Thursday, 30 December 2010

Bomb wrecks Athens court

A POWERFUL bomb detonated outside a court building near central Athens on Thursday morning, causing significant damage but no injuries, reports Angry News From Around the World.

The authorities found the device and cordoned off the area around the Athens administrative court after calls to the private television station Alter and the daily newspaper Eleftherotypia at about 7:40am warned that a bomb would go off there in 40 minutes.

“In both cases, the caller said the device had been strapped to a scooter outside the courthouse and gave the scooter’s registration number,” said an officer at the Athens police headquarters who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly.

“The explosion occurred two minutes after the deadline,” the officer said, adding that police bomb disposal experts had gathered the remnants of the device and the vehicle and were examining them.

A local resident told the private television station Skai that he had seen two men dressed in police uniforms pull up near the court building on a motorcycle about 6:30am.

The witness said he greeted the men, who told him they were abandoning the scooter because it had engine problems. According to the witness, the pair then got into a white van parked nearby and were driven away by a third person.

The explosion damaged the facade of the court building as well as several cars, and also blew out windows in nearby apartment buildings.

The caller who provided the warning in the Athens bombing was described as a man speaking clearly in Greek.

The blast occurred in a densely populated area in the city’s Ambelokipi district, shattering windows and nearby shop storefronts in a 200-meter (yard) radius, and seriously damaging at least 10 cars. It sent up a cloud of smoke that was visible across the city.

Police said the bomb was stored in a hard luggage case in the back of a motorcycle reported stolen in a nearby area of Athens several hours earlier.

An initial examination of the site, suggested that the explosive Anfo — a mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil used in construction but also in improvised explosive devices — was used, police investigators said. The material has been used in the past and seized in police raids in recent months on suspected militant safehouses.

Meanwhile, as Angry News also reports, shortly before the bombing in Athens, a smaller explosion occurred outside the Greek Embassy in Buenos Aires in the middle of the night.

“According to the initial findings of the Argentinean police, the blast was caused by a Molotov cocktail thrown by unidentified assailants,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement, referring to a crude incendiary weapon comprising a glass bottle filled with flammable liquid.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Free Binayak Sen!

OUTRAGE and anger have greeted the jailing of a well-known Indian civil rights campaigner for helping the Naxalite rebel cause.

Writer Arundhati Roy and American academic cum activist Noam Chomsky are among those who have voiced support for the growing campaign.

Dr Binayak Sen was convicted of sedition under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and faces life in jail on what many see as false trumped-up charges.

Sify News reports that activists and civil society leaders staged a protest march in Kolkata to condemn the judgement, and said their protests would continue till Binayak Sen was released.

It quotes renowned actress and filmmaker Aparna Sen as saying: "We protest this because we feel we have very few workers who serve the poor as tirelessly as Binayak Sen.

"We feel it is a travesty of our democracy that a fine worker like Sen is incarcerated while we know there are many people who are cheats and who have robbed the country of thousands and thousands rupees of money are walking free on the streets today."

Renowned activist Medha Patkar called the judgment a political statement, says Sify.

"We must really stand up and fight. We condemn something that is not legal or a judicial judgment. It is political statement, that clearly expresses the content of constitution, the fundamental rights and also the freedom of expression," Patkar is reported to have said.

Raipur Sessions Court had held Dr Sen and three other people guilty of treason and waging war against the state. He has also been found guilty of sedition. He now faces life imprisonment.

Dr Sen was arrested in Chhattisgarh in 2007 and was granted bail two years later. He was honoured with Jonathan Mann award in 2008, while he was still in prison.

The 58-year-old paediatrician and public health physician with a 25-year record of providing health care to the Adivasi people of Chhattisgarh.

A graduate of Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, Binayak Sen was one of the top students of his batch. He completed his post graduation in paediatrics in the early 1970s.

For most of the years since then, he has devoted his life to health care of the poor.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Italian students avoid police blockade

THOUSANDS of students in cities across Italy have protested against a law that would result in cuts to university budget expected to be approved by parliament this week, reports Aljazeera.

It says: "Police blocked off large parts of central Rome, the capital, to prevent a repeat of last week's violent clashes, but students managed to avoid the blockade.

"Instead the demonstrators occupied part of a highway running to the east of the city, but many students made it clear they intended the action to be a peaceful one.

"Some carried flags and banners emblazoned with non-violent slogans, and many had painted their hands white as a representation of their peaceful intent.

"However clashes broke out at a protest in the city of Palermo, and there were reports of incidents in Naples, Milan and Turin.

"The government says the new law, which could be voted on Wednesday or Thursday, will strengthen Italy's crumbling university system. But critics say will only cut funding without solving real problems.

"The battle over university reform has highlighted discontent over the future of Italy's youth, which has been fuelled by an official youth unemployment rate of around 25 per cent in the country and up to 35 per cent in the poorer south."

Reuters quotes one student as saying:"We will certainly continue mobilising. It's not only a mobilisation against university reforms but of a generation that is making itself heard again over the politics of the country, the issues we face and the precarious situation in which we live."

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Rising up against the rich

WILL 2011 be the year in which the people of Europe finally rise up against the rich parasites feeding on their lives?

The anger expressed at the rich and the royal family in the London student protests, the regular uprisings in the banlieues of France and the ongoing burning of expensive cars in Germany all point in that direction.

And in Greece, fears are being voiced that a massive class war is about to erupt.

Reports The Guardian: "An attack in broad daylight on Kostas Hadzidakis, a minister in the former conservative government, has highlighted fears that Greeks are at a tipping point.

"He was set upon as he walked through Athens during one of the capital's biggest ever anti-austerity demonstrations.

"Protesters were seen shouting 'thieves, thieves' and 'let the parliament burn' as they punched him in the face, threw stones at him and tried to attack him with sticks.

"Official unemployment reached a record high of 12.4% last week, further proof that seven months after its €110bn bailout by the EU and IMF the recession-hit country is nowhere near exiting its worst economic crisis since the second world war.

"'There's an invisible red line of what Greeks are prepared to tolerate in terms of sacrifices, and I think we are crossing it,' said Aliki Mouriki, a sociologist.

"'The assault on Hadzidakis by middle-aged men who didn't even bother to hide their faces reflects the desperation and anger of people who would normally never have done such a thing'."

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Mass anger on streets of Greece

ANGRY scenes erupted in Greece on Wednesday as opposition to neoliberal rule grows stronger across Europe.

Reports From the Greek Streets:"More than 100,000 people marched in central Athens today against the freshly-voted labour relations law and the austerity measures imposed by the government and the EU/IMF/ECB troika.

"One of the most mass demonstrations the city has seen in recent times was met by brute police violence; the police, nevertheless, proven unable to quell people’s anger.

"A former conservative minister, Kostis Hatzidakis, made the unfortunate decision to be present at Stadiou Street at the time of the demonstration and felt the anger of the demonstrators, quickly leaving the scene injured.

"Street-fighting erupted across the city, which saw chaotic scenes for hours.
"Barricades were erected across Patision Avenue, which leads to the Polytechnic School; waves of demonstrators arriving at Syntagma square, outside Parliament, fiercely fought with the police.

"An – eventually unsuccessful – attempt by demonstrators to occupy the building of GSEE (the country’s mainstream trade union) saw people fighting off the notorious Delta motorcycle police and two of their bikes were set ablaze.

"From reports coming in so far, 23 people were detained in Athens today and of those 10 are arrested and face charges. There will be an update on the arrested tomorrow.

"One of the most empowering elements of today’s demonstration was people’s sheer anger and their willingness to fight back at the police repression and to defend their right to be on the streets.

"New tactics, including the incredibly successful use of fire extinguishers in keeping police away from demonstrator blocks, is surely a legacy for the struggles to come."

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Romans riot against corrupt regime

ROME erupted into riots on Tuesday after the corrupt neoliberal regime of Silvio Berlusconi clung onto power in a controversial parlaimentary vote.

Violent clashes in the streets of the capital left 90 people injured and dozens more arrested.

Following hot on the heels of massive protests in France and Britain, this is yet another sign of growing public anger against the totally discredited global capitalist system.

Reports Aljazeera: "Angry protesters banged on the metal blinds of shuttered shops in the centre of Rome late on Tuesday as word spread that Berlusconi had won the vote.

"Some of the protesters then set cars alight and hurled cobblestones at police in chaotic scenes in some of Rome's most tourist-heavy streets.

"Riot police fired tear gas and could be seen striking some of the protesters with truncheons in running street fights. Several protesters were taken away, some with blood on their faces.

"Officials said at least 90 people were injured in the violence, including 50 security officers and 40 protesters, while forty-one people were detained on charges of violence, vandalism and use of illegal arms.

"The clashes came after a peaceful march by several thousand anti-Berlusconi protesters through the centre of Rome. There were also protests in some of Italy's biggest cities including Genoa, Milan, Naples and Turin."

Sunday, 12 December 2010

New protest against police brutality

ANGRY students have called for a protest against police brutality outside New Scotland Yard in central London on Tuesday December 14.

A posting on Indymedia from Friends of Alfie Meadows calls on supporters to "Kettle the Cops - protest against police violence" and to wear a hard hat.

It adds: "Alfie Meadows was brutally assaulted by police on the 9th. He suffered severe brain haemorrhaging and has undergone 3 hours of brain surgery.


"Due to luck his situation is now stable. This is a call for all to show your solidarity with him and the fight for our civil liberties, of which the right to education and the right to protest are both crucial parts.

"Bring hard hats, fancy hats and any other kind of hat you can. Lets get noticed.

"Please pass this on to all sympathizers and post up the flyer anywhere you can. We need 1000's on this demo-we will not tolerate extreme violence by these thugs.

"To the streets! Spread the word."

The protest on Tuesday 14th December is at 1pm at New Scotland Yard, 8-10 Broadway, London SW1H 0BG

There is a Facebook page for the protest.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Something powerful is in the air

EVERYTHING has changed on the streets of Britain over the last few weeks.

Partly it is just a matter of mood – an electrically charged atmosphere at the anti-cuts protests that presents the visceral possibility that anything at all could happen next.

But it is also possible to identify some specific factors that have dramatically and rapidly transformed the landscape of domestic protest.

The new generation of rebels have made remarkable progress in several areas:

Tactical. They are wised up to police methods, often successfully avoiding containment. They spotted that the ‘agreed route’ to Thursday’s march was nothing but a rolling kettle designed to end in a giant trap out of sight of Parliament on Victoria Embankment, under the guise of a rally addressed by various dull centre-leftists. As well as appreciating the need to keep mobile, they also mostly now know to mask up when appropriate.

Physical. They have the courage to take on and break through police lines and the speed and stamina to stage running demonstrations through the city streets, leaving the Plod to live up to their nickname.

Political. There is plenty of joined-up thinking in evidence. Protesters in Oxford Street quickly identified Boots, BHS, Dorothy Perkins, Vodafone etc and targeted them as corporate tax dodgers, making the vital link between spending cuts and capitalist corruption. The police have been fully exposed as a private army of capitalism and most of the mainstream media as nothing but propaganda conduits for the same system.

Class consciousness. Perhaps the most significant development of all, as veteran anarchist Ian Bone points out in his blog. The highly publicised attack on Charles and Camilla’s Rolls Royce was not out of place on a day when chants of “The rich, the rich, we’ve gotta get rid of the rich” filled the West End. Cameron was mocked for his Eton past. Posh cars and pedestrians were picked out for abuse, with one youngster shouting angrily at an arrogant driver who tried to run him over: “Why do you need a fucking Range Rover anyway?” These protesters understand the Tory vision of Britain and their own proposed place in it – as an underclass of serfs serving the smug public school Ubermensch. And they are simply not going to accept that version of the future. They have little prospect of higher education, of a worthwhile job, of a home of their own… They have nothing to lose and everything to fight for.

Commentators have made the connection between these protests and the anti-capitalist demonstrations of 1999-2003. Parallels have also, of course, been made with the Poll Tax riots of 1990. Others have mentioned 1968 and Ian Bone invokes the London Mob and the Gordon Riots.

But one link that hasn’t been widely made is with the inner city riots that swept the UK in 1981.

This cold winter of discontent is by no means over yet, but already rebel hearts are being warmed by the prospect of a heated Spring and Summer of 2011.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

This is only the beginning...

CONGRATULATIONS to all those who took part in the inspiring resistance in London on Thursday December 9.

Congratulations too to all those participating online in the attacks on PayPal and other agents of global oppression.

Keep up the effort - and remember, this is only the beginning.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

No more illusions

FAILING the timely intervention of a 9/12 terror attack in London, two news stories are likely to dominate the UK media on Thursday.

One is the continuing leaking of US embassy cables by Wikileaks, together with the US-led persecution of both website and founder, and the other is the students’ March on Parliament as the tuition fees vote takes place.

Except, of course, they are not really two separate stories at all, but merely two facets of one narrative.

In both instances, the mask of ‘democracy and freedom’ - behind which our rulers have so long been hiding – has not much slipped as fallen to the hard winter ground and shattered into a thousand splinters.

The original spark for confrontation in both disputes was an outrageous deception.

In the case of the USA’s foreign policy, this has been perpetrated for decades and visible to many global observers for much of the time.

But now there is no more benefit of doubt to be enjoyed – we all know for sure that they are just as hypocritical and manipulative as we had ever imagined.

In the tuition fees debacle, young people have been shocked to discover that a ‘pledge’ from a politician is an empty gimmick. Like the US government, Clegg has always been prepared to lie through his teeth in the pursuit of power.

The students and school kids who have been taking to the streets for the last month have demonstrated, and discovered, the all-too-narrow limits of dissent permitted by the British state.

And Julian Assange of Wikileaks has exposed the truth behind the neoliberal attachment to free speech and a pluralistic internet.

Step over a certain line and the illusion of cosy liberalism is abandoned, as powerful players are forced to step forward to defend the status quo.

The student rebels have found that the state will send its hired thugs out on to the streets to crush the slightest sign of empowered opposition.

Wikileaks have found themselves confronted with the full spectrum of commercial persecution available to the US regime.

All of this raises these originally specific conflicts up to a whole new level of contestation.

Young kids now realise that the police and the media are every bit as much their sworn enemy as Cameron, Clegg and the other Tory cunts.

Wikileaks has forced the likes of Amazon, PayPal, Visa and Mastercard to reveal themselves as the partisans of the global capitalist dictatorship that some of us have always known they were.

Other issues, in the months to come, will follow the same pattern and emerge likewise as aspects of the same worldwide scenario.

And once you have seen through the illusions of neoliberal ‘democracy’, there is no going back.

The battle lines are clearer now, to far more people, than they ever have been before.

Our war for liberation has begun.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Riot police storm Athens metro

RIOT police stormed Syntagma metro station in Athens as they viciously clamped down on protests marking the state killing of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos.

This video, plus other shsowing the spirited scale of Greek resistance against neoliberal tyranny, can be seen at the excellent From the Greek Streets blog.

In a preliminary report, it says 96 people were detained in Athens on the commemoration of his assassination, 42 of whom have been arrested.

Here is the timeline from its December 6 updates:

22:30 (GMT+2) Tension around Polytechnic school and Exarcheia square remains. A large group of people is gathering outside the Athens Police Headquarters where today’s detainees are being held.

22:00 (GMT+2) Clashes still taking place in Exarcheia. Corporate media report that more than 90 people have been detained in Athens today.

21:30 (GMT+2) Police brutally attack the commemorative gathering on the spot where Alexis was assassinated. The police forced the gathered people away from the shrine. One person has fainted. The gathered people are now marching towards the Polytechnic School. Tear gas and stun grenade bombs thrown by police

21:03 (GMT+2) The memory gathering in Messologiou Street in Athens has just started. Hundreds are already there while more are on their way.

20:05 (GMT +2) People have been concentrating all evening at the spot where Alexis Grigoropoulos was shot in 2008 in the Exarcheia district. At the moment barricades and clashes with riot police in various streets of Exarcheia, but as it seems in other parts of Athens’ centre are taking place. According to reports on Athens IMC, a few minutes ago the police threw tear gas and stun grenades to people concentrated in Messologiou st. exactly where Alexis was shot two years ago. At 21:00 a commemoration gathering will take place there.

Police have attacked demonstrations in other cities such as Giannena, Agrinio and Volos, but demonstrators defended the protests, yet several people (many high school students as it seems) have been detained or arrested.

19:40 (GMT+2) There is tension in the centre of Athens, where police attacks to protesters who remain in the streets while they are pushing groups of protesters towards various directions. The police attacked demonstrators in Syntagma Sq. while at the moment clashes take place in front of the Polytechnic School.

18:00 (GMT+2) According to posts on Athens Indymedia there are several thousands of people in the streets of Athens at the moment. Police surrounded several demonstrator blocks and attacked to the demonstration a number of times, notably a harsh attack against the block of the Athens Law School students’ took place, now several demonstrators are in the building of the Law School. There were some clashes in front of the parliament and it seems that molotov cocktails were thrown to the police lines in front of there.

16:20 (GMT+2) The demonstration in Athens have been effectively banned. charging at the first people who gathered at the University’s Propylaia police have now pushed a large demo block. Hundreds of people keep gathering, effectively behind the police lines.

15:55 (GMT+2) Main demo has not even started, but clashes with the police have. Riot police have surrounded the university of Athens where the pre-demo gathering was taking place.

13:45 (GMT+2) The joint student/teacher demonstration in Athens just ended. In the spirit of December, students pelted the police with oranges. We are waiting for the main evening demonstration to start.

Earlier high school students’ demonstrations took place in various parts of Athens and outside the capital, in the Athens’ suburb of Aigaleo it was reported that a few hundred students marched to the local police department where were they clashed with police.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Greeks mark police killing of 15 year old

MASSIVE protests are to be held all across Greece on Monday to mark the second anniversary of the assassination of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos by special police forces in the Exarcheia district of Athens.

The From the Greek Streets blog will be carrying continuous updates from demonstrations and actions organised in Athens and Thessaloniki and a summary of the events nationwide. There are demonstrations called in at least 17 Greek cities.

Says the blog: "On Sunday night, police presence in Exarcheia was very high (even higher than usual) and at least four people were reported to have been detained by police."

Among the protests called are:

- Athens: student demonstration at 11am, main demonstration at 4pm, gathering at the point of Alexis’ assassination at 9pm.

- Thessaloniki: student demo at noon, main demo at 3pm.

On the eve of December 6th, the police announced an unprecedented 21-hour traffic ban in central Athens: no vehicles whatsoever are permitted to park or drive through pretty much the entire city centre.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Greek solidarity with UK students

TWO thousand students marched in Athens against education reform and in solidarity with the British students.

There were clashes with police and five students arrested.

From The Greek Streets reports: "The demonstrators tried to approach the British Embassy in solidarity with the struggle of the students in the UK.

"In response to the arrests, the entire demonstration headed to the police headquarters (GADA) demanding their immediate release."

The blog includes a short video and will be updated with more information.

The action, together with the Italian student protests this week, reinforces the fact that education 'reforms' and cuts are not isolated national issues with specific local causes, as the corporate media claims.

The whole of European society is coming under unprecedented attack from neoliberal forces and students everywhere are finding themselves on the front line.