December 8, 2008

Riots in Greece close major universities

Statement of the international department of KKE

As you probably already know riots have broken out in Athens and in several Greek cities. The unrest began on 7.12. in the centre of Athens soon after the killing by police forces of a young man in Exarchia district.

Riots then spread to Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, to the northern cities of Komotini and Ioannina, and to Crete.

Two police officers have been suspended, and an inquiry is under way. Interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said in a statement: "The government expresses its profound regret over this incident. "An inquiry on the circumstances of the death has already begun and, if the policemen are found to have been derelict in their duty, the punishment will be exemplary."

In Athens police fired tear gas at hundreds of stone-throwing youths, who went on a rampage as news of the shooting spread. After a lull of a couple of hours, rioting resumed shortly after midnight local time (2200 GMT), with some protesters marching through Athens city centre and others fighting police outside the National Technical University of Athens.

In Thessaloniki dozens of youths attacked a police precinct, while others blocked a road near the university campus. An Interior Ministry press officer told Reuters news agency that Mr Pavlopoulos had offered his resignation to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, but it had been rejected.The riots continued also on Sunday 7th December.

The Communist Party of Greece and the Communist Youth KNE are organizing on Monday 8th and on the following days protest rallies in all big cities of the country.

The 4 biggest Universities of the country are closed and more will follow on the next days. Under the popular protest the government was forced to close all the public schools for the 9th December.

KKE and KNE issued a statement [ see here] condemning the police attacks and the growing police violence against workers, immigrants and young people.

Mass mobilizations and protest demonstrations will follow since on 10.12.08 is planned the next big general strike against the “anti crises” measures by the government in favour of the big capital an on the expenses of the working people.

Info by the international section

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