February: When the days of winter seem endless

I haven’t written much about Greece recently, but its certainly not because there’s nothing happening here, simply that things happen far faster than I can write.  And not good things either.  Its difficult to convey exactly how bad things are here.  The austerity measures that have been imposed, are being imposed and will continue to be imposed with no end in sight are creating a dreadful situation.  There is a crisis in education and healthcare, fascism is rising unchecked and the whole country is rapidly becoming a police state.

This is a bit of an update of what has been happening in February.  There are positive things happening here too and these issues are not going unchallenged, but Greece is descending rapidly, and there seems no end in sight.  The people of Greece are resisting to the best of their abilities, but they face an increasingly hostile environment.  The Greek government has made it perfectly plain that it doesn’t give a shit what the people of their country think about them, but what they do care about is their international reputation.   The issues below are scantily reported in the mainstream Greek media which is heavily controlled by the government, in a land where children steal candles from churches to have light to read, and are reliant on their schools begging for food donations.

This is all happening in Europe; in part of the European Union, which was set up in the aftermath of the Second World War – after fascism and the holocaust, after storm troopers and Hitler Youth, after concentration camps and state torture.  

And its coming back.

The Golden Dawn are indoctrinating children

gdchildrenThis photograph is taken in the Golden Dawn headquarters in Artemida, which fascist are now running indoctrination classes for children  between 6-10 years old

Describing the lessons as a “National Awakening” history course, they are receiving historical propaganda from a  party whose leader admires Adolf Hitler , and denies that the holocaust ever happened.

Additionally they are being taught “Greek ideals” infused with teachings about Christianity and the Greek Orthodox Church

Ethics Greeks only to Serve in the Greek Army


The ruling New Democracy party has proposed legislation that only those who are “of the Greek race” to be defined by birth and blood relations may serve in the Greek army and police force, excluding those who become Greek through a process of naturalisation.

In the motion they explicitly state that they believe that the inclusion of naturalised Greeks could be a threat to national security and cite immigation as a jusification for the bill

Golden Dawn Cell in the Athens Municipal Police


It has now been revealed publicly what has long been suspected, that there is an openly fascist cell operating with in the Municipal police of Athens.  Called “Group K”, it includes up to 150 officers.

It has been implicated in the assault and intimidation of other police officers and it is also suggested that they are responsible for the murder of the Segalese immigrant, Cheikh Ndiaye

 Police torture activists

policetortureAt the start of the month, the Hellenic police released photoshopped pictures of activists, who they claimed  they had arrested in connection with a bank robbery.  When untampered images came out, they revealed the extent of the torture to which they had been subjected with bloodied faces, black eyes and broken bones.

More torture of young activists has also come to light in association with the protests against the mining company, Eldorado Gold, which the government has sold the mining right in a protected area for 10% of its worth.

Raids on Exachia


For the last week, the Greek police have been conducting daily raids on Exachia, the area of Athens most associated with radical activity and where immigrants have less fear of encountering fascist violence.

Setting up riot police blocks at the edges, the notorious Delta squads then move in on motorbikes, puffing their chest and with batons drawn they then round up people in the area, demanding papers, searching and carting them off for detention.

Kidnapping and forcible DNA sampling in Ierissos

womenhalkidikiIn the village of Ierissos, people are scared to walk the streets, as hooded police patrol in jeeps, rounding up people,detaining them randomly and forcing them to give DNA samples.

The picture shows women outside the police station, waiting news of their family members who they suspect have been abducted, but with no information given to the families or lawyers, a climate of fear prevailed in the village.

Blood and Medicine supply being cut off

doctorsThe Red Cross have now reduced the supply of blood to Greece, because the bills havent been paid.  The Golden Dawn however have set up “Greek only” blood donation centres, which they deliver to hospitals under armed police guard.

Hundreds of medicines are now in short supply as pharmaceutical companies are no longer supplying the country with vital medicines over unpaid bills, while the Golden Dawn intimidates doctors who seek to provide healthcare for those cannot afford it using donated medicines

Fascist massacre plot

gdgunsTwenty three people with links to the far right were found to have an arsenal of weapons, which had been used in bank raids, three of them had links with the police, including a serving police officer who provided the group with explosives and bullet proof jackets.

They were recorded speaking of future strike in Athens, with the police officer giving advice on directions to the target.

Mass Fascist Rallies

fascistsAt the beginning of the month, fascists rallied in Athens.  Tens of thousands of fascists, dressed in the Black uniforms emblazened with Chrysti Avgi gathered, chanting racist and nationalist slogans.

Carrying burning torches, they marched through the streets of Athens.  That they have the confidence to stage such a spectacle is deeply troubling.

If all this seems too outlandish to believe, I sympathise, but its horribly true.  The Golden Dawn has an undisputable base within the Athens and Hellenic police forces, not just at an ideological level, but also practically as the exposure of “Group K” reveals.  However it would seem likely that there are  “pro-” and “anti-” sections within it – as the attack by Group K on another serving officer, and the discovery and prosecution of far right elements with weapons suggests.  Education and healthcare are becoming the new front lines, as medical staff and educations try to stave off attempts by the far right to take over these functions.

Greece is deeply worrying.  There is no end in sight to the austerity and the additional taxes and salary cuts which are due to come in in a few months time will exacerbate the difficulties that ordinary people face.  The resistance which has been shown to the austerity measures is inspiring, but the increasingly brutal nature of the Greek State and the violence that it is willing to dispense to anyone who opposes their policies means that international support is urgently needed.

International pressure on the Greek government by political or popular means is critical in seeing an end to this regime which is rapidly headed down a very dark path.

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