Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

On the night of the 17/9/2013, 34 year old Pavlos Fyssas, a Greek anti-fascist activist and rapper was ambushed by about 40 members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn (GD) gang after leaving a cafe in Keratsini, a working class neighbourhood in Athens. He was stabbed twice while police officers stood by without intervening, according to witnesses, and shortly after succumbed to his wounds.

This is only the latest of thousands of attacks carried out by GD. While their MPs have been giving fascist salutes, vigilantes flashing swastikas and other Nazi symbols have been beating up immigrants, activists, or anyone they suspect of being LGBT or left wing for over three years– often in front of cameras. Last September, three MPs led gangs of heavies through street fairs in the towns of Rafina and Messolongi, smashing up immigrant traders’ stalls with Greek flags on thick poles. Less than a week before Fyssa’s murder, unionists of the Greek Communist Party were assaulted by 50 thugs armed with bats with nails sticking out of them.

Nearly all of these attacks have gone unpunished and a lot of them have been carried under police officer noses. Claims that “GD have infiltrated the police” made to the “Guardian” by a high ranking officer are backed by the overwhelmingly high results it received in the latest elections in wards where the police vote in large numbers. The web is flooded with photographic and video evidence of GD members working side-by side with riot police against demonstrators. Immigrants trying to bring complaints of racist violence are routinely threatened with counter-charges and held in cells while last October anti-fascist protesters claimed they were tortured in the police headquarters.

The rise of fascism also owes a lot to mainstream media. Effectively unregulated by the state and owned by a few small Berlusconis, Greek tv channels have been cultivating chauvinism, racism, sexism and anti-immigrant hate for decades. Now they present GD cadres as normal people, explore their lighter side and even turn them into lifestyle icons or tele-celebrities. They rarely discuss the violent crimes for which many of these people have been accused or convicted. The murder of Fyssas was largely presented as a fight over a football match! And despite its anti-systemic image, GD is quick to return the favour to the rich ruling class whether by voting in favour of its interests in parliament, or by keeping the left in check.

A lot can also be said about the role of the “centre” ruling parties – the neoliberal extremists who have imposed measures of violent pauperisation and created widespread perceptions of decay and victimisation and feelings of national humiliation all of which fuel the rise of fascism. It was they who first demonised immigrants, who have rounded illegal immigrants up in modern concentration camps, who talk of “taking back Greek city centres”, who have unleashed the riot police against demonstrators time after time. They now speak of “a clash of the two extremes” thus further legitimizing GD by equating it to the left. They are using it to fight the anti-austerity movement by presenting themselves as the only rational alternative and by keeping people in a passive state of terror.

Few anticipated the sudden rise of fascism in Greece. The factors that fuelled it exist in other societies too however. The recent EDL attacks or the murder of French teenage anti-fascist Clément Méric show that in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, fascism is once against on the rise – much in the same way as in the 1930s. An internationalist anti-fascist movement is therefore necessary. A movement that understands fascism for what it is – the long arm of the system and will fight it together with its root cause before it is too late. If we tolerate this, our children will be next!

Join us for an anti-fascist demonstration on Saturday 21/9 at 1pm at the Mound.

Yesterday, we gathered in front of the City Chambers in Edinburgh as an act of solidarity to the ERT workers demanding the re-opening of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation. We are against a state ‘public’ broadcaster whose job is to secure the ideological and political domination of the political and economic elites within Greece and the EU. We are fighting for a public media outlet that truly belongs to and speaks for the people and their needs. The thousands outside the ERT premises all around Greece must multiply and form a radical movement against the government, for a society of peoples’ needs.

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On the 11th of June, the Greek government, once again expressing its totalitarian identity, took the decision to pull the plug on the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) with its three channels and numerous radio stations. In this way Greece became the first EU country without a public broadcaster and 2,700 workers were forced to unemployment. This decision was taken without parliamentary approval (apart from New Democracy the only political party openly supporting it is Golden Dawn), against the Greek constitution. From 5pm when the Samaras’ government suddenly announced the shutdown, it took only 6 hours for the riot police to pull down the antennas while the program was still on air.

According to Samaras, ERT suffers from a “unique lack of transparency and incredible waste” and needs to be shutdown in order to give space to a new ERT built in the future. Nevertheless, his party (New Democracy) and Pasok, which have been in power in Greece for the last 40 years, are the ones that have been imposing their own people in management positions in order to pursue their political agenda. These are the people with large salaries causing the waste and not the everyday employees. For that reason, it is naïve to believe that the new ERT is going to be objective and efficient – it will be an even more corrupt mouthpiece of the government and the ruling class.

From the moment of the official announcement, the employees (journalists, technicians and administrative staff) decided to occupy the premises and continue to broadcast showing their opposition to the completely anti-democratic policies of the government. Thousands of people have gathered to all the ERT premises around Greece. They are expressing their solidarity to the fired workers and demonstrating against the closure of the last broadcasting body which has been instrumental in promoting culture and connecting Greek emigrants with their home country. Moreover, the Greek National Union of Journalists has voted for a continuous strike and on Thursday the 13th of June there was a call for a general strike of the private and public sector.  Foreign media, as an act of solidarity, have been transmitting in Greek (ARTE JOURNAL) and reproducing the signal around the world. In addition to this, Journalists’ Unions from the EU and the UK have announced their solidarity messages to their colleagues in Greece, while the government in a fascist way is threatening all those who are reproducing the ERT signal with legal sanctions.

Apart from thousands of jobs, a massive archive of cultural wealth, managed by ERT, is also now in danger. This is the creation of the people and it needs to stay in their hands. In addition, there is also a significant amount of material wealth in terms of important broadcasting infrastructure and technology which has been paid for by the people. This simply cannot be left to private hands, in the same way as other parts of our social wealth (the telecommunications and energy infrastructure, the ports and the airlines), the subjection of which to market forces has already begun.

We are against a state ‘public’ broadcaster whose job is to secure the ideological and political domination of the political and economic elites within Greece and the EU. We are fighting for a public media outlet that truly belongs to and speaks for the people and their needs. The thousands outside the ERT premises all around Greece must multiply and form a radical movement against the government, for a society of peoples’ needs.

Edinburgh,

14.06.13

The Real Democracy Now Edinburgh [GR] group was started by workers, unemployed people and students living in Edinburgh. Its decisions and political views are formed autonomously within the group using direct democratic procedures. Its main purpose is to inform and take action regarding the economic, social and political crisis in Greece, which led many of us to emigrate along with thousands of other young people. The group also extends this spirit of resistance locally, by actively participating in the Scottish political scene.

The forthcoming visit of the former Prime Minister, as a representative of the Greek political system, caused a negative reaction in our group and in the wider local community. Papandreou is responsible for deceiving the Greek people and triggering a cascade of catastrophic measures. However, it is not the individual that our group is reacting against, but the policies and the “one way street” logic that Papandreou consciously represents. These policies are dictated by the dominant institutions that the country is integrated in, such as the EU and the IMF, and the domestic super rich ruling class. Faced with a society that is becoming impoverished as a result of the crisis, it is at least distasteful for one of the main implementors to give lessons.

Once again, an opportunity to speak is given to one of the representatives of the ruling class, which has benefited from the current situation, to the detriment of Greek society. At the same time, in Greece any effort at resistance and any counterarguments are targeted and silenced. This is a standard practice of disinformation and marginalization of certain views by the oligarchy and the mass media that represent them. It is a technique that seeks, either to equate popular anger with fascist practices, or to silence it (struggles in Skouries and Keratea, strikes, racist attacks, state repression).

The group will continue to strive against beliefs and practices that are in opposition to the interests of the majority. By doing this we hope to contribute to the foundation of a society based on the needs of the people without exploiters and exploited.

Edinburgh

23/05/13

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On April 17th 2013, about 30 migrant workers from Bangladesh were injured in a shooting at a strawberry farm in Nea Manolada, Greece. A group of about 200 workers had gathered to demand a 6-month overdue pay when the three Greek foremen of the farm opened fire using hunting rifles against the crowd. Several workers were taken to the hospital, some of them in critical condition. The three perpetrators were arrested after two days on the run while the owner of the farm was arrested soon after the events.

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Working and living conditions in the strawberry fields of Nea Manolada easily resemble those of the 19th century plantations of the American South making modern slavery a reality. The workers live in crowded greenhouses, sleep on the ground and have minimum access to clean water and no medical care. Some of them have their families with them living under the same horrible conditions. Most of the workers do not have the necessary documents for legally working in the country making them susceptible to constant threats by their employers of being reported to the police and deported from the country. They are subjects of utter exploitation: with a daily pay of €23 of which almost half is spent on accommodation, they are working extremely long hours, allowed only a single break under the burning sun and eat only once per day.

However, the events in Nea Manolada came as no surprise. Nea Manolada has previously been in the spotlight over exploitation of migrants. In 2008 workers staged a strike against inhumane conditions. In summer 2009, two men had tied two migrant workers to their motorbike and dragged them in the streets of the town because they thought they had stolen some sheep. While in 2011, the journalist G. Pouliopoulos and the photojournalist I. Chatzistaurou were heavily beaten while investigating the living and working conditions of the migrant workers in Nea Manolada. Despite these events in March 2011, G. Papandreou, the Greek prime minister at the time was applauding the producers of Nea Manolada for their investments and pioneering cultivation methods referring to the strawberries as “red gold”.

The events in the bloody strawberry fields of Nea Manolada are not isolated incidents. They occur under the political coverage of the last governments and the silence of the mainstream media, all in the name of ‘economic growth’! They are coming at a time where migrant workers are demonised, as the source of all evils, by the far-right/fascist Golden Dawn party and at a time where the established state itself is piling up illegal immigrants in detention camps to live under inhuman conditions. It becomes evident that there is an on-going social decay where human and working rights are routinely ignored and the survival of the exploited, the Bangladeshi workers in this case, is always at stake.

These last events sparked a nationwide boycotting campaign of Nea Manolada’s strawberries. Many big supermarkets have already removed Vangelatos SA from their suppliers after receiving complaints from their customers.

IF THEY CANNOT, WE CAN!

Posted: April 8, 2013 in event
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Workers of the Viomichaniki Metalleutiki (Vio.Me) factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, a subsidiary of “Filkeram & Johnson”, stopped being paid in May 2011, and subsequently the management abandoned the factory. After a series of assemblies, the workers decided to manage the factory themselves. Since then, they have occupied and defended the factory and the machinery needed for production. On the 12th of February 2013, the factory started production under workers’ control. The production is planned directly with democratic assemblies, without bosses or hierarchy. The workers’ assemblies have declared an end to the unequal division of resources with the workers finally having equal and fair remuneration. This has been decided collectively. The factory produces building materials and they have declared that they plan to move towards production friendlier to the environment. They have continued to reach out to other workers and communities, receiving tremendous support throughout the world. The solidarity shown by these individuals, groups and communities has made an important contribution towards the survival of the workers and their families so far. Supporting them is especially essential in these first months if the project is to succeed.
While the number of unemployed people in Greece is approaching 2 million and the whole world is being plunged deeper and deeper into an economic and ecological crisis, the Vio.Me workers have taken a first step on a long and difficult road. They offer an alternative way forward: the way towards a democratic society without bosses, exploiters and exploited. For that reason, the struggle of Vio.Me. is every worker’s struggle and deserves our solidarity.
We see this as the only future for worker’s struggles.” Makis Anagnostou, Vio.Me workers’ union spokesman.
Join us on Sunday April 14, 2013 at 5.30pm for a discussion with a Vio.Me. workers’ union representative at Pleasance Highland room.

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The Greek fascist state has once again shown its true face. The pictures of the four arrestees with their faces deformed from torture cause our furry at the very least. The exercise of raw violence, the torture, the crude lies are a regular practise of the state repressive mechanism which does not even keep up the pretences. The mass media, committed to their servile work, set up television studio courts, make verdicts, systematically hide the truth and criminalize political ideologies using double standards. On one hand, anarchists, leftists, strikers and anyone resisting the system is labelled a terrorist, while racists, far right-wingers and “Golden Dawn” members are regarded as being in legal self-defence. There is no limit to the mudslinging of the sold-out media as they systematically aim to disorientate the public, thus protecting their owners’ interests which are fully aligned with the government line and that of the EU. Instead of informing people, they defended the brutality exercised by the government, under the dictates of capital, in every level of economic and social life: labor rights are attacked, strikers are forced to go back to work, the constitution and the laws the government itself has established are constantly violated.

With the mask of the rule of law, the state defends the interests of the ruling class and conceals the crimes of the parastate. The distinction between citizens of two different categories thus becomes clear. Rhetorical remains the question of whether the same brutality and rage which was shown against the seropositive prostitutes, the “Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei” arrestees, the antifascists resisting racist pogroms and the four arrestees recently (whose identity and faces were published) was also shown against the Nazi murderers of the Pakistani worker, whom the system protected tooth and nail. The state shows particular sensitivity to Nazi followers of “Golden Dawn” who target and attack downtrodden and defenseless social groups and protects cops who torture and beat-up detainees. Its’ policies show special tolerance to ministers who are bribed, bankers who get rich at the expense of the people and tax-evading businessmen, while they intimidate workers by imposing Middle Ages working conditions. The ‘Marfin bank’ incident where workers were burned alive while locked in, during a nationwide strike is characteristic.

Until when will we tolerate the native junta of the capital, the government and their supranational assignees? Until when will we tolerate the violation of fundamental human rights in the name of ‘saving the people’? Until when will we tolerate the terror mongering of the mass media? NO TOLERANCE TO THE TERRORISM OF THE GOVERNMENT. Let’s show them that we won’t leave any militant as a hostage in the hands of the state.

 SOLIDARITY TO THE VICTIMS OF STATE REPRESSION

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Το φασιστικό κράτος έδειξε για ακόμη μια φορά το πραγματικό του πρόσωπο. Οι φωτογραφίες των τεσσάρων συλληφθέντων με τα παραμορφωμένα από τα βασανιστήρια πρόσωπα τους προκαλούν το λιγότερο την οργή μας . Η άσκηση της ωμής βίας, τα βασανιστήρια , τα χοντροειδή ψεύδη αποτελούν πάγια τακτική του κρατικού κατασταλτικού μηχανισμού που δεν κρατάει ούτε καν τα προσχήματα. Τα καθεστωτικά ΜΜΕ προσηλωμένα στο δουλικό τους έργο ,στήνουν τηλεοπτικά δικαστήρια, βγάζουν ετυμηγορίες, αποκρύπτουν συστηματικά την αλήθεια και ποινικοποιούν πολιτικές ιδεολογίες, χρησιμοποιώντας δυο μέτρα και δυο σταθμά. Έτσι, από τη μία όποιος δηλώνει αναρχικός, αριστερός, απεργός ή αντιστέκεται στο σύστημα είναι και τρομοκράτης, ενώ οι ρατσιστές, οι ακροδεξιοί και οι χρυσαυγίτες είναι σε νόμιμη αυτοάμυνα. Η λασπολογία από τα ξεπουλημένα ΜME δεν έχει όριο καθώς στοχεύουν συστηματικά στον αποπροσανατολισμό του κόσμου υπερασπιζόμενα συμφέροντα των ιδιοκτητών τους, συμφέροντα απόλυτα ευθυγραμμισμένα με την κυβερνητική γραμμή και αυτή της ΕΕ. Έτσι αντί να πληροφορούν τον κόσμο,υπερασπίζονται την βαρβαρότητα που επιδεικνύει η κυβέρνηση, κάτω από τις προσταγές του κεφαλαίου, σε όλα τα επίπεδα της οικονομικής και κοινωνικής ζωής: επίθεση στα εργασιακά δικαιώματα, επιτάξεις απεργιών,διαρκή καταπάτηση του Συντάγματος και των νόμων που το ίδιο θεσπίζει.

Το κράτος, με το προσωπείο του κράτους δικαίου, υπερασπίζεται τα δικαιώματα της άρχουσας τάξης, και συγκαλύπτει τα εγκλήματα του παρακράτους. Γίνεται έτσι σαφέστατη η διάκριση σε πολίτες δυο κατηγοριών. Ρητορικό παραμένει το ερώτημα αν άραγε επέδειξαν την ίδια βαρβαρότητα και επιδεικτική μανία στους ναζί δολοφόνους του Πακιστανού εργάτη, τους οποίους το σύστημα προστάτευσε με νύχια και με δόντια, με αυτήν που έδειξαν στις περιπτώσεις των ιερόδουλων, των συλληφθέντων των «Πυρήνων της Φωτιάς», των αντιφασιστών που αντιστέκονται στα ρατσιστικά πογκρόμ, και πρόσφατα στους 4 συλληφθέντες δημοσιεύοντας τα πρόσωπα και τα στοιχεία τους. Το κράτος φαίνεται να δείχνει ιδιαίτερη ευαισθησία στους ναζί οπαδούς της χρυσής αυγής που επιτίθενται και στοχοποιούν ανυπεράσπιστες και κατατρεγμένες κοινωνικές ομάδες και προστατεύει μπάτσους που βασανίζουν και ξυλοκοπούν συλληφθέντες. Οι πολιτικές του δείχνουν δε ιδιαίτερη ανοχή σε υπουργούς που λαδώνονται, σε τραπεζίτες που θησαυρίζουν στις πλάτες του κόσμου,σε επιχειρηματίες που φοροδιαφεύγουν και εισφοροδιαφεύγουν, ενώ ταυτόχρονα εκφοβίζουν τους εργαζόμενους επιβάλλοντας εργασιακό μεσαίωνα. Χαρακτηριστικό είναι το περιστατικό της Marfin, όπου οι εργαζόμενοι κάηκαν ζωντανοί, κλειδωμένοι εν ώρα πανελλαδικής απεργίας.

Ως πότε θα ανεχόμαστε την ντόπια χούντα του κεφαλαίου, της κυβέρνησης, καθώς και των υπερεθνικών εντολοδοτών τους; Ως πότε θα ανεχόμαστε να καταπατούνται θεμελιώδη ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα στο όνομα της «σωτηρίας του λαού»; Ως πότε θα ανεχόμαστε την τρομολαγνεία των καθεστωτικών ΜΜΕ; ΚΑΜΙΑ ΑΝΟΧΗ ΣΤΗΝ ΤΡΟΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ ΤΗΣ ΚΥΒΕΡΝΗΣΗΣ. Ας τους δείξουμε ότι δε θα αφήσουμε κανέναν αγωνιστή όμηρο στα χέρια του κράτους.

ΑΛΛΗΛΕΓΓΥΗ ΣΤΑ ΘΥΜΑΤΑ ΤΗΣ ΚΡΑΤΙΚΗΣ ΚΑΤΑΣΤΟΛΗΣ

originally published at http://athensantifa19jan.wordpress.com

On the 19th of January 2013, we flood the streets of Athens from every city and neighborhood of the country, workers and youth from every workplace, place of education and art. We occupy the city with music, chants and speeches, to shout that the Nazis are not welcome, that the coalition government’s racist policies of concentration camps, FRONTEX and of the denial of citizenship to the children of immigrants, enrage us as much as the barbaric measures that send hundreds of thousands to unemployment.

We cannot tolerate the rich and the government that sows poverty and deprivation, leads to suicides, sends homeless to queue at soup kitchens putting the blame for the crisis on immigrants, turning them to scapegoats, just like Hitler blamed the Jews for everything. This policy led to Dachau and Auschwitz camps, to gas chambers and the crematories with millions of dead Jews, Roma, Communists and gays. It led to the massacre of WWII, the Nazi brutalities in the occupied countries like Greece, with the martyr cities that were burnt, the lives lost in the blockades by the assassins of the “Security Squads” in Kalavryta, Kokkinia, Chortiati, Kontomari, Viano, Distomo and other places.

We cannot accept [Minister of Public Order] Dendias’ police attacking strikes and demonstrations with tons of chemicals and extending a hand of cooperation to the Neo-nazi assault squads of Golden Dawn, organizing racist pogroms in the neighborhoods with stabbings of immigrants, destruction of shops and house intrusions. It’s the same police that jails demonstrators like it did in Thessaloniki, where it reached the point of torturing the antifascist demonstrators of the motorbike demonstration. We are disgusted by the vulgar attack against artists like in the case of “Chitirion” theatre and the censorship of Dendias with journalists’ lay-offs and criminalization of journalist revelations.

We can not close our eyes to the thousands of dead immigrants and refugees, women and children, being hunted by the guards of FRONTEX. We demand to stop the disgrace of the nazi-type concentration camps and the sweeping operations by the Greek police. The immigrants need legalization and the refugees need asylum, victims as they are of the imperialist wars, the dictatorships and the annihilating measures of austerity by the IMF.

Samaras rushed to proceed with the new law to deny the citizenship to the children of immigrants born in this country, with a decision by the High Court that shared the racist prejudice of New Democracy and the Golden Dawn. Thousands of children that are studying in schools are deemed illegal once they turn 18 and are asked to go back to the country of their parents where they have never been themselves!

This is why the last months an unprecedented antifascist uprising has unfolded. On the 24th of August thousands of immigrants sent their message to Dendias that they are not afraid of the police sweeping operations called “Xenios Zeus”. In the neighborhoods the racist pogroms were challenged everywhere. On the 28th of October, the teachers, the students and the antifascists showed who controls the streets sending the neo-Nazi of Golden dawn back to the sewers. “Neither in the parliament not anywhere, Nazis out of our neighborhoods” shouted thousands around Greece.

We call all workers and youth, intellectuals and artists, the immigrants’ communities, trade unions, student unions, school students, the local councils, all the committees against racism and fascism, the collectives of resistance, people’s assemblies to support the national demonstration in Athens on the 19th of January. In the city which sent the greatest message against the Nazi occupation and today sends a message of resistance to the memorandums and the Troika that Neo-Nazis are not welcome – they are racist killers!

We call for international solidarity with participation in Athens demonstration on 19th of January and antifascist action around the world outside Greek embassies.

Saturday 19/1 Athens, Anti-fascist city
National demonstration, Omonia Square, 2pm
Concert, Syntagma Square, 4pm

Say it with a song…
Nazis out!
No to concentration camps!
Citizenship for all the children of immigrants!

Called by:

Movement United Against Racism and Fascist Threat (KEERFA),
Panhellenic Federation of Artists and Entertaiment (POTHA),
Intellectuals and Artists,
Theatre “EMPROS”,
Initiative “MAVILI” (Artists),
Union of Immigrant Workers,
Pakistani Community of Greece,
Afghan Community of Greece,
Open School of Immigrants in Piraeus,
Egyptian Community,
Union of United Afghan Refugees in Greece,
Iranian Political Refugees Union,
Union of Syrians in Greece,
ASANTE (African immigrants in Greece),
Trade Unions,
Teachers’ Local Unions, Hospital Workers unions,
Local and peripheral councilors,
Student associations,
School pupils.

Supported by Kostas Arvanitis, journalist of Public TV.

Watch the full 47-mins video here

By Christos Georgiou

When Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot dead on December 6, 2008, the idea that a 15-year-old boy could die on a seemingly safe pedestrian street in the middle of Athens on a Saturday night, as he and his friends talked about which party they should go to, at the hands of a man who as a policeman was supposed to protect children like Alexandros, a man who was himself a father, it was hard to believe.

At that time I had recently become a father myself and the idea that anyone who had experienced the blessing of new life, could raise a gun and shoot a child made me sick.

In pictures: Anger on the streets of Athens
For the generation of Alexandros, the 15-year-old children who took part in the riots that followed his death, the lessons learned were simply: The police are your enemy, politicians are in their overwhelming majority corrupt and your life has no value.

Finding people to talk about the riots was not so easy. Slogans like “the police are talking to you through the eight o’clock news” illustrate how journalists have earned the reputation of being paid liars.

Many times while filming, people and especially young people would suspiciously ask: “Who are you? Are from one of the Greek TV channels?”

During riots it is, of course, even worse. Both parties, police and demonstrators, for obvious reasons do not want to be photographed while acting in an incriminating manner.

But December 2008 was not just any riot, to these children it was an uprising most of them are proud to have taken part in and so after they got to know us they did eventually trust us with their stories.

A cycle of strikes, protest and violence

Three years later, on July 29, 2011, under the pressure of the financial crisis, the Greek parliament, faithfully following the instructions of the EU and IMF, voted to pass new austerity measures. The social problems that existed in 2008, stemming from corruption and the misuse of power, were still there, but were now compounded by the financial crisis.

“The first week we believed this would change the world.”
Stella

“It was a war zone. Cars exploding, shop fronts burning. For ten days it was fire and stones everywhere.”
Basilis

“Everyone, students included, found it very logical to throw a stone or anything else at the police.”
Giorgos

We were filming our protagonists taking part in protests outside parliament as the politicians inside were voting “yes” to austerity measures. Teargas filled the air and Amnesty International observers noted countless examples of excessive use of force by the Greek police on the Greek people who had gathered there to make their “no” vote heard. This, sadly, is what passes for democracy at work these days.

We all knew this would happen. The day before recession hit Greece one business was booming: Gas mask sales. Even my local hardware shop had completely sold out. When we go to demonstrations in Greece we expect this. The cycle of strikes, protest and violence has unfortunately become one of the few things you can rely on in Athens today.

Leaving the riots we stopped to get one more shot of the massive police presence. On a main street in Athens a policeman came and asked us to hand over our camera. We refused and within seconds were surrounded by police trying to grab the camera and threatening to arrest us. When I asked the policeman to calm down and not be so aggressive, he said he liked being aggressive and asked what did I think, that he was my friend?

While making this documentary I was inspired to see that despite what our young protagonists have experienced they still hold on to the thin line of fading hope for a better future; they fight for it day by day and keep their humanity, their need to love and to laugh, intact.

I wanted this documentary to give these children the opportunity to show their lives to the world. Lives all too often reduced by the world media to an image of a petrol bomb exploding. It is a powerful image, but it is not the only one in their lives.