‘DOWN with the government of murderers’ shouted over 50,000 enraged workers and students last Thursday in Athens in a most militant march on the 24-hour General Strike called by the GSEE (Greek TUC) and ADEDY (Public Sector Federation of Unions).
Once again the K. Mitsotakis government unleashed the armed riot police squads who attacked marchers viciously with their truncheons and tear-gas in front of the Vouli (Greek parliament).
Street battles ensued throughout Athens city centre as demonstrators used rubbish bins and construction materials to form makeshift barricades. They set them on fire to negate the riot police’s tear-gas.
Police employed vans to drive through and smash the barricades and this action resulted in injuring a person who was taken to hospital.
Demonstrators fought back tremendously against the riot police attacks, which were not able to enter the occupations of theatres and the main administrative building of Athens University in the city centre.
A riot police squad accompanied by a ‘water-cannon’ vehicle could not advance and attack demonstrators, as women sat in front of the vehicle and people showered police with abuse from a close distance. After 15 minutes the squad and the ‘water-cannon’ were withdrawn to huge cheers by the people.
It is now clear, following last week’s and Thursday’s street battles, that the riot police have lost the initiative and cannot break up the masses of marchers who confidently fight back.
Last Thursday’s general strike massive march was dominated by anti-government chanting and several banners called for the overthrow of Prime Minister Mitsotakis.
The anger and determination of the demonstrators to overthrow the Mitsotakis junta prevailed, contrary to the slogans of the organisers of the two Thursday’s marches (one by the ADEDY, one by the Communist Party’s trade union section PAME), who only demanded: ‘not a cover up of the crime’ of the train crash two weeks ago in central Greece that killed over 100 people mostly university students.
The leftist-led Co-ordination of Trades Unions formed a block of over 5,000 made up of large contingents of school teachers, hospital workers, seafarers, shop-assistants, service workers and thousands of school and university students.
Following the strike march and the street battles, the Co-ordination of Trades Unions held a mass meeting of some 500 workers and youth at the occupied Athens Lyric Theatre.
Speakers from trade unions and students’ unions called for a fight to overthrow the government, disband the riot police, form a Centre of Struggle, in opposition to the GSEE and ADEDY treacherous leaders, and continue the fight with weekly mass rallies and another 24-hour general strike at the beginning of April.
Rallies by trade unions have been announced for next Monday and Tuesday, as the Greek government would be introducing a Bill for privatisation of natural environment and of water supply, on orders from the EU.