HUNDREDS of Greek Coast Guards’ special forces and riot police raided striking seafarers’ pickets at the port of Piraeus at 3.30 Wednesday morning.
During the night seafarers had been served with ‘civil conscription orders’ issued by the government who had declared a ‘national emergency situation’ on the ferries. The coast guards and riot police forced strikers to work and ferries left the port.
Despite the imminent threat of a police raid on the strikers, following the declaration 12 hours before of an ‘emergency situation’ by the government, the PNO (federation of seafarers’ trade unions) leaders were caught asleep.
They had called a mass solidarity meeting for 10.00am on Wednesday allowing the state forces to launch their operation during the critical nighttime.
Over 5,000 workers and students gathered for the rally in the port, including large delegations of port workers, engineers and ship repairs workers. Both the GSEE (Greek TUC) and the Piraeus Trades Council had called a 24-hour strike.
The march from the docks to the nearby Ministry for Maritime Affairs was stopped short by a large force of port military police and coast guard riot squads. PNO leaders then ordered the march back to the docks and that was that.
The PNO’s council, made up of the 14 seafarers’ trades unions, had met at 5.00am and issued a statement condemning the government’s action and promising another strike when the government presents the Seafarer’s Bill to the Vouli (Greek parliament).
The PNO had left seafarers without clear and firm directions as to what their action would be, following the government’s dictatorial ‘civil conscription’ edict.
Neither the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) nor the Greek Communist Party (KKE) had issued calls for an indefinite strike and for resistance to the government’s ‘civil conscription’, while the treacherous GSEE (Greek TUC) bureaucracy called an Athens-Piraeus-wide 24-hour strike after the event.
Right from the start of the strike a week ago, the Greek Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Marxist League (RML) had called for an indefinite political general strike to bring down the government as the only way for a seafarers’ victory.