Voices from Russia

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Anti-Fascist Solidarity Rally Held in Athens

00 greek anti-fascists. 11.09.14

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On Wednesday evening, there was a rally of solidarity with anti-fascists in Novorossiya in Athens. Several hundred Greeks, mostly leftists, marched for more than three kilometres along the avenue from Kifissias Panormo to the Ukrainian Embassy. About three hours before the meeting at the embassy, riot police blocked the approach to the embassy with buses. Police escorted the protesters during the march, blocking part of the road to vehicular traffic. According to organisers and journalists, about 700 to 1,000 took part in the rally. Throughout the march people chanted, “Strangle fascism, free the Ukraine”, “Freedom for the people from Nazis”, “Nazis, get out”, “Down with imperialism”, and “Support the Donetsk People’s Republic”. Near the Embassy, some of the demonstrators distributed hundreds of leaflets calling for solidarity in the fight “against the fascist junta of Kiev”. Participants of the meeting stated that the current Ukrainian government came to power in a coup, and is kept in power thanks to “Nazi Storm Troopers”.

Participants recalled the murder a year ago of an anti-fascist musician in Piraeus committed by local storm troopers. That assassination resulted in a trial against the far-right party, which the Ministry of Justice recognised as a criminal group. Panagiotis Lafazanis, SYRIZA Coalition of the Radical Left MP, said, “We oppose the régime in Kiev, which supports neo-Nazis and neo-fascists. Neo-Nazism and neo-fascism have no place in Europe. Today’s big march is a message from the Greek people against fascism; it expresses our solidarity with the antifascists of the southeastern Ukraine (sic), with democratic forces all over the Ukraine. The Greek government should abandon the dangerous path of sanctions against Russia. EU sanctions and NATO military actions against Russia can only lead to increased tensions, to a Cold War; they push Europe into the abyss. Greece needs more than ever to have friendly relations, coöperation, and economic support from Russia”.

Some people from the LNR were at the rally, and they brought the LNR flag. A female journalist said, “I saw that the Ukraine could be a prosperous and democratic country. Whether it’d be in the EU or the Customs Union…. it had the potential to be an independent and rich state. However, they’ve looted it so much that they’ve stolen the country blind. This knackered the Ukraine. I think that it can’t be the same as it was before. The Ukraine has fallen apart. I think it’s necessary for all of us to recognise this… in Kiev, in the Donbass, in Europe, and to accept what’s happened there as fact”. A Greek professor told reporters that a broad autonomy within the Ukraine was only one of the requirements of people from the eastern Ukraine (sic). He said that the Ukraine is now the centre of a Cold War, it’s under tremendous pressure from Western countries as it has great geopolitical importance. Speaking of the Minsk Agreement, the source said that whilst the VSN respects the ceasefire and supports peace initiatives, the junta tries to build up forces in Mariupol, and fires off constant bombardments. Behind a cordon of police, about 30 Galicians held a counterdemonstration, singing violent anti-Russian songs (They’re Not Dancing… Those Moskals (Кто не скаче… тот москаль)). In the end, the rally went off without any incidents.

11 September 2014

Gennady Melnik

Rossiya Segodnya

http://ria.ru/world/20140911/1023592715.html

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Greece’s 500

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Euroised Greece. 2012

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On 10 June, a reshuffled cabinet took office in Athens, after the ruling New Democracy/PASOK coalition lost the 25 May European elections, with SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) beating them by a 4 percent margin. Prime Minster Antonis Samaras’ revamped coalition solemnly took the oath of office for the second time, the new ministers and secretaries visited the presidential mansion to receive the blessing of the Greek Orthodox archbishop. Samaras walked out of the ceremony in a rush to call the first cabinet meeting of his newly polished government and journalists interpreted his fast pace as a signal to ministers to get on the job quickly and be productive.

One of them, the newly appointed Minister of Public Order, Vassilis Kikilias, didn’t lose time. Less than an hour after he took office, riot police cracked down on a protest of the Ministry of Finance cleaning staff. The protesters were more than 500 women of all ages and national backgrounds, who clean tax offices, the Ministry of Finance, and Customs Services until a ministerial decree fired them all indiscriminately and permanently. The austerity rationale behind the decision was spurious because these women weren’t a fiscal burden… quite the contrary. Privatising cleaning services increased the amount spent to keep public working spaces decently clean. The fate of these 500 women is nothing new in Greece; for years now, and especially since the financial crisis, workers had to take to the streets to reclaim their rights.

Surviving an Acid Attack

Overall, privatising services and reverting to temporary contracts for workers leads to slavery-like conditions of labour exploitation. In Greece, a typical case is the story of the newly elected SYRIZA member of the European Parliament, Konstantina Kouneva. Kouneva, a trained historian, emigrated from Bulgaria to Greece in 2001 because of the financial troubles in Eastern Europe at the time. In 2003, the private company OIKOMET, which had a contract with the Athenian railway service, hired her as a janitor. Seeing the conditions under which her colleagues worked (low and infrequent pay, lack of insurance, mistreatment), Kouneva entered the Athens Janitors Union and soon became one of its leading figures.

From that moment on, she didn’t stop protesting working conditions, struggling for the rights of cleaning staff, often ignored by the main trade unions. She ignored threats against her life and never regretted her decision to continue the fight for labour rights. One night in December 2008, two men attacked Kouneva as she was walking back home in downtown Athens. They threw sulphuric acid in her face and forced her to drink the rest in what could’ve been a fatal attack. The Greek police failed to track down the assailants and bring them to justice; they remain unknown and unpunished to this day. After human rights groups like Amnesty International complained, a court fined the company Kouneva used to work for, concluding that OIKOMET was accountable for failing to protect her after she received death threats. Kouneva survived thanks to the medical care she received, but she’s still undergoing surgery. In July, she’ll be joining the European Parliament and she’ll take the struggle of Greek workers to the heart of the EU.

A Continuing Fight

Meanwhile, in Athens, the Finance Ministry cleaning staff will continue their fight. Recently, a court issued an order to cancel the ministerial decree and rehire these women to their posts, but on 12 June, the government took the decision to the high court, which ruled the order unenforceable until its final judgment in a few months. This doesn’t change the cleaners’ story significance… fired from governmental institutions, some of these women get jobs at half of their original salaries, no insurance in some cases, and unable to fight employer blackmail as employees. This is what the austerity programme is all about.

There is much writing on the high unemployment figures in Greece due to the crisis, but there’s another aspect that affects the working population. Salaries drop, conditions worsen, and the negotiating power of workers disappears. 500 women are continuing the struggle Kouneva paid for with her health, fighting hard to keep the gates that lead to the precarious underclass closed. Despite the fact that they have already won their litigation against the Greek state, conservative politicians, the mainstream media, and riot police constantly attack them. Just recently, they were brutally beaten again while trying to reach the Finance Ministry and demonstrate. On the other hand, other workers’ groups and the Left are standing by them. The same day of the violence, a large demo against the #WorldCup2014 headed to the Brazilian embassy decided to change course and join the cleaners’ protest instead. The cleaners are the conscience of the working class of our times. Standing on the verge of poverty and exclusion, they fight for all of us.

Editor:

This isn’t only happening in Greece… it happens throughout the American South, for instance. I seem to notice that the Republicans who make a loud “Pro-Life” noise also allow corrupt businessmen to brutalise union organisers. Fancy that… low wages and no benes aren’t Pro-Life in the least. The Rick Perrys of this world are noisome hypocrites… they bring the name of “Christian” into disrepute. I’d say that there’s much more to Christianity than mere opposition to abortion and homosexuality, and I’m not alone in thinking that way.

BMD

13 June 2014

Matthaios Tsimitakis

al-Jazeera

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/greeces-500-110953269.html#zeZ4RrU

Monday, 9 December 2013

Hundreds Mark Anniversary of Fatal Police Shooting in Athens

00 Greek protestors. Athens. 09.12.13

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Editor’s Note:

All the usual suspects in the Western media “blame Greece” for its present predicament. No one mentions the crook politicians from ND and PASOK who’re getting off scot free. No one mentions the Greek oligarchs with billions in offshore accounts. The amount of theft by politicians and tax evasion by the Affluent Effluent was overwhelming, even by the lofty standards set by the US Congress (the world champs of corruption, bar none, for decades, with no challenger yet in sight). Of course, the rich partied… the ordinary folk foot the bill… that’s the way of it in crapitalism. It’s soulless and corrosive godless greed of the worst possible sort… often, winked at by clergy, sadly enough. The support of “Free Enterprise” by the Lukianovtsy and the Potapov circle isn’t godpleasing… God DOES see and He DOES judge. The mill of Divine Justice grinds slowly, but it grinds exceedingly fine, indeed.

“They killed little Sara. This is what the Troika means”. If you support Austerity for the Little Folks, the Tea Party, or Free Market Crapitalism, you spit on the Lord Christ… no two ways about it. “They all had faces… they all had names. No one is forgotten… nothing is forgotten”… remember Sara every time you hear a rightie gasbag bloviate… close your heart to pity, close your ears, and oppose them with all your might. Such slimers don’t deserve the time of day…

BMD

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On Friday, police clashed with demonstrators in central Athens as thousands attended rallies to mark the fifth anniversary of a fatal police shooting of a teenager… a killing that triggered major riots in Greek cities for three weeks. Police sources said that the clashes on Friday injured four cops; they arrested 17 people for causing public disturbances, and detained a further 184 people for questioning. Several hundred youths hurled rocks and petrol bombs at police, burned two cars, and set fire to piles of garbage, after about 5,000 protesters held two separate marches. Police used tear gas, pepper spray, and stun grenades against the rioters. Alexis Grigoropoulos, 15, died on the night of 6 December 2008, when a policeman fired his gun following an argument in the centre of the capital. Within hours of the boy’s death, thousands of youths took to the streets across the country. The riots that ensued were Greece’s worst in decades, seeing buildings and shops on major streets burned and looted in the capital. The riots occurred a year before Greece plunged into financial crisis, and protesters at anniversary events opposed the government and the “troika” of bailout inspectors from the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF. Police remained on alert in several cities across Greece, including Athens, where they expect more protests Friday night.

In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, demonstrations coincided with the funeral service for a 13-year-old Serbian girl… known only by her first name, Sara… found dead over the weekend. That happened after her unemployed mother tried to use a barbecue grill to heat their home, after they had their electric service disconnected. A medical examiner said that the girl died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protesters gathered outside the church where the service was held, and chanted, “They killed little Sara. This is what the Troika means”.

6 December 2013

Elena Becatoros

Florent Bajrami

Associated Press

http://news.yahoo.com/hundreds-mark-anniversary-fatal-police-shooting-203119831.html

 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Metropolitan Seraphim Mentzenopoulos of Piraeus Threatens Lawmakers Over Gay Bill

00 Metropolitan Seraphim of Athens. 30.11.13

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On Thursday, Metropolitan Seraphim Mentzenopoulos of Piraeus, the port city next to Athens, threatened to excommunicate lawmakers in his diocese who support efforts to legalise civil partnerships for same-sex couples. He described homosexuality as a “terrible sin” and said that it was his duty to expel lawmakers if they support the proposed changes. He called on the church’s governing Holy Synod to hold an emergency meeting on the issue. Earlier this month, the Council of Europe‘s European Court of Human Rights condemned Greece for failing to include same-sex couples in a 2008 civil partnership law. On Thursday, a senior Greek Ministry of the Interior official said that changes to the law to conform to the court decision were “imperative”, but didn’t say when the Hellenic Parliament would consider the legislation.

29 November 2013

Associated Press

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11164503&ref=rss

 

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