Strike Wave Mounts As Colonel Is Killed

Seafarers’ pickets and tourists at the port of Piraeus last Wednesday
Seafarers’ pickets and tourists at the port of Piraeus last Wednesday

According to the Greek police, a powerful ‘parcel bomb’ exploded at 8.20pm on Thursday on the seventh floor of the Greek Ministry for the Protection of the Citizen, killing Police Superintendent Yiorghos Vasilakis, 52, a security advisor to the Minister Michalis Chrysochoides; he was alone in an office room which was devastated by the explosion.

It is the first time that a ‘parcel bomb’ has exploded in Greece.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the explosion which occurred at the very heart of the Ministry which houses the Greek Intelligence Service and all security services.

A few years ago, Chrysochoides was decorated by the FBI in a special event in the US for his determination to fight terrorism.

The Greek Prime Minister Yiorghos Papandreou stated that ‘in a period where our country and our people are putting up a daily fight to get out of the crisis, coward assassins want to wage a blow against our democracy’.

The explosion takes place in a period of tremendous political crisis for the Papandreou regime which is preparing to table the hated Pensions Bill in the Vouli (Greek parliament) on Monday, a Bill which destroys the state pensions system, replacing it with a welfare allowance of just 370 euros per month; workers would have to work at least 40 years to get a pension and must be over 65 years of age.

The GSEE (Greek TUC) and the ADEDY (public sector trades unions federation) have called a one-day general strike for Tuesday, against the Pensions Bill which now contains an appendix allowing for mass sackings and the employment of 15-year-old youths for just 470 euros a month.

It will be the fifth general strike in the last four months called by the GSEE against the Greek government’s austerity measures dictated by the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission.

GSEE have organised a protest march throughout the Greek capital Athens to the Vouli building on Tuesday afternoon. But a number of trade unionists have called for occupations and a blockade of the Vouli.

In the previous general strike marches, the Greek riot police, directed by Chrysochoides, have ruthlessly attacked workers with tear gas.

The Pensions Bill has created civil-war conditions within the ruling PASOK party and its trade union section.

Leaflets have appeared calling on the government parliamentary deputies not to vote for the Pensions Bill.

The government majority is just seven in the Vouli, having been reduced when three PASOK deputies refused to vote for the IMF austerity measures last month.