By now, it almost feels like a ritual: a strike and large demonstration disrupted by skirmishes and tear gas ahead of a parliamentary vote on new austerity measures that Greece needs to take to qualify for the next installment of aid the country needs to fend off default. [… »
Protesting students clash with riot police in central Athens, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011, during a demonstration against new legislation on reforming university education. Some 1,000 students took part in the protest. No arrests or injuries were reported. The new law, which was approved by the Greek parliament Wednesday, will reduce the power of student political unions in universities and make it easier for police to enter university grounds until now protected by strict asylum laws. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
The scope of her ambition echoes that found in Syntagma Square, where opposition to an EU/IMF bailout and its accompanying austerity measures has morphed into a broader critique of social injustice. “We are ordinary people, we are like you,” reads the mission statement of theReal Democracy website – the online hub of the Syntagma protests – before going on to explore the alienation many Greeks feel from the organs of the state. “Without us none of this would exist, because we move the world … I am outraged. I think I can change it.”
Agglos Kloukas, 27, explains their philosophy. “We try to sing about the way we live in Greece today – about racism and everyday life. About the social issues people are facing,” he says.
“The crisis has helped protest music and more political lyrics come more into the main stream,” adds Manos Zahariadis, 26.
It is a change, they believe, in a culture where for too long people have been content to ignore those describing Greece’s mounting problems.
“People have stopped just staying in and watching television and have gone out on the streets. They are talking about different things,” says Achileas Tosikean. “We’ve all been going to the demonstrations.”
A lone French yacht carrying activists hoping to run the Israeli blockade on Gaza was on Thursday blocked in Crete by the Greek coast guard when it stopped to refuel, an organizer said.
“The Dignite/Al Karama was taken to Sitia in Crete by the Greek coast guard after being stopped in a nearby port while it was refueling,” Claude Leostic told AFP by telephone from Paris.
“The authorities are stopping the boat from setting sail for various administrative reasons,” Leostic said.
The boat, which is carrying 12 pro-Palestinian activists, had sneaked out of a Greek port early on Tuesday in defiance of a ban on any ships setting sail from Greece in an attempt to run the Israeli blockade on Gaza.
All the other boats which had been expected to participate in a 10-vessel international aid flotilla to Gaza are currently being blocked from leaving ports in Greece, while an Irish boat, which organizers say was sabotaged, is undergoing repairs in Turkey.
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Report: Police purchase 900,000 euros worth of chemicals..
Greek Police, or ELAS, purchased more than 900 thousand euros worth of tear gas canisters and chemical grenades last Thursday, one day after violent rioting in the center of Athens, it was reported on Monday.
The chemicals, some 10,000 items according to a report posted on the tvxs website, were bought from Israel, France and the United States.
Athens first instance prosecutor Eleni Raikou has launched a probe following complaints by the head of the pharmacies’ union regarding the extensive use of tear gas in last week’s anti-austerity rally.
The president of the Association of Pharmacies of Attica, Konstantinos Lourantos, has described the police’s behavior as “criminal.”
Members of Greece’s anti-riot squad allegedly used more than 2,200 tear gas canisters and stun grenades during the demonstration.