4,000 Greek students march in support of hunger striker

Monday’s 4,000 strong Athens march in support of hunger striker Dimitris Koufontinas

SOME 4,000 students and workers marched in Athens on Monday night in the biggest demonstration so far in support of imprisoned hunger striker Dimitris Koufontinas, now in the 55th day of his total hunger strike.

He is being held in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of Lamia hospital some 200km north of the Greek capital.

A large support march was also held in Thessaloniki.

On Sunday, government spokesman Khristos Tarantilis resigned, citing family reasons.

Koufontinas’ sole demand is to return to his cell in the Athens Korydallos prison where he has been held for 16 years in isolation. Last year the Greek government decided to move him to a prison away from his family in Athens.

Koufontinas was convicted by an Athens court as the leader of the ‘17th November’ group which carried out assassinations and attacks on Greek and foreign intelligence agents, and Greek politicians. The first victim of the ‘17th November’ group was top CIA agent Richard Wells in 1976.

Monday evening’s Athens protest march was organised by the Initiative of Lawyers and Attorneys who have appealed to the Greek State President Katerina Sakellaropoulou to intervene. She has not responded.

Meanwhile the Greek Supreme Court, to which Koufontina’s lawyer appealed, claimed that they could not intervene.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Public Order Minister Mikhalis Khrysokhoides are at the centre of the demonstrators’ wrath, especially from university students.

In contrast to EU states, in Greece prisons are under the direction of the Public Order Minister and not the Justice Minister. Khrysokhoides is widely referred to in the Greek press as ‘America’s man’ in the Greek government.

He has repeatedly ordered the hated armed riot police squads to attack students’ and workers’ demonstrations.

The well known professional Greek photographer Marios Lolos has condemned Facebook authorities for deleting his page because he posted photographs of Monday’s Athens demonstration.

Scores of social media posts have also protested against censorship in Facebook and other media.