Socialist Worker

Greek protests shake government

Issue No. 2134

Protesters in Athens

Protesters in Athens


The movement against Greece’s right wing government returned to the streets last week.

Huge protests, walkouts and strikes spread across the country following the police killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15 year old boy, in Athens in December.

The anger over this and issues such as the economic crisis has not gone away.

Panos Garganas is the editor of Workers Solidarity, Socialist Worker’s sister paper in Greece.

He said, “There was a big demonstration of around 20,000 people against the government in Athens on Friday of last week. Students made up the main bulk of it but there was a large contingent of teachers on the march.

“Prime minister Costas Karamanlis had to reshuffle his cabinet on Thursday of last week.

“He replaced the minister of education with one of the softest members of New Democracy.

“Other people to be replaced were the treasury minister, the minister of police and the transport minister.

“These are all areas in which the government has clearly failed.

“Despite this presentation of a ‘softer’ face by the government, Friday’s demonstration ended with what was in effect a police riot.

“The police arrested a number of lawyers, and members of the press were roughed up.

“The most conservative elements in Greece are trying to use a recent armed attack on police to try to calm the movement.

“They are saying that people should speak out against violence on both sides. It is unclear what kind of effect this will have on the movement.

“There are going to be assemblies in many universities this week to discuss continuing the occupations there.

“There is going to be a tough fight to ensure that happens – as the Greek Communist Party is hostile to the occupations.

“The unions are also discussing how they should take their fight forward.

“The anti-war movement has taken to the streets again against Israel’s onslaught in Gaza, with 10,000 people marching in Athens last Saturday.

“Reports that the US is shipping arms to Israel through Greece is increasing people’s anger.

“A shipment has arrived from the US at the port of Astakos in western Greece. Local people are planning a protest on Thursday of this week.

“The unions have called another demonstration over Gaza for this Saturday.”


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International
Tue 13 Jan 2009, 18:37 GMT
Issue No. 2134
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