Powerful image by photographer Marios Lolos, illustrates the consequenses of austerity: person holding a piece of paper with the words ”My god, I am so afraid of going hungry!!!”
On Wednesday July 15th, thousands took to the streets of Athens to protest against the new austerity measures causing a deeper financial and humanitarian crisis affecting primarily the vulnerable segments of the population. While MPs were voting in favour of the memorandum, clashes with the police attest the reluctance of the public to accept further cuts and privatizations occuring amidst incredibly high levels of poverty, unemployment and mental illness.
According to the leftist party Antarsya, there was ”an out of control represssion as thousands of protesters were attacked with tear gas and the police did everything possibe to reduce participation in this mobilization against the new memorandum. It seems that both troika and coercion are back”. The Anarchosyndicalist Initiative Rocinante denounced the attacks against protesters and the intimidation by delta squad who drove their motorcycles straight into their bloc as well as the arbitrary arrests based on fabricated charges.
The video below (by @kiminatini) shows the violent arrest of a protester who was assaulted by a group of police officers while he was was lying on the ground, did not resist his arrest and did not pose a threat to anyone. This is another incident of police brutality that the government fails to perceive as an issue, despite the fact that Syriza MPs used to support abolition of riot squads because of all the violence against protesters. Since the ”leftist” party now openly supports neoliberal reforms and more austerity measures are to follow next week, the frequence of these incidents will ordinarily be on the rise.
Thirteen people have been under arrest, five of which are facing felony charges. The remaining arrestees are charged with misdemeanour offences.
Twelve arrestees co-signed an announcement which contained the following: ”Autonomous efforts of organization and struggle are becoming intensified in sight of the new memorandum. As it was expected all these efforts are met with the usual repression of the goverment: a police state around Exarchia district while places of assembly were blocked, for example in Ghini recently, detentions, lock outs and general terror spread by the bosses. At the same time as the crisis goes on and memorandum policies are passed, the state reinforces the agencies of repression in order to safeguard its own stability and survival. Since it is thought that Syriza’s ”hope”* has destroyed all hope for a grassroots movement now they attempt to smash anyone who resists. As a militant part of society the 12 of us who were arrested on the 15th of July declare that we will continue to resist and struggle against everything that’s depriving us of our lives. No matter how many people they arrest and repress the third memorandum will not be enforced. We call on people to take to the streets on Wednesday the 22nd of July, the day when more measures against the public will be voted for in parliament”.
OmniaTV’s Giant, filmed the clashes with the police and got close to the injured protester when members of the riot squad were assaulting him relentlessly. After shouting at them to stop, he barely managed to escape his own arrest at the last moment.