STUDENTS and unemployed youth have occupied the Law School building of Athens University in the centre of the city demanding the closing down of the high security prisons, the release of the relatives of those arrested accused of terrorism as well as the release of gravely ill Savas Xiros, the convicted member of the 17th November group, imprisoned since 2004.
In agreement with these demands, several prisoners convicted on terrorism charges have gone on hunger strike.
Last Tuesday night, some 3,000 students and youths, most of them with anarchist banners and flags, marched through Athens as Greek police buses sealed off the Law School area.
Other left-wing students, in solidarity with the occupation, demonstrated outside the Law School stating that they were protecting it from a riot police assault.
Following last Tuesday evening’s march, youths set fire to rubbish bins and it was reported that two cars were on fire.
Greek mass media has been making a hysterical lying broadcast about the occupation claiming that the building was being ‘destroyed’ and ‘vandalised’ while ‘objects’ were thrown on to the streets by the occupying students. The only evidence mass media could muster was some broken glass.
The Greek Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos said that the high security prisons would be shut down and that the relatives of those arrested would be released. He is also proposing that Savas Xiros is released from prison.
On Tuesday night, the Greek government tabled in the Vouli (Greek parliament) its first Bill since taking power two months ago. The Social Humanitarian Crisis Bill includes free electricity and meals to those families in ‘absolute poverty’ but it fails to address the needs of the millions of Greek people on or under the so-called poverty line estimated at one third of the total population.
A government amendment to the Bill provides a 100-instalment payment scheme for taxpayers to settle their debts to the state and to safeguard homes from sequestration by the banks.
But the European Commission’s chief representative on the troika, Declan Costello, currently in Athens examining Greece’s books, has described in a letter to the Greek government the Social Humanitarian Crisis Bill and its amendments as ‘unilateral actions’ by Greece contrary to the austerity measures extension agreement signed with the EC, ECB and IMF on February 20 this year.
Costello demands the withdrawal of the Bill.
The Greek government has dismissed Costello’s demands and has called on all parties to vote for the Bill scheduled for Wednesday night.