Fri Feb 1, 2013 12:51AM
Thousands of workers have held anti-austerity protests in the Greek capital, Athens, in the aftermath of the arrest of 35 unionists by the police. The incident has worsened the economic crisis in the country.
This is the Athens Prosecutor's Office where 35 trade unionists were charged with intent to occupy a governmental office and cause physical damage, even though the presence of demanding workers inside a ministry has long been an acquired political aesthetic. Thousands of members of PAME, an affiliate trade union of the Greek Communist party, demand the release of their fellow workers after their unprecedented violent arrest. Civil servants, state hospital doctors, transport workers fill out the streets in Athens. These are the recently conscripted subway workers, they held a 9-day strike only to be ordered by the courts to get the trains back on track or be arrested, their t-shirts read 'conscripted worker', a military law reserved only for national emergencies, enforced by issuing requisition orders. The nature of Greek protests is changing against the increasing demonization of the labour struggle and the Greek Left by the government and the police who beats and arrests senior syndicators. Even though this strike is themed around the crumbling health sector and the uncontrollable 5 billion euro state debt to doctors and pharmacists, this and other recent mobilization have naturally evolved to encompass a wider reach-out call. Labor relations between unions and the government in Greece are entering a new phase of brutality after the latest arrest of 35 high-ranking unionists. The workers behind me are from the national railway, the banner reads Derail the Government, it is of course a call to further action, in upcoming weeks unions have announced repeated 48-hour strikes, until we see a response from the government who remains invisible, brutal against any organized action and reaction.