skaramanga

Greek Police Leak Plan “To Evict 40 squats Across The Country”

The police are putting into action a plan to evict about 40 buildings that have been occupied by various groups across the country. After the intervention in the squats of Villa Amalias and Skaramanga, the ministry of public order is planning to take more action in the following days.

According to the newspaper The News, the intervention in the squat Skaramanga took place only a few hours after the attempted re-occupation of Villa Amalias on Wednesday, whilst – according to information [meaning: by the police — trans ] – it was planned to take place after a few days. However, it was decided that it should take place immediately instead, in order to send a direct message that “situations of lawlessness will no longer be tolerated”.

Typical of the atmosphere at the Ministry of Public order was the comment made by an official: “in Villa Amalias the first squat lasted for 22 years and the second one for 22 minutes”.

At the same time the 93 arrested of Villa Amalias declare in a statement of theirs published online: “We knew that we will come under attack and obviously that we would be arrested. We will do it again as many times as it takes, for this and for any other social space of resistance of those from below that comes under attack. Neither weapons, nor their slandering scare us […] Against the hurricane of repression, let’s pit the storm of solidarity

As announced already, there will be more actions on Saturday. At noon on Saturday there will be a [solidarity] gathering at the Propylea [of the University of Athens].

When Antonis Samaras went to the Saronic Gulf this week to launch the first submarine made in Greece, he described the country’s shipyards as “weapons of growth.”

Standing in the Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas, 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) west of Athens, the prime minister said a period of “inertia and obsolescence is giving way to a new era.” For unemployed dock worker Mouzafer Palikar, the words rang hollow.

Palikar, 55, is one of 1.3 million jobless Greeks that represent one of the biggest scars on an economy still recovering from its worst recession since World War II. With the highest unemployment rate in the euro area, that’s blemishing Samaras’s attempts to rebrand Greece and lure investors after the country’s benchmark 10-year bond yield fell to the lowest in almost five years.

“There’s no return to growth here,” said Palikar, whose wife and two adult sons are also without work. “There was money before. We worked hard for it, a lot of hours, but we didn’t mind. Now there’s nothing.”

The nation has shed more than a million jobs since the start of its debt crisis after an economic slump that destroyed a quarter of its output. Greece’s jobless rate was at 27 percent in June and it probably stayed close to that level in July, economists said in a survey before data today. That compares with a euro-area average of 11.5 percent.

Battle For The Squats In Athens

There now seems little doubt that the Greek state is carrying out a sizeable and sustained assault on squats and the anarchists movement in general. In the last weeks as well as Villa Amalias, two other squats in central Athens have been attacked by police forces. This may just be the beginning of a bigger operation. A leaked report suggests that the Greek police are planning to attack 40 squats around the country. After the events of the last few days there also seems little doubt that should the police carry out this plan they will have to fight for every single building.

The eviction of one of the oldest squats in Athens, Villa Amalias, on 20th December was the first strike. Soon after came a raid against another occupied building known as ASOEE. Next after the attempt to reoccupy Villa Amalias on the 9th January the police targeted the Skaramanga squat. A leaked police plan reported on mainstream Greek media suggests that the next stage of this assault would target up to 40 occupied buildings across Greece. The raid on Skaramanga was probably planned for a later date but brought forward as a retaliation for the reoccupation of Villa Amalias. Rather than isolated raids the events of the last week would seem to be part of a strategy of repression aimed directly against the anarchist movement in Greece.

Throughout the years of social unrest unleashed by continuous rounds of harsh austerity measures, ideas and actions of resistance have been increasing in Greece. Over the last months there has been a marked increase in repressive tactics against any section of society which could offer resistance. Workers on strike have been attacked, journalists reporting corruption have been arrested, anti-migrant sweeps have led to 60,000 detentions, and new weapons such as water cannon have been deployed. These latest attacks show the squats to be the next target for state repression.

In the face of this attack people have not been passive and have jumped to defend the squats and their communities. The most dramatic and powerful day so far was certainly the 9th January. Early in the morning there was a daring attempt to reoccupy Villa Amalias. Dozens of people managed to get back inside the building despite a police presence. Soon however substantial police reinforcements were brought up and the building invaded again. This led to the detention of around 100 people who were taken away to the police headquarters shouting the traditional slogan ‘the passion for freedom is stronger than the prisons’. In a statement released by the arrested they demonstrate clearly their determination not to give up in the face of repression:

We re-occupied the guarded Villa Amalias knowing that we will be attacked and obviously that we would be arrested. We will do it again, as many times as it takes, for this and for any other social space of resistance of those from below that might come under attack. We say it once again, tirelessly: neither their weapons, nor their slandering can scare us.

As soon as news spread about the occupation and the police attack more actions took place around the city. The offices of the governmental party DIMAR were briefly occupied in solidarity until it too was attacked leading to another 40 detentions. Protests then moved around the centre of Athens with police forces using tear gas to remove people from the finance ministry building. It was about this time that the Skarmanga squat was raided with another eight people being detained. Throughout the day there were protests, gatherings and assemblies in active support of the squats and those detained. By the end of the night police forces had invaded the neighbourhood of Exarchia which is regarded as something of an autonomous space.

The total number of detentions came to around 150 which would mean this is the single biggest number of anarchists arrested in one day for 15 years. Many of these face charges including 92 from Villa Amalias who at the time of writing are still being held at the police headquarters.

So it seems we have entered a new dangerous phase in Greece. The state has selected its next target and people are left wondering who will be attacked next. Instead of fear however people have reacted boldly and the bonds of solidarity are going stronger. The events of 9th January show that people aren’t bowing down they are resisting repression together. The original raid on Villa Amalias took place three weeks ago and yet the battle still continues. The community of the Villa has not been crushed. In light of this the police plan to attack dozens more squats suddenly seems very ambitious as they will have to fight for every single one. In the words of the arrested:

Against the hurricane of repression, let’s pit the storm of solidarity!