Anti-government fury at Greek pensioner’s funeral

The demonstration from the cemetery to Syntagma Square. Banner reads ‘Rage must become collective struggle’
The demonstration from the cemetery to Syntagma Square. Banner reads ‘Rage must become collective struggle’

The funeral of a Greek pensioner on Saturday turned into a mass anti-government protest.

About 1,000 workers and youth attended the civil funeral in Athens, there was no religious ceremony, of 77-year-old pensioner Dimitris Christoulas who shot himself last Wednesday in Syntagma Square, in front of the Vouli (Greek parliament)

Christoulas left a hand-written note blaming the ‘occupation government’ and called on young people to take up Kalashnikovs and ‘hang upside down the nation’s traitors’.

As the coffin was placed in the main cemetery square people applauded, raised their fists and shouted ‘Immortal’, ‘Down with the EC-IMF government of traitors’, ‘The right thing is to spray them with Kalashnikov bullets – this is how they (the government) will get to their senses,’ and many more.

Several people who knew Christoulas as a militant in the Syntagma square demonstrations, in the protest movements against high taxes and road tolls and from his neighbourhood, spoke at the funeral praising his total commitment to the struggle against the Greek government which he considered as ‘a government of traitors’.

In her oration, Christoulas’ daughter, Emy a journalist who covered the struggle of the Palestinians in Gaza in 2007, called him ‘father and comrade’ and spoke of his insistence on Socialism despite the many setbacks to the fight Christoulas had suffered in his life.

Following the funeral people marched from the cemetery to Syntagma Square where Christoulas shot himself. In front of the march were two banners carried by people from his neighbourhood stating, ‘To be human not just alive is the main thing,’ and ‘Rage must become collective struggle.’

Marchers placed more messages and flowers at the tree in Syntagma Square where Christoulas sacrificed himself.

At that point, two armed policemen approached the site, holding their truncheons according to eye witnesses. They were chased away by furious people who beat them up, one policeman leaving his jacket and belt behind containing handcuffs and a knife. The jacket was put up in the tree.

Meanwhile, seafarers have forced their bureaucratic trade union leaders to declare a 48-hour national ferry strike for this Tuesday and Wednesday, Greek Easter being next Sunday.

Trade Union leaders have been engaged in frantic talks with the Development Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, hated by workers.

Seafarers insist that their pensions and health services must be safeguarded and crews must be made up solidly of current union members.