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September 27, 2012
September 27, 2012

Greece: General strike – Rehearsal or final performance?

Author: Anna Papoutsi
Category: Protest
This article is also available in: fresel
Greece: General strike – Rehearsal or final performance?

In the face of €9 billion cuts in salaries, pensions and benefits and €3 billion more in new taxes, the country’s Unions called for a 24Hour general strike and demonstration. It was exactly what we expected it to be; quite massive but numb at first, some riots towards the end and heavy police crackdown.

The Communist Party, as always, organized a separate gathering and demonstration with a crowd of between 5,000 and 15,000.

The syndicates, local committees, anarchists and left wing parties mustered a massive crowd of 100,000 people.

Student unions and associations were absent; so were the unions from big sectors. The protest was mostly comprised of smaller blocks of first degree unions, collectives, local committees and of course, for the first time ever, the major opposition party, SYRIZA.

105 people were detained overall, half of them preventively; most of them were members of two local committees, Zografou and Dafnis. They were literally attacked by the police on their way to the demonstration and were detained, without having committed any crime, only to be released several hours later; out of 105 detainees 21 people were charged with “crimes”.

A journalist from the newspaper Ethnos (one of the most popular in Greece) was arrested for carrying a gas mask in his bag; the same happened to the publisher of the left-wing newspaper Epochi for asking questions when she witnessed – what seemed to be – an unlawful arrest.

The water cannons of the police, newly acquired from Israel, made their appearance mostly to visually terrorize people rather than to actually manage the crowd since they were never used.

As always the TV kept showing only a small fraction of the demonstration in a desperate attempt to hide its massiveness and the newspapers focused on the limited clashes with the police, ignoring the repetitive use of excessive police violence.

Overall, this strike did not seem to be aiming at achieving something… The demonstration never gave me the impression of an actual fight against or for something; rather, it was one more protest as if 2012 were not the 5th consecutive year of recession; as if the unemployment rate were not at 24% nationally and 55% for young people and as if we were not facing the complete dismantling of the social state, the public education and public health.

Was this the last performance of Greek’s resistance, or just a rehearsal?

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Greece: General strike – Rehearsal or final performance? by Anna Papoutsi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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