‘the Last Days Of The Karamanlis Government’

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Greek school students demonstrating in Athens last Friday against the police killing of a 15-year-old boy. Continuous protests, strikes and fighting with the police has taken place across Greece for the last week since the shooting
Greek school students demonstrating in Athens last Friday against the police killing of a 15-year-old boy. Continuous protests, strikes and fighting with the police has taken place across Greece for the last week since the shooting

GREEK police made hundreds of arrests as students and youth continued the mass demonstrations against the government in Athens and all major cities.

On Saturday thousands of school and university students occupied the Constitution Square in front of the Vouli (Greek parliament) demanding the resignation of the right wing government of Kostas Karamanlis.

Despite riot police provocations and attacks they stayed put, and in the night they staged a candle-lit vigil in memory of the 15-years-old school boy Alexis Grigoropoulos shot dead by a police Special Guard the previous Saturday night.

Throughout the weekend in every district of Athens school students and youth organised various activities their constant targets being police stations, banks and government buildings.

A mass demonstration has been planned by the students this Monday, December 14, outside the Athens Police HQ.

Next Thursday a rally has been called by students and the ADEDY (public sector trades unions federation). School students are planning their own local and city-wide demonstrations and road and railway blockades.

Last Friday university and school students staged yet another mass and impressive demonstration throughout Athens. At the front of the demonstration were large contingents of secondary teachers and university lecturers with their trade union banners stating ‘the government is guilty of the murder’.

Again, the demonstration was dominated by chants and slogans calling for the overthrow of the government; the most popular being ‘to the banks billions – to the students bullets – these are the government’s last days’.

Other slogans were shouted including: ‘The government’s policy kills – down with the Karamanlis government’;

‘The blood seeks revenge’;

‘Terrorism won’t stop us! One in the ground thousands in the struggle’;

‘The riot police are the hooligans’.

At the start of last week the demonstrators demanded the disarming of the police and the disbanding of the riot police. Now the calls are to disband the police.

But the opposition political parties are refusing to call for the overthrow of the government despite the fact that their own supporters are demanding it.

The GSEE (Greek TUC) has remained silent and has refused to call out workers to join the students and youth. The GSEE leaders have called a 24-hour strike for the 22 December but rather as a safety valve for the protests.

The leadership of the Stalinist KKE (Greek Communist Party) have branded the school students and youth who have been attacking banks, police stations and government buildings as ‘hooded hooligans’.

The KKE’s General Secretary Aleka Paparigha said that these youths are directed ‘by secret service centres inside and outside Greece’.

But KKE members and supporters have started to join the school and university students’ occupations and demonstrations.

The youth uprising is a spontaneous revolutionary movement which has become deeply political following Alexis Grigoropoulos’ funeral last Tuesday.

Since then the dominant slogans at the demonstrations have been for the overthrow of the government.

The Karamanlis government has failed to beat this movement with the riot police.

Various government deputies are calling for the lifting of certain articles of the Constitution to impose martial law in the Athens area and in the major Greek cities. These deputies are calling for a ban on demonstration and strikes, and the imposition of curfews.

Greek newspaper reports stated that the riot police have used up nearly all their stocks of tear-gas canisters, smoke and stun bombs and the government is set to import such ammunition from Israel.