Greece: headed towards revolution?

Masked youths attacked the riot police headquarters in Athens Dec. 16, throwing petrol bombs and stones, damaging police vehicles parked outside. Elsewhere in the city, schoolchildren blocked streets, and scores of teenagers halted traffic outside the main court complex. (AP, Dec. 16) Protesters also stormed a studio of the state NET TV network, breaking into a newscast and unfurling a black banner reading: “Stop watching television, take to the streets.” The newscast had been broadcasting statements by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis on the riots that have rattled Greece since the Dec. 6 police shooting of a teenage boy. NET president Christos Panagopoulos called the incident “a premeditated act that went beyond all measures of social tolerance and protest.” (NYT, Dec. 16)

A strike closed Athens International Airport Dec. 10 and also halted urban transport and other public services. The 24-hour walkout was called by the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) to press demands the government provide 1,000 euros ($1,300) in monthly assistance to low-income families, as well as increases in pensions and unemployment benefit. The GSEE rejected calls by the conservative government to postpone the strike due to the violent youth protests. (Indybay, Dec. 15; AP, Dec. 10)

Since then, the GSEE’s central offices in Athens have been occupied by militant workers to counteract the designs of the union bureaucracy to distance its membership from the current revolt. The occupants say they aim to create a space in which to facilitate a grassroots and self-organized workers’ response to the crisis, and bring the wider working class into the events unfolding on the streets of Greece. Town halls in Athens and Thessaloniki have also been occupied in order to hold general assemblies. (Infoshop News, Dec. 17)

See our last post on the Greek uprising.

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