalized, unaware and powerless so that the PUBLIC and PRIVATE sectors can freely make their WORSE. The world we live in is built exactly like that.

    Now we can choose: whether to continue to make confusion, to spread an inculture created by PUBLIC CAREERISTS to defend the privilege of public roles assigned for life, to remain indifferent at best doing protests that, without a valid IDEA, will be only counterproductive, or decide to become mature and responsible people who are focused on a great single goal: to complete the DEMOCRATIZATION PROCESS started centuries ago and arrested 70 years ago.

    Let us make democratic the Public Administrations of our Countries, of the whole world, by introducing finally the temporary mandate in any Public Employment, even the humblest. Let us understand well: the temporary hiring in Public Administrations not only serves to let operate properly both the Public and the Private sectors but (combined with a transitory income for citizenship) is just what we need to solve the urgent problem of the INCOME REDISTRIBUTION.

    The DEMOCRATIC PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT be therefore finally achieved nationally and in the greater european federation: granted exclusively with temporary mandate. The end of bureaucrats. We cannot accept that a prime minister or a head of state be appointed for life. So why we should accept that some hold as their personal, private property, jobs, powers and incomes that are equally PUBLIC therefore a common property?

    Dear Sir, this terrifying anomaly lasted too long.
    Would you be so kind to take care of that?

    Danilo D’Antonio

    Piazza del Municipio
    64010 Rocca S. M.
    Italy – Europe

    +39 339 5014947

    DEMOCRATIC PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT
    http://hyperlinker.com/ars/

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