At 8.00am on Thursday morning the armed Greek riot police invaded the building of the State Electricity Board (DEH) Computer Centre in Athens which has been occupied by workers since Sunday night demanding the scrapping of the property tax attached to electricity bills.
The president of the DEH trade union, Nikos Fotopoulos, and eight other trade unionists as well as demonstrators who resisted the riot police, were arrested.
The riot police operation started with the clearance from the front of the building of the hundreds of workers and youth who had congregated in support of the occupation.
They then pushed their way into the courtyard of the building by beating up with their truncheons the occupying workers who fought back with their fists.
Thousands of workers and students are massing outside the DEH building now under riot police occupation. The DEH trade union declared a 48-hour strike just for those working in the DEH Computer Centre. A four-hour stoppage for Thursday was declared for all DEH workers in the Athens region.
In the Vouli (Greek parliament) the Deputy Agriculture Minister Asterios Rontoulis, of the racist LAOS party that participates in the coalition government, stated that the riot police acted lawfully against ‘fiefdoms’ declared by trade unionists.
Last Wednesday, many local councils’ leaders and trade union leaders had spoken to a mass rally outside the DEH Computer Centre.
DEH president Fotopoulos spoke to the News Line and defiantly stated: ‘we are not going away, we will stay and put up a fight and we’ll see who will win, the police or us; we will do the same in the power stations which the government wants to privatise.’
The Greek coalition government of Lucas Papademos plans to break up DEH, the biggest enterprise in Greece, and sell off mines and power stations.