Greece: First they take Exarcheia…

Recent evictions of several squats, some housing refugees and migrants, mark the beginning of a new chapter of repression and dissent in Greece. In the autonomous Athens neighborhood of Exarcheia on the morning of Monday, August 26, hundreds of masked riot cops with tear gas at hand cordoned off an entire block. Overhead, helicopters circled the scene.

No one would be blamed for thinking a civil war, or worse, was about to erupt. But no, the Greek state led by the new conservative government was mobilizing its full repressive armada to evacuate several squats occupied by refugees and migrants. Theorist Akis Gavriilidis weighed in:

This affair is a scandalous waste of public funds, for a result that is not only zero but negative in every respect: moral, legal, practical, economic and whatever you can imagine. To detain dozens of refugees — including children — who have committed no crime, to evict them from places where they have lived a dignified life they have helped to shape themselves, with the only prospect of being imprisoned in a hell where they live in much worse conditions, forced to passivity and inactivity. [Read More]

London: Squatter’s Digest, Greece

Greece, the home of democracy. And molotov cocktails. They also enjoy regular cocktail nights to raise money for the squats and imprisoned anarchists. It’s one thing to know what is going on inside the UK with regards to squats, but I feel we are severely lacking in communication with squats across Europe, or indeed the world. Hopefully I can bring to you some of the news from some of the squats in Greece along with the usual round-up of news from London and beyond.

Setting The Scene

A quick explanation of how the law works in Greece, from a meeting I had with a lawyer personally involved in one of the local neighbourhood squats. Unlike in the UK, squatting is a criminal rather than civil matter. It is based around a few points in the penal code, such as breaching someone’s right to asylum in their own house, or disturbing the community. However the police cannot act unless a complaint is made by the owner to the state prosecutor, who then instructs the police to enforce it. For public buildings there is a bit of a loophole in the penal code dating back to 1938, and a lot of squats in Greece fall into a kind of “hybrid” category, meaning the prosecutor is less likely to take action unless pushed by the local government. However as of the 1st of July this year, the penalties have gone up in accordance with the introduction of a new penal code. What were simple misdemeanours for resisting can now be classified as heavier breaches of law, and can see a jail-term of 3 years, up from the previous maximum of 1 year. Interestingly this was introduced at the same time as the reduction of a lot of other penalties, prompting outrage from other parties. In any case this was the doing of Syriza, and with the election on July 7th, the conservative New Democracy is back in power, so things can be expected to only get worse (more on this later). [Read More]

Thessaloniki: March 10, No Nation, No Homeland, Fire to the States

About our participation in the mass anti-nationalist demonstration in Salonika on the 10th of March 2018, in the clashes against the repressive forces of the state that followed, and in the attack against the Turkish consulate and the cops that guard it:

On the 10th of March 2018, we participated in a mass demonstration in the city of Salonika, responding to a call across Greece and the Balkans. On this day thousands of people came together on the streets with a common stance against fascism and nationalism. Every block in the demonstration lent a different focus to the manifestation. Some blocks expressed primarily their solidarity to Libertatia, the squat that was burned down by fascists during the recent nationalistic manifestations over the naming of a neighboring country. Others stressed nationalism and patriotism as foundations of the greek society. Others stressed patriarchy as a structural element of the nation-state. There was also internationalist presence from the Balkans. This mass demo was well and strongly guarded against possible police or fascist attacks. A big part of this gathering understood that the struggle against fascism is one and the same with the struggle against the state. [Read More]

Rebuild Libertatia

On January 21, 2018, a series of fascist attacks on emancipatory structures of the left-wing radical movement took place in the Greek city of Thessaloniki. Tens of thousands of fascists, nationalists, patriots and clericals had gathered to give new impetus to the long dispute over the name of Macedonia and the legacy of Alexander the Great. Nationalists in Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) claim the name Macedonia in equal measure. Both states provoke themselves again and again for years, i.e. by naming historical places or airports after Alexander the Great. Since 2014, there have been no negotiations between the two countries.

Nevertheless, an agreement emerged lately.
At least on the Greek side, however, the nationalist movement wanted to stifle such an agreement, and therefore mobilized since weeks to the first nationalistic mass demonstration since 1992 in Thessaloniki, the capital of the northern Greek region of Macedonia. [Read More]

Thessaloniki: Libertatia occupied centre burned by fascists

Members of a mass nationalist rally in Thessaloniki attacked and burned a squatted social centre Libertatia in the city today, though fortunately no injuries have been reported. The building was however completely destroyed in the fire, despite of residents from a neighbouring block of flats and the fire brigade trying to extinguish it.
The two-storey building was squatted in 2008, originally as an immigrant social centre. Later it evolved to a general social centre used by a number or groups. Towards the end of its existence it was used mainly as a housing squat.
“It is a historical building: one of the few that survived the nazis but unfortunately was destroyed by their grandchildren” commented one Greek anarchist, who prefers not to be named.
Initially antifa campaigners had thought they were getting the best of the day, as all fascist propaganda had been removed from walls in the city ahead of the protest, however the “Macedonia for Macedonia” gathering eventually swelled to, by police counts, around 100,000 people including a large number of fascist thugs.
Starting under a statue of Alexander the Great, a violent wing of the rally first headed towards social centre The School, but were repelled by anarchist fighters defending the space. They then moved on to the Libertatia, which was relatively undefended, and set fire to it. The listed building has been totally destroyed. [Read More]

Greece: Gathering of Solidarity to the Termita Squat

In the morning of 04/01 in Volos, there was a coordinated operation to evict the Termita Squat. The eviction was made by the University of Thessaly and the police force of Volos and other forces of the region. During the eviction 3 comrades were arrested and released some hours later with the accusation of disturbance of domestic peace and the 6 buildings were demolished right after the operation.

We put here the text of Termita Squat that explains why it was targeted by the state and the university of Thessaly:

Squats are our liberated grounds, liberated from state control, in order to house our needs and desires; they are the structures which connect the struggle to society, which embody the vision of freedom and solidarity. They are meeting points for all those who question state and capitalism, who choose to collectivize outside the institutional framework. They are the ground on which communities of struggle are built, on terms of participation and equality. All this means that squats are not spaces of an alternative lifestyle, but a refuge in the midst of a war, for all those who are besieged by the world of authority. Especially for migrants, outside of self organized communities, the state maintains a special regime of repression: persecution, incarceration and deportation. [Read More]

Greece: Solidarity with the imprisoned comrades in Italy from 111 Squat in Thessaloniki

On August 3rd 2017, cops raided several houses and occupied spaces in Florence (eviction of Riottosa squat), Rome and Lecce, aiming at the arrest of 8 comrades from Florence. This specific operation concerns 2 attacks. The first concerns the placing of an explosive device at a fascist bookstore that has connections with Casapound, on new years day last year, resulting in the injury of the bomb disposal cop (who lost an arm and eye). The second attack was with molotov cocktails against police facilities on April 4th 2016. The 2 attacks took place in Florence. Cops claim that they identified people through phone taps, surveillance, and identification of dna samples.

The charges are: “attempted homicide” for the 5 comrades from the first case, and “manufacturing, possession, and transportation of an explosive or incendiary device to a public place” for all comrades, all of this in the frames of “consisting a criminal organization”. A few days later 6 comrades were released while the charges remained, and 2 comrades were imprisoned for the attack on the fascist bookstore. One of the 2 comrades has had all communication forbidden. [Read More]

Thessaloniki: Call for Solidarity

20170523_skg_ThessalonikiLast summer the Squat Orfanotrofio in Thessaloniki was evicted and demolished by the Greek government. One commerade faces repressions now for the squating alone, standing at court for all of us, on the trial on the 31.05.2017. We call for solidarity.

The story begins with the squatting of the Orfanotrofeio in December 2015. Thousands of migrants have been declared illegal overnight and are stuck on Greek territory. Within a months they were also displaced from Idomeni, an massive self-made and to a great extent self-managed settlement near the border with the Rep of Macedonia. They were moved to isolated camps throughout the country, under the surveillance of the army and the NGOs.

Those of us who had been visiting Idomeni frequently during the summer of 2015 had seen a wall being built in front of our eyes, people practically living in the mud, being beaten up by the police, giving birth in offhand tents, burning anything they could find from the ruble for some heat in the freezing cold, being moved around from town to town and from camp to camp, in buses that would just show up and then disappear, being constantly stopped for pointless checks in the middle of nowhere on their way to the border. If when they made it to the border, they were often pushed back to Athens, where many of them fell into the hands of smugglers and even organ harvesting mafias. [Read More]

Thessaloniki: About the eviction of the squatted house Albatross

albatross_evictionIn the morning of Wednesday the 5th of April, the police, led by an OPKE unit, evicted a house in Ano Poli, Thessaloniki. Under the threat of fire-weapons, 13 people were arrested and brought to the police station in Monastiriou. The cops refused to let the arrested use their right to contact a lawyer and get translators for 5 hours. 9 people that came to in solidarity were also brought to the “megaron” and kept 3 hours for identity control. One of them now faces the charge of resistance after the pigs beat him up.

During the day, 2 people had to be transferred to the hospital : one with a severe head-wound after the treatment he received in the police station (the physical and psychological violence of the cops following him even in the walls of the hospital) ; the other because of his health, the pigs refusing for hours to take in consideration his signed appointment with a doctor for this precise day, and for hours refusing giving their prescribed medication to him and another person.

After 32 hours, only 12 people were set free before the trial, one being kept imprisoned for having no paper. He may stay in up to six month for this only, and is also accused, like the others, of both squatting and damaging private property. The asylum process in Greece is still so insufficient that thousands of people are not able to obtain a “legal status” and have therefore no possibilities to get access to accommodation or other forms of support. Living in a squat is often the only option they have. [Read More]

Greece: Lets destroy them first! Statement after evictions in Thessaloniki

201608_Attack_company_offices_GreeceThis is an individual statement after the trial that followed an action against the Orthodox Church in Thessaloniki. Although this statement doesn’t represent anybody except myself and may include an uncompleted picture, I decided that it should be spread. Never trust the media!

Unsurprisingly, the three evictions in Thessaloniki on 27th of July resulted in furious actions. The squats were evicted by a coordinated police operation to do the Church a favor and satisfy their thirst for revenge. The Church is in this case not only an agitator but also responsible for the eviction and demolition of Orfanotrofio squat (a selforganized space and housing squat for immigrants since December 2015). [Read More]

Greece: Responsibility Claim for decentralized Actions at party local offices as a token of solidarity to the 3 squats in Thessaloniki

20160729_Syriza_minister_residenceOn the morning of July 27th, the so-called left government of Syriza orchestrated an efficient operation of evacuation of all squats in Thessaloniki which housed refugees and immigrants. It seems that the assignee Syriza perfectly functioned as the “middleman” who connected the far right conservative tension with that of the neo-liberal, ‘Potami’-like (social-liberal party) capitalists. Two tensions connected by an undisputed blood bond, capital. It seems that some believe, that all problems that plague society are almost solved and that now the only thing left is its purging from the world of struggle and the refugees of war (military or economic). It fills us with joy however that they practically cancel each other out. The only healthy part of society is the one which resists, the one which supports the immigrants with solidarity. It is fighters, usually unemployed, underpaid, students who dedicate whatever free time they have to create horizontal structures, which self-preserve themselves and do not have the slightest economic or political gain. It is those who give life to the decadent neighborhoods, showing that we do not need dominators to organize our lives. [Read More]

Greece: reprisals after state crackdown on migrant squats

20160729_Syriza_offices_occupied_Thessaloniki_Greece_Last Wednesday (27th July), the Greek state evicted three squats occupied by migrants in the city of Thessaloniki, triggering reprisals by rebels in the city and beyond. This follows the eviction of the camp at Piraeus port, Athens and the expulsion of a new social centre in Lesvos.

Anarchists in Thessaloniki responded by invading a cathedral during mass, and setting fire to the offices of the company carrying out the demolition work. A number of Syriza offices in Greece were occupied, while Minister Alekos Flambouraris’s home was attacked in Athens, reportedly with molotovs. In Turin, Italy, the Greek consulate was graffitied. In Crete, comrades set fire to a church. [Read More]