Friday, October 21, 2011

Riots in Greece amid general strike

A Fire Bomb Explodes Near Riot Police During A Violent Demonstration In Athens, October 18, 2011

Hundreds of rioting youths smashed and looted stores in central Athens overnight during a big anti-government rally against painful new austerity measures that erupted into violence.

Outside parliament, demonstrators hurled chunks of marble and petrol bombs at riot police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

Police said at least 14 officers were hospitalized with injuries. At least three journalists covering the demonstrations sustained minor injuries.

The violence spread across the city center, as at least 100,000 people marched through the Greek capital on the first day of a two-day general strike that unions described as the largest protest in years.

Police and rioters held running battles through the narrow streets of central Athens, as thick black smoke billowed from burning trash and bus-stops.

The strike, which grounded flights, disrupted public transport and shut down shops and schools, came before a parliamentary vote late on Thursday on new tax increases and spending cuts.

International creditors have demanded the reforms before they give Greece its next infusion of cash. Greece says it will run out of money in a month without the 8 billion ($13.8 billion) bailout money from its partners that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund.

Most of the protesters who converged in central Athens marched peacefully, but crowds outside of parliament clashed with police who tried to disperse them with repeated rounds of tear gas.

A petrol bomb set fire to a presidential guard sentry post at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Parliament, while running clashes broke out in several side streets near the legislature and the capital's main Syntagma Square.

Nearby, groups of hooded, masked protesters tore chunks of marble off building fronts with hammers and crowbars and smashed windows and bank signs. Scuffles also broke out among rioters and demonstrators trying to prevent youths from destroying storefronts and banks along the march route.

Vendors sold swimming goggles to rioters, who used them to ward off the tear gas.

Thousands of people watched the skirmishes, some standing on kiosk roofs to get a better view. Trash was strewn around the streets, and some protesters set clumps of it on fire.

In Greece's second city of Thessaloniki, protesters smashed the facades of about 10 shops that defied the strike and remained open, as well as five banks and cash machines. Police fired tear gas and threw stun grenades.

All sectors from dentists, hospital doctors and lawyers to shop owners, tax office workers, pharmacists, teachers and dock workers walked off the job before a parliamentary vote Thursday on new austerity measures which include new taxes and the suspension of tens of thousands of civil servants.

Flights were grounded in the morning but some resumed at noon after air traffic controllers scaled back their strike plan from 48 hours to 12. Dozens of domestic and international flights were still canceled. Ferries remained tied up in port, while public transport workers staged work stoppages but kept buses, trolleys and the Athens subway system running to help protesters.

In Parliament, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told lawmakers that Greeks had no choice but to accept the hardship.

"We have to explain to all these indignant people who see their lives changing that what the country is experiencing is not the worst stage of the crisis," he said. "It is an anguished and necessary effort to avoid the ultimate, deepest and harshest level of the crisis. The difference between a difficult situation and a catastrophe is immense."

About 3,000 police deployed in central Athens, shutting down two subway stations near parliament as protest marches began. Protesters banged drums and chanted slogans against the government and Greece's international creditors who have pressured the country to push through rounds of tax hikes and spending cuts.

"We just can't take it any more. There is desperation, anger and bitterness," said Nikos Anastasopoulos, head of a workers' union for an Athens municipality.

Other municipal workers said they had no option but to take to the streets.

"We can't make ends meet for our families," said protester Eleni Voulieri. "We've lost our salaries, we've lost everything and we're in danger of losing our jobs."

Demonstrations during a similar 48-hour strike in June left the center of Athens convulsed by violence as rioters clashed with police on both days while deputies voted on another austerity package inside Parliament.

Piles of garbage festered on Athens street corners despite yesterday government order to garbage crews to end their 17-day strike. Earlier in the week, private crews removed some trash from along the planned demonstration routes, but mounds remained on side streets, along some of the march routes and in city neighborhoods.

Protesting civil servants have also staged rounds of sit-ins at government buildings, with some, including the Finance Ministry, under occupation for days.

Most stores in the city center, including bakeries and kiosks were shut Wednesday. Several shop owners said they had received threats that their stores would be smashed if they attempted to open.

The measures to be voted on come after more than a year and a half of repeated spending cuts and tax increases. They include new tax hikes, further pension and salary cuts, the suspension on reduced pay of 30,000 public servants and the suspension of collective labor contracts.

A communist party-backed union has vowed to encircle Parliament Thursday in an attempt to prevent deputies from entering the building for the vote.

The reforms have been so unpopular that even some lawmakers from the governing Socialists have indicated they might vote against them.

Meanwhile, European countries are trying to work out a broad solution to the continent's deepening debt crisis, before a weekend summit in Brussels. It became clear earlier this year that the initial bailout for Greece was not working as well as had been hoped, and European leaders agreed on a second, 109 billion ($188 billion) bailout.

But key details of that rescue fund, including the participation of the private sector, remain to be worked out.


-AP


Comment:


First in Greece they had peaceful demonstrations. Then the arrests began. The government failed to listen to the people. Then began the violence.


Here in America, the demonstrations and arrests have already begun. Next up is the violence and riots. It is coming comrades, have no doubt of that. Just give it some more time. Things are worse in Greece than here, but we'll catch up sooner or later. Probably sooner than later at the rate things are deteriorating.


I want to make it plain that I'm not advocating any sort of violence, but we must be ready if - no - when it happens. When it comes, always think before you act. Let's not do anything stupid in the heat of the moment. Self-defense, YES! Pointless violence, NO!


Pointless violence only serves the enemy. The ANP is a revolutionary organization. Revolutions are organized. Riots aren't. Protect yourself and your family by all means, but save the offensive violence for the revolution. It's going to happen. When it does, we'll need to be ready. Until that time, let's stay on the right side of the law. You can do more good for the cause on the outside, than rotting inside of one of ZOG's gulags.


Dan 88!

5 comments:

  1. hey Dan do you know anything about the National Socialist party in greece called the Golden Dawn party?

    are they doing anything to take advantage of the riots?

    ReplyDelete
  2. hey Dan are you gonna vote for Ron Paul?
    I think he is the best candidate out of all the others.
    I may not agree with him 100% on everything but he seems better than all the other candidates and he wants to cut aid to Israel and everyone else and bring the troops back and put them on the border.
    do you think he is good?

    ReplyDelete
  3. -------------------------------------October 21, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    7:56 Am - I don't know much about them. I think
    I'll check and see if they have a website.

    2:00 PM - I don't trust politicians. I'm not really sure about Mr. Paul. But as they say, "Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil."

    Dan 88!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really think Ron Paul might be actually be a good candidate...he isn't taking money from the big banker jews like obama did and opposes all the wars and foreign aid. and he is the candidate serious about securing the border by putting troops on it. if it ends up being obama vs ron paul I will surely be casting my vote for ron.

    ReplyDelete
  5. -------------------------------------October 23, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    I often do not vote for any politician. I don't trust them.

    I do usually vote for or against the various "Propositions."

    Sometimes, those do help. We'd have legalised Gay marriages if it weren't for a proposition. The last proposition to raise tobacco tax failed
    because it was voted down. As a smoker, that meant a lot to me.

    As to Mr. Paul, he does seem better than most politicians, but I'm still skeptical of him. You can't get to the White House without getting in the back pockets of at least SOME special interest groups.

    Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I don't trust any politician that is not one of us.

    If Mr. Paul does get elected, which I seriously doubt, and if he keeps all of his promises, which I doubt even more, then I'll gladly apologize for suspecting him.

    Dan 88!

    ReplyDelete