GREEK YOUTH ATTACK POLICE STATIONS – While French students occupy lycées

French lycée students marching in Paris during the April 2006 general strike
French lycée students marching in Paris during the April 2006 general strike

FOR the fifth consecutive day Greek school and university students and workers continued to demonstrate in the capital Athens and in virtually all cities against the government seeking revenge for the killing of the 15-years old school boy Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police Special Guard last Saturday night.

Schools remained shut and dozens of university departments are under students’ occupation.

On Thursday morning students gathered outside their school and formed spontaneous demonstrations. They marched through their areas’ high streets demanding the overthrow of the government. They fiercely attacked banks and government buildings, supermarkets and police stations.

About 600 school students attacked, with stones and fruit for the second day, the port of Piraeus’ central police station as parents formed a protecting shield against police violence.

In the Patisia district of Athens, near the city centre, school students attacked the local police station; police counter-attacked with tear-gas, stun and smoke bombs.

In Salonica school and university students attacked the daily right-wing newspaper ‘Makedonia’, entered the premises and smashed up some machinery.

In 20 working class districts of Athens and Piraeus school students laid siege to police stations throwing stones and shouting ‘police murderers’ and ‘cops, pigs, murderers’.

Police retaliated with tear-gas and according to various reports, over 50 youth – one of them 12 years old – have been arrested by the police and are facing serious criminal charges.

In a most important development, school and university students and workers have occupied the Town Hall of the Aghios Demetrios working class borough of Athens.

The local branch of the Municipal Workers’ Union issued a call supporting the occupation. On Thursday night the occupation committee held an open to all Popular Assembly which discussed the youth’s uprising and how to organise the fight against the government.

In a heated discussion of some 500 people who packed the Town Hall’s theatre, school students and older workers spoke out against oppression, unemployment, low wages and bad schools.

The Assembly decided to hold a demonstration on Friday night and another discussion meeting inviting trade unions and local organisations to participate.

Athens students and workers have organised a mass demonstration for Friday afternoon in the city centre.

Meanwhile, in France lycées are being occupied, and the trade unions call a day of action for Thursday, December 18 against the Darcos lycée reforms.

The lycée students movement is commencing to spread like wildfire.

Several spontaneous and violent gatherings have taken place in the localities these past few days and the unions of the students are preparing several days of national action before the Christmas holidays.

UNL, the main lycée students union, has called a day of national demonstrations for Thursday, December 18. It has also called for the occupation of the lycées on the night of Monday to Tuesday, December 15 – 16.

For its part, FIDL, the other main union, has announced that next Tuesday and Thursday will be two days of ‘important mobilisations’.

The UNL has underlined that it would not support any of the ‘violent confrontational actions, even if they were isolated’ of the past three days.

It stated: ‘In view of the general climate which has set in, we call for the government to retract its reform of the lycée and its abolition of teaching posts, otherwise a real struggle for power will emerge.’

In several towns in Brittany, violent incidents have broken out during rallies of lycée students.

On Thursday for the fourth day running, incidents have taken place at Brest.

The members of the mobile gendarmerie fired several tear-gas grenades against a group of 150 – 200 youth, lycée students who were trying to block access to a bridge. The demonstrators, without banners or slogans, responded by throwing stones.

The same scenes have taken place for days in the centre of Brest, with a small group of youth confronting the forces of order and with some attacking cars, bus shelters and windows.

The headteachers have agreed that they are facing a hard core that is spontaneous but very determined as well as a very much larger group of more organised lycée students who were trying to demonstrate peacefully.

At Rennes, where several lycées are occupied, 3,500 students, have been mobilised without incident.

At Quimper, there were 1,400 according to the gendarmes, while at Nantes, where about 15 lycées are occupied, 600 lycée students had an orderly demonstration and dispersed without incident.

37 out of 70 lycées are strikebound in Basse-Normandie, according to the education authority – two thirds according to the UNL, In Vendée, 600 to 800 lycée students demonstrated before trying to meet the minister for transport, Dominique Bussereau, who was there to open a new TGV line, Paris to Les Sables d’Olonne.

At Aix-en-Provence, 200 lycée Vauvenargues pupils blocked the ring road for an hour before being dislodged by the CRS riot police.

According to the local education authority of Aix-Marseille, ‘things are on the move just about everywhere.’

At 11.30am on Thursday, 24 lycées were disrupted and six occupied in the area with thousands of students mobilised.

At Marseille, the lycée Victor Hugo has been occupied for the sixth day running.

At Nimes, the headmistress of lycée Daroux had been assaulted by some youth who wanted to block the entrance, according to the LEA.

A revolutionary youth movement is rapidly re-emerging in France after a period of calm. It has been inspired by the youth revolution taking place in Greece.