On Friday 9 January 2009, on the 18th anniversary of the murder of Nikos Temponeras [*], the youth of Greece gave the adequate answer to the attempts of the Karamanlis government and of its allies, aiming at terrorizing the youth movement. Despite the terror campaign developed by the government and all the bourgeois Media during the previous days, who "warned" the youth not to dare to demonstrate [**], . Friday's demonstrations were organized by the Coordinations of Occupied Faculties, as well as by teachers' Federations and other Unions, and were actively supported by the forces of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA). In Athens alone, around 20.000 people marched towards the Parliament with slogans against the criminal government and in defense of the democratic and social rights. Big youth demonstrations took part also in Thessaloniki, Patras and other cities all over Greece, supported by the Radical Left. It is noteworthy that the same day and time the KKE forces decided not to participate in the youth demonstrations and, in turn, organized pickets in solidarity with Palestine (and this, despite the fact that the Palestinian communities called for unitarian solidarity demonstrations the next day - these took place without KKE's participation, despite the pleas of the palestinian community for united action...)
Huge wave of state repression
The government, which was reformed two days ago in a vain attempt to redress its inexistant popularity [***], tried to terrorize the youth and the broad masses by ordering the Police Anti-riot Units to barbarously attack and arrest the demonstrators and the by-standers in several location of the center of Athens. While the peaceful demonstration was concluding, the police moved against the people using a huge amount of chemicals and proceeding to dozens of arrests. Among those arrested and abused by the cops were several members of the Press and a 70 year old lady who protested when she saw the police beating a young boy, as well as 18 lawyers! This new escalation of the state repression is result of government's desperation against a movement that does not yield to the terrorist and slandering campaign of the bourgeoisie.
Solidarity with Palestine
On Saturday 10 January the Palestinian and Arab communities and the forces of the Left (with the... usual exception of KKE) organized new marches of solidarity with Palestine - it was the fifth solidarity mobilizations within the last ten days. In Athens thousands of people marched towards the embassies of USA and Israel, with the forces of SYRIZA composing the bulk of the demonstrations. The Communist Organization of Greece privileged the demand to immediately expel the Zionist ambassador and to shut down the Zionist embassy, accusing the Greek government and the EU for their complicity in the new crime against the martyred Palestinian people in Gaza. The police forces tried to provoke new incidents with their provoking presence and attitude, even after the conclusion of the demonstration. However, the demonstrators did not fall in this trap. Palestine remains on the top of the agenda for the radical left movement, together with the anti-government protests.
Moreover, on the news about the possibility of a huge US arms shipment to Israel through the Greek port of astakos, KOE's Leading Committee instructed yesterday our local organizations in Western Greece to gather the necessary information and prepare the blocking of any such attempt. On the initiative of KOE, today the local SYRIZA formed, together with other political and social forces of the region, a Joint Committee in order to prepare the necessary activities. The local organizations of KOE all over Greece have been informed about the possibility of mobilizations during the next days in the port of Astakos, so they remain on alert in order to provide their assistance.
Athens, 11 January 2009
Communist Organization of Greece (KOE)
[*] Why the 9th of January is an important anniversary for the youth and the Radical Left: 18 years ago, on 9 January 1991, during a nation-wide protest movement of the secondary education pupils, an armed gang composed by fascists and members of the right-wing government party attacked, under orders of "hard-line" government cadres, a school in the city of Patras (Peloponnese). The school was one of the hundreds that were under occupation all over Greece and guarded by pupils, parents and teachers. The attack of the right-wing gang was part of the government's plans to break the occupations. During the attack, the pro-government gangsters murdered Nikos Temponeras, a teacher who was there to protect his pupils from the state repression. Nikos Temponeras was an exemplary communist teacher, and member of the Workers Anti-imperialist Front, a radical left group that had broken away of the Communist Party of Greece. His murder provoked huge demonstrations and Temponeras became a symbol of the contemporary youth movement and of the Radical Left. One of the most popular slogans during the last 18 years is: "Temponeras lives, leading our struggles together with Petroulas and Lambrakis". Petroulas and Lambrakis are also legendary figures of the Greek Left: they were, respectively, a revolutionary student and a left MP, assassinated by the right-wing state during the Sixties.
[**] The bourgeoisie tried to exploit the criminal (and very suspect for its real origin) armed attack against a group of policemen, which provoked the serious wounding of one of them (he was hit by Kalashnikov bullets). For more information about this incident, see KOE's statement Nr 1 / 2009. The government tried to "equalize" this attack of suspicious origin with the murder of Alexis by the police. Its allies in the promiscuous block of "law and order", from the extreme right-wing party LAOS to the so-called "Communist Party of Greece" (KKE) went even further: both linked the terrorist attack against the policemen with the "rioters" of the December rebellion! On top, the KKE newspaper "Rizospastis" published one more shameless attack against the rebellion and the Radical Left, arguing that the democratic demands put forward by the movement (namely, "Disarm the police" and "Dissolve the Police Anti-riot Units") are... "utopic and disorientating"! Apparently, KKE's reactionary downswing knows no limits...
[***] Several extremely unpopular ministers, and especially those of Finances and Education, have been replaced. However, the Karamanlis government continues and further intensifies its anti-people and anti-youth policy. The government reform aimed at transforming the negative public opinion and protecting the PM Karamanlis, but its effect "evaporated" almost immediately because of the ongoing mobilizations.