Forum for the Internationalist Communist Left
Faced with the disinformation by the media on what really is happening in Greece, we publish a witness account on the manifestation of the “100.000” at Athens, last February 12. The message has been transmitted to us by a correspondent from the list of the indignados (it has been translated from Spanish into French first). The tenor of the present combats in Greece has to be appreciated at its correct measure, but first and foremost it has to be taken up and developed, because what is going on in Greece announces what will soon arrive in a range of countries in Southern Europe, and consecutively in the heart of Europe. We have to salute the courage of the demonstrators who have broken with passivity, who reply to the violence of the system and who try to engage in new forms of solidarity in order to face up against the generalized misery that has been imposed upon them.
“The international media have spoken about last night in Greece. They have talked about fire, chaos, violence...
They talk about 100.000 peoples gathering at Syntagma square, but in no way mentioned the 200.000 who have been there in reality, neither the 300.000 who have not been able to reach the square because the roads and the subway had been blocked by the police.
They have not mentioned how the police has provoked the start of the violence at 17h. by spraying teargas all over Syntagma square, dispersing the demonstrators throughout Athen’s city center, in order to avoid their embarrassing presence right in front of Parliament.
The media have talked about blind destruction, without any symbolism, and have spread the rumor that the national library of Athens would be in flames. This is not true.
They have burnt banks, cafeterias and shops, franchises of multimillionaire industries who have brought Greece in this situation. The media talk about youngsters against the system, but not about the elderly with their gas masks, men and women who demonstrated their support by beating their hands and feet rhythmically against the fences of banks and multinationals for hours; by whistling and shouting to let the first lines resisting anti-riot police charges in roads filled up with tear gas feel their support. They applauded at the sight of flames spreading in Alpha bank and Eurobank.
They say that the violence will not solve the Greek situation, but they do not mention the inter-neighborhood assembly that has taken place last week at the university Pantios; they do not say that the occupation of the university of Nomiki aimed at being a center of exchange and debates between the different Greek movements; they do not mention the free canteens and exchange markets that are organized every week in the neighborhoods.
What the media will not tell is that during the last massive expropriation in a super market, the demonstrators organized a distribution of products in a working class neighborhood of Saloniki. Old women told that they had missed the distribution but that the demonstrators want to come back, and that even if they do not, they will stay on their side.
What the media will not tell is that, as one walked across a working class neighborhood for a small demonstration, far away from the center, the people came out on their balconies and raised their fists. As the size of the demonstration grew, the people left their homes and joined it. The small elder women appeared and applauded, the elder men … (Incredible!) they sang hymns, that I don’t understand at all but... you cannot imagine, you have no idea! That is what they will not tell in the media, but we do.
Here at Athens, they know that they are not alone, that all Europe goes down the same road. What they do not know is that we are doing something for the rest of Europe... Yes, we are doing something for the rest of Europe.
You do not only see the present of Greece, you see our future.”
Balance sheet and some figures...
200 000 demonstrators in front of the Parliament.
300 000 others who could not arrive there (roads and subways were blocked by the police).
Inhabitants of Crete have requisitioned a Greek TV channel.
The Mayor’s office of Volos has been partly burnt.
The tax center has been ravaged.
The Attikon cinema has been burnt. It dated from 1870. The Gestapo used it for torture.
A weapon store on the Athinas street has been looted.
Numerous banks burnt, among which branch offices of Starbucks bank and Eurobank. The banks had preemptively emptied the ATM’s
125 000 demonstrators in Athens.
The national library has not been burnt!
A museum of History of mankind has partly been burnt.
An attempt to take over the Mayor’s office of Athens has failed because the police had intervened timely.
The bureau’s of the parties who have voted YES to the austerity plan have been attacked in severla towns in Greece.
About fifty buildings were either partly or completely burnt down.
(Translation from French: February 18, 2012)
(Corrections: February 21, 2012)