Early this morning the Villa Amalias Squat in Athens was evicted by police. A centre for organising, socialising and social support has now been emptied – while eight of the people that maintained and ran the space for the public good have been arrested. Several others were also arrested at a solidarity demonstration. Villa Amelias has now put out a public call for solidarity. I’m republishing their statement – available in Greek – for the benefit of English speakers, together with a little bit of commentary in red which gives some of the background to the references that they make in the statement. Note that this relies heavily on Google Translate, which I have then cleaned up – apologies for any mistranslations which may have arisen.
Contrainfo is also carrying a further statement by Villa Amelias.
Today, 20th November 2012, the police raided the Villa Amalias squat.
The timing of this is notable. Villa Amalias is a well known squat across Athens which many travel to attend events and enjoys popular support. Today, the buses, trains and metros were all on strike – limiting the amount of solidarity that could be shown and isolating the squat.
The prosecuter investigated the squat on the pretext of “a complaint for drug trafficking”, but the findings were strange. But it is said that this investigation shows that Villa Amelias was a centre of lawlessness for 22 years and it is only through “courageous political will” that this raid was conducted.
The disinterest of the Greek Police in actually combatting drug dealing, rather than using it as a pretext for political repression is demonstrated by the ironic signs which anarchists have added to the pavement outside the Polytechnic in the radical area of Exachia. Drug users have been pushed there by the police, where open drug dealing and using in hard drugs including chrysal meth and heroin is rampant. These signs highlight the fact that the police deployed all around the drug users look on and do nothing as deals are done under their ever watchful eye.
By what strange logic can beer bottles be called “molotov materials”? This is a place that has a social cafe and yet they find it strange to have a large number of empty beer bottles What will say “flammable material”? Did they talk about the wet cleaning printing machine that works in the occupation?
Most beer in Greece comes in bottles, and these bottles are highly prized, as they can be recycled. Recycling facilities in Athens are few and far between. Many immigrants go round collecting beer bottles for resale to try to eek out enough to buy food for the day. For a squat, retaining the empty bottles of purchased beer can allow them to generate some income to support their work.
And they talk about gas masks, but each protester who respects his health must have one. To talk about the elementary means of protecting onesself in an area that has repeatedly suffered arsons stabbings and beatings when attacked by fascist paramilitary gangs […unsure of translation] is ridiculous.
Demonstrations in Greece are routinely teargassed. Huge quantities of teargas are released at peaceful demonstrators, several deaths have occurred after heavy teargassing, and scarfs, facemasks and gasmasks are essentials should you want to minimise the effect of the chemical weapons that those peacefully demonstrate in Athens suffer. In the meantime, fascist violence is relentless and continues without attempt by the state to end it.
This is an invasion into a space which for [the Greek State] is a physical symbol of all those standing hostile toward what it represents: sovereignty, enforcement, sterilization, indifference, surrender, submission. In this they are right. They are. We and thousands of protesters, activists, squatters, strikes, street fighters. We are homeless and homeless, the punks and thugs, vegetarians and the feminists, the sleepless nights and the workers, penitant and aggrieved, the victims of racism and avengers of injustice. The minister said that what united us was lawlessness ….
Greece has less and less social justice – it diminishes by the day. When the law says that you may not stay in your home, but must sleep on the streets, one becomes lawless; when the law says that you must only give blood to Greeks, one becomes lawless; when the law says that you must starve, you become lawless; when the law says that if someone threatens your life, you are liable because you did not have the right papers, you become lawless.
And now let’s talk seriously. Villa Amalia is a proposal for the organization[…unsure of translation]. The attack in the capital world of work requires the destruction of any structures. The devaluation of the labor unions, any structures of solidarity and defiance, the self-organized projects are all targeted.
As the crisis worsens there is has been a concerted attempt by the state to undermine any organisation which proposes alternatives to the medicine prescribed by the Troika and forcefully administered by the Greek Government.
The right-wing agenda that has prevailed since the beginning of the crisis, began with statements about health, the Loverdou bomb, against the hunger strikers of Hypatia. Continued targeting of immigrants (the concentration camps, the rounding up of the immigrants from central Athens), the castigation of HIV-positive addicts, assisted by the right-wing violence against immigrants, homosexuals, vendors. The torture of antifascist motorcyclists at police headquarters, the attacks on the occupations and the brutal repression of any labor or social demands, leave no doubt that the opponent has built up a solid block against which we must resist.
Fascism hasn’t arisen in a vacuum in Greece, there has been an ideological battle between the right and the left, between whether to blame the victims or the perpetrators. Those who want to impose a right wing agenda are systematically shutting down all opposition to those narratives. Places where people congregate are being attacked, with violence on the streets and in squares, union organised demonstrations broken up with chemical weapons, the squat evictions all are attempts to stop people joining together for a common cause.
We have spent 22 years in a building that had been abandoned for decades, a building that we preserved and give life. We are an occupation that always has its doors open to groups, individuals and projects that promote independent culture, human dignity, social, anti-fascist and class struggles. Villa Amelia gives is a serious struggle for the wishes, dreams and hopes for a freer life for all.
Villa Amalias has been a staple part of radical Athens for over two decades. We invite all those who find themselves part of its long occupation of the operation to give us this critical battle. They are trying to kill us, but that is like Don Quixote tilting at windmills for the ideas live on. These are the transgressions for them. Chasing chimeras will receive nightmares.
Greece is in crisis and that crisis is growing by the day. It is critical that the government do not violently repress those who continually and continuously point out that there are alternatives. The very existence of squats such as Villa Amalias is a physical space for people to congregate and share ideas for a better future, while maintaining the fabric of Athens as the government tears it apart.
Villa Amalias can be contacted at email@example.com, and they would be grateful for any statements of solidarity, either in a personal or official capacity, that might be offered.