Athens: 140 squatters detained over Villa Amalia, protesters occupy gov’t party offices

Posted by in Politics, Society

The day started with an operation of riot police detaining 101 anti-authoritarians who had re-occupied the building called “Villa Amalia” in downtown Athens. While the building was under police guarding,  occupiers were divided in two groups: one group distracted police’ attention, while the other broke the padlocks and entered the building.

Video: Villa Amalia this morning

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 The re-occupation on Wednesday morning ended when police fired tear gas. According to media reports, 101 people were detained and taken to Greek police headquarters.

 Video: Villa Amalia

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However out of solidarity with the detainees, protesters moved to “occupy” the headquarters of a political party and to protest outside the Finance Ministry.

Protesters outside DIMAR offices

 Soon, another group of occupiers moved to the headquarters of junior coalition government partner Democratic Left (DIMAR) and put a padlock at the entrance door out of solidarity with the detainees. Some protesters went to severla offices looking for a fax machine to send out a press release, so private MEGA TV. Riot police intervened and 40 people were detained.

DIMAR condemned the occupation but said it would not file a law suit against the occupiers.

Video: Police ends DIMAR occupation

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After the raid in DIMAr, another group of proetesters moved then outside the Finance Ministry, where Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was attending the presentation of development policy program for 2013. 

Video: poloice – protesters Ermou street

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Police was quick again to intervene, fired tear gas and chased the protesters down to Ermou street, the city’s main shopping street.

Initial reports that the son of a SYRIZA MP was among the Villa Amalia detainees were dismissed by his father Yiannis Voutsis but also by high ranking police officers. According to zougla.gr, the initial claim was told to reporters by a policeman.

After the police operations, Minister of Citizen Protection and Public Order Nikos Dendias told Greek media, “the democratic society will not allow the powers of illegality and chaos to hinder Greece’s road to recovery“. (!)

Villa Amalia” – a building formerly hosting an Athens high school located in Acharnon street- was occupied by anarchists in the 1990’s. The ownership of the building is disputed by Athens Municipality and the School Buildings Organization.

On December 20st 2012, police intervened and ended the occupation, arresting 8 people. According to reports, police had found in the occupied building some 1,500 empty bottles, gas masks, helmets, a canister with flammable substance and other material that raised suspicion, the occupiers were members of the groups that trigger riots during protests.

Raiding the squat in December triggered angry reactions by main opposition party, left-wing SYRIZA. On Wednesday, PASOK leader Venizelos attacked SYRIZA claiming that Greece’s main opposition party was behind all these movements.

 PS I thought it was tax evasion, corruption and bureaucracy threatening the country’s road to recovery, but whatever.. *sigh*

more pictures and videos here , here and here