Today in the city of Athens, and all over Greece, one of the biggest popular mobilization since the fall of the dictatorship in 1974 took place. It was the first day of 48h general strike. Hundreds of thousands (500.000 was the trade unions estimation, police said 75.000) flooded the centre of Athens demonstrating against the new austerity plan imposed by the Greek government, IMF and EU. The crowd (not only workers and youth, but also middle class self-employed) expressed its determination to fight against 30.000 job cuts, sell-off of public services, heavy taxations, up to 40% salary decreases, unemployment boom, destruction of public health and education systems.
During the demo, demonstrators attacked riot police with thousands of stones and some petrol bombs. Although the vast majority of the demonstrators adopted non-violent tactics, those who attacked the police were not just black block, but also other people par example taxi drivers.
Today our society expressed its will to survive and get rid of Papandreou and the “Troika” (IMF, EU, European Central Bank) as well. Tunisians kicked off Ben Ali, Egyptians put Mubarak to custody, and Greeks will make the start in the old continent.
Tomorrow, the parliament will vote for the new austerity bill. For us, it will be the second date of general strike. We will meet at Syntagma square. The tide is turning!
Yannis Almpanis Athens, 19/10/11