WE DEMAND THAT ALL ARRESTED UNION ACTIVISTS AND YOUTH ARE SET FREE AND THAT THEIR UNACCEPTABLE PROSECUTION CEASES

On November 16, 2012, the Greek police arrested three unionists, accusing them of participating in the protests against the German deputy labor minister, Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, in Thessaloniki the day before. Two of the accused are municipal workers, and the third is a primary school teacher – a well known figure of the Left as well as an elected member of the Teachers' Union Board. The teacher was arrested at his school, in front of his pupils. All three were sent to court the day after under a process closed to the public. Nevertheless, extensive solidarity mobilization for the three arrestees resulted in the postponement of trial until December 19th. The following day, during demonstrations commemorating of people’s revolt against the dictatorship in 1973, sixteen young people were arrested when the police invaded their university in a brutal manner.

This is a petition in support of the three unionists and the sixteen youth, who are being prosecuted for their participation in the mobilizations in Thessaloniki against the visiting German deputy labor minister, Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, and the demonstration commemorating the people’s revolt against the dictatorship in 1973. The following statement was delivered during the three unionists’ trial on Monday, November 19.

 

PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO FIGHT

On November 17, 2012, thirty-nine years after the Greek people revolted against the military junta, demanding bread, education, and freedom, the arrest and forced trial of three union activists in Thessaloniki, with the hypocritical and unsubstantiated criminal charges of “illegal violence,” as well as the similar treatment of sixteen youth arrested on university grounds after the demonstrations commemorating the events of the Polytechnic School in Athens, constitute an insult to our historical memory.

We want to stress the grave responsibility of the Greek government, which, in an attempt to implement at all costs its unpopular policies, assumes the responsibility of an openly anti-democratic political assault, targeting political liberties achieved through struggle and bloodshed. The constant heightening of state repression, police abuse, torture of protesters at the Central Police Headquarters in Athens, employee intimidation in workplaces, racist pogroms, and state support of Nazi and fascist gangs make up the “arsenal” they use against the popular workers' movement in an attempt to subjugate them.

The people’s right to fight remains nonnegotiable, particularly at a time when civil rights, democracy and people’s rule are held at gunpoint. The fact that the arrests followed almost immediately German Chancellor Merkel’s statements about “violence in Greece” is revealing. Was this eagerness and subservience to please our partners-lenders-prosecutors?

We invite all political forces, unions, organizations and other stakeholders to mobilize immediately toward a common, coordinated struggle to subvert the terrorization of workers’ struggles that is reminiscent of the darkest times of this country’s history.

WE DEMAND THAT ALL ARRESTED UNION ACTIVISTS AND YOUTH ARE SET FREE AND THAT THEIR UNACCEPTABLE PROSECUTION CEASES


 

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