Socialist Worker

‘We are still on the streets in Greece’

Protests and strikes are leading to a growing radicalisation and increasing the pressure on the Greek government, writes Matthew Cookson

Issue No. 2133

Striking teachers and health workers joined students on a mass protest at the end of December. The demonstration was over the police killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos and economic issues (Pic: http://reportdigital.co.uk/

Striking teachers and health workers joined students on a mass protest at the end of December. The demonstration was over the police killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos and economic issues (Pic: Solidarity

“Over 10,000 people protested in Athens in solidarity with the Palestinians last Saturday. People threw a hail of stones at the Israeli embassy.

“The government remains under a lot of pressure. There is lots of talk that prime minister Costas Karamanlis is going to reshuffle his cabinet in an attempt to relieve the tension.

“But he is yet to do it, and will probably wait until after this Friday’s demonstration to gauge the continuing strength of the movement.

“Karamanlis also faces major problems with the failing economy. A number of prominent politicians have said that the country’s economic woes are so deep that it will have to go to the International Monetary Fund for help in repaying its debt.

“We expect that the main universities will be occupied again from next week. The occupation movement could then spread.”

The Thursday before Christmas saw strikes by hospital workers and teachers, who joined a mass protest of students in Athens.

Panos said, “Tens of thousands of people joined the demonstration.

“The bulk of it was made up of university and school students, but there was a large number of strikers at the head of the march.

“The hospital workers had called their strike over understaffing, wages and other issues, before the killing of Alexandros.

“The march was very successful and was peaceful until it arrived at parliament. That was when the police attacked it, and there were clashes until the evening.

“The Greek TUC also demonstrated against the government’s budget plans, which give billions of euros to the bankers.”

Over 2,000 people protested in Athens on Saturday 20 December against the Greek state’s attacks on migrants.

“The march connected the issue of anti-racism with the new movement that has broken out,” said Panos.

Victim

“Protesters held a picture of the latest victim of police attacks on migrants, who is still in hospital. Representatives from the Pakistani community followed, with the university and school students behind them.”

The growing radicalisation is having a beneficial effect on Greece’s far left.

“The Anti-Capitalist Left and the Front of the Radical Left, who both stood in the last election, have called a mass meeting on 31 January.

“This is the first time there has been a joint meeting on this basis. The last time such a meeting would have taken place in Greece was in the 1970s.

“Every event is leading to more radicalisation.”


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International
Tue 6 Jan 2009, 18:40 GMT
Issue No. 2133
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