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Issue #1580      February 6, 2013

Assault against PAME workers

Statement, Communist Party of Greece

On January 30 there was a savage assault by the riot police against trade-unionists at the Ministry of Labour, where they went to protest against the unacceptable statements of the Minister of Labour G Vroutsis. The Minister claimed that the social security system “was built on the basis of client relationships”, related to the decision taken by the government to escalate the authoritarianism and repression against the working class people’s struggles in order to implement the harsh austerity measures.

The naked violence and savagery of the government which sent in the riot police and arrested 35 PAME trade unionists, injured nine workers is the next link in the chain of the “law and order” operation being rabidly implemented in the recent period by the government.

Mobilisation of workers

They gathered outside the Ministry of Labour. However, the riot police were able to drag the 35 trade-unionists, who they had arrested, to the police vans using batons and tear gas, pushing back the demonstrators who had gathered together in a mass solidarity demonstration.

The very right of the people to strike, to demonstrate in an organised way and to fight against the anti-worker offensive is being targeted by the government and the bourgeois class which it serves.

In order to pass the tests of the “investors”, i.e. the domestic and foreign monopolies, the government, hand in hand with the judiciary which has a clear class character, is attempting to impose a deathly silence all over the country, offering guarantees of security for capital against the labour and people’s movement.

The provocation of the government has failed

The government , some hours afterwards, disseminated tampered photographs to the bourgeois media allegedly from the office of the Minister of Labour with folders and furniture scattered all over the place, in order to convince people that the delegation of PAME and the trade unions invaded the Ministry in order to cause damage and to vandalise. The PAME trade unionists exposed the provocation, stating categorically that our class-oriented labour movement does not have such practices and that they are trying to set up a provocation against the working class struggle.

The statement from the government’s spokesperson was provocative and slanderous, who not at all by chance called the protest a “form of violence” and “extremism”.

Their intimidation will not succeed. The demonstrators, with a very large rally, staunch and organised, who had gathered outside the Ministry of Labour marched to the General Police Directorate of Athens, where the trade-unionists had been detained, shouting slogans, such as “Release the workers from the police station, they are not terrorists, they want jobs” and “the law and order of the bosses will be smashed by the just cause of the workers”, As the time passed, the solidarity was reinforced and the number of people outside the police station increased.

Anger and solidarity overflowing

Dozens of statements by trade unions, labour centres, federations and organisations concerning the provocative repressive assault by the government are being issued continuously in the aftermath of the events.

Late in the afternoon it was announced that the detentions were transformed into arrests and that the Attorney charged the 35 trade-unionists with disturbance of the peace and aggravated damage. The rally outside the Athens’ Police Directorate continued until late at night and a new demonstration was arranged for the next day so that all the charges against the arrested militants of the class-oriented movement are dropped and that they be released.

The trial of the trade-unionists

In the end, the 35 trade-unionists were set free. Previously, they had been arraigned instantaneously to be tried, with the charge of “illegal loitering in a public place”, but the trial was postponed to the February 12 as the Ministry’s witnesses did not appear.

It is indicative that the trade-unionists were not arraigned on the charge of “aggravated damage”, something the Minister had claimed in a provocative way, accusing the trade-unionists of PAME of “damaging the offices”. Every hour that passes exposes the fact that this accusation could not be substantiated.

In these conditions the strengthening of international class solidarity with the struggles in Greece and with PAME is crucial.  

Next article – Israel boycotts UN forum

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