Athens: Reportback from anti-prison demo


According to rough estimates, nearly 4,000 individuals participated in the anarchist-antiauthoritarian demonstration on the 28th of June in downtown Athens.


People in struggle and in solidarity are obviously not figures in accounting books, nor does any total number equal the desire for freedom. However, the last few days, numbers are those that rudimentarily map one of the most massive mobilizations which have ever occurred within prison walls in Greece, so it is reminded that the participation of prisoners, who are fighting against the bill on inauguration of type C-maximum security prisons and introduction of special conditions of detention and isolation, so far consists of approximately 4,400 hunger strikers in 15 different hellholes, not counting all those who refuse prison meals. Already on the 28th of June, several hunger strikers in Koridallos, including imprisoned anarchist comrades, were transferred to the prison infirmary in need of immediate medical treatment.


At about 12pm solidarity people began to gather in Monastiraki Square, next to the metro station. Along with distribution of texts against the white torture cells and the Greek Guantanamo, there were also people who handed out leaflets about a recent attack by football’s mafia thugs on the Strouga squat, which is located in the district of Nea Filadelfeia (Athens). Shortly after 1.30pm, under a hot sun, anarchists, antiauthoritarians and other protesters (e.g. there was presence of Trotskyists) started to march with organized ‘safeguarding’ lines, taking a familiar route in the city centre: through Athinas Street towards Omonoia Square, and then turning to Stadiou Street on to Syntagma, where the parliament building was guarded by police as usual. Passersby were not that many. But there were plenty of repressive forces that watched closely from parallel streets, while some antiriot squads followed the demo from a distance. Leaving behind the disciplined line of an unsuspecting group of middle-aged tourists with their luggage in tow in the presence of antiriot cops in khaki uniforms, the anarchist-antiauthoritarian march walked on Panepistimiou Street, where it ended at about 2.30pm in front of the Propylaea.


The ‘pulse’ of protesters was not lively at all times, nonetheless those who chose to take to the streets were understandably conscious of the critical nature of this struggle, but also of the symbolic-vital character of the protest itself in major arteries of the city. Demonstrators carried various anti-prison banners (the most visible one, due to its height, being one by the Rocinante anarchosyndicalist initiative).


Many fliers were thrown, numerous leaflets were shared informing people about the ongoing struggle of prisoners, and a pet store that sells nonhuman animals packed into cages was spontaneously attacked, while lots of stencils against the maximum security prisons and various slogans and A in a circle were painted along the route. At the end of the Stadiou street, demonstrators exchanged greetings with laid-off workers (cleaning ladies formerly employed by the finance ministry) who stood on the sidewalk holding their own protest banner.


Finally, some of the slogans that were shouted during the demo are: “neither penal nor political prisoners, explosives and fire to every prison,” “all the values of this society are maximum security prisons,” “solidarity is people’s weapon, war against the bosses’ war,” “the prisoners from the galleys and we from the streets, together we will abolish the State and the laws,” “the passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons,” “listen up you humanguards, hands off the combatants,” “the States are the only terrorists, solidarity with urban guerrilla fighters,” “hunger strike inside the prison cells, struggle for life and for freedom,” “Greece of Greek policepeople, of snitches, murderers and torturers,” “the State is calling the fighters scumbags, scumbags are the antiriot squads and plainclothes cops,” “the State and the Capital are the only terrorists, solidarity with urban guerrilla fighters,” “free-free-freedom for those who are in prison cells”…


Strength to the hunger strikers in Greek prisons




first published on contra info