Over 5,000 workers and students demonstrated through Athens city centre on Thursday evening against the Zionist pirates and their murders of the Freedom Flotilla volunteers.
Earlier in the day, 31 Greek, three French and an American volunteer who were abducted, imprisoned and beaten up by the Israeli army, had flown in from Tel Aviv.
Prior to the march a highly emotional and militant rally was held welcoming the volunteers in Athens.
They had issued a statement saying that, ‘as long as Gaza is under siege, as long as Palestine is under occupation, as long the international community does not dare impose on Israel international law and international decisions, we will continue to prepare new missions and to sail towards the waters of Gaza, until the biggest concentration camp created by the Israelis in the 21st century ceases to exist.’
The American physician Dr Paul Larudee, of the Free Palestine Movement in California, spoke to the rally stating the determination of the volunteers to reach Gaza; his body was covered with bruises from the beatings he got from the Israeli soldiers.
Naim Elganour, the President of the Muslim Community in Greece, said that what has happened ‘has been like an earthquake in the Arab countries, and even the Cairo imam has called for action against the Zionists.’
Vagelis Pissias was badly beaten up by the Zionists and had to be carried to the platform to say a few words.
‘We will go back,’ he said, ‘we will break the Israeli siege,’ to tremendous applause from the rally.
Aris Papadokostopoulos, a Ship for Gaza volunteer, a dockworker from Elefsina a small industrial city 20 miles west of Athens, spoke to News Line.
He said: ‘The Elefsina and the Piraeus dockworkers raised money and bought badly needed goods for the Gaza Palestinians and we also sent them a forklift truck; now of course all these have been confiscated by the Israelis.
‘We have taken a decision and there is no way cargo from Israel can be unloaded at Elefsina; we have a total boycott on Israel and we ask all dockworkers throughout the world to do the same.
‘What we have suffered is nothing compared to what the Palestinians are suffering right now.’
The most popular slogans of the march to the Vouli (Greek parliament), under heavy escort by the riot police, were ‘Shut down the Zionist embassy’, ‘Hands off Gaza’, ‘Obama, Papandreou, Israel – you are all accomplices to the massacre’, and ‘Victory to Palestine’.
l In yet another determined demonstration of their total opposition to the government’s austerity measures, Greek journalists and printers as well as urban transport workers staged a 100 per cent rock-solid one-day national strike on Thursday.
Not a single paper was printed throughout Greece and TV and radio stations broadcast only music.
Thousands of striking journalists and printers marched through the Athens city centre on Thursday morning. Later transport workers – bus, metro and tram – staged their own militant rally.
The GSEE (Greek TUC) and the ADEDY (public sector trades unions federation) have called a mass rally in Athens for today.
Two days ago the Greek government of Yiorghos Papandreou announced a huge privatisation programme which includes water authorities, railways, ports, government properties, airports, roads and state hotels.
GSEE and ADEDY have stated that they will stage another one day general strike if Papandreou goes ahead with his Pensions and Privatisation Bills.