Ιn Thursday 12 November, day of national general strike, police officers with a prosecutor invaded into the homes of five students in Agia Paraskevi borough and arrested them, after the demand of the italian state which has issued a european arrest warrant against them. The same day, in Milan, the italian police arrested five Italians who are accussed for the same case. With their participation in the No Expo demo in 1 May 2015 in Milan being the only clear charge against them, the greek judicial authorities, and implicity the greek government, are requested to extradite the five youths to Italy without, at least for now, any existing complete case file being handed to the Athens Court of Appeal, which will resolve the issue of their extradition. The only data that has been “granted” to the greek judicial authorities is the vague charge that they were sighted commiting acts of rioting, without any further clarification neither by whom they were sighted nor any details of what they were sighted doing. It is left to the descretion and political will of the Athens Court of Appeal to judge if the data is enough for someone to be charged or not.
No Expo – another way to say “That’s enough!”
What was the demo, in which the five students participated, about?
In 2015, the Universal Exhibition Expo took place in Milan. The Expo are worldwide exhibitions which are organised periodically, each time in different cities throughout the world, to exalt and advertise industrial and capitalist products, and arrange all sorts of trade agreements. In other words, it’s one of the many well-known capitalist feasts (like Olympics, World Cup, Biennale etc), during which champagne -served by servile and unpaid volunteers- is glugged among fur coats and jewellery, and the new exploitative conditions of the underclass are signed with the golden pens of the international capitalist elite. Obviously, for this feast to take place, there was no lack of dirty money to mafiosi and contractors, financial scandals and black holes in the budget, alongside the appalling working -oftenly unpaid- conditions before and during Expo, population displacements from their slums, emergency security measures etc. “We have to welcome so many people!” thinked the state, “We cannot let the misery and exploitation of every day life to ruin our feast”.
We shouldn’t forget that this costly feast, during which several millions of euros were spent, took place in the nearby Italy, at the same time when the government was voting austerity measures and asking the poor to further tighten their belts! And it’s no coincidence that all these remind us a little bit of Greece (Olympics, crisis, Memoranda). It is called global capitalism…
Against this feast of devaluation of our lives, some thousands of people from around Italy, and other countries as well, decided responding to the pan-european call of Milanese activists, uniting their voices to a collective “that’s enough!” cry, no more exploitation! Thus, a protest called No Expo was organised at the opening day of Expo, and it was supported by all political movements and trade unions in the context of the march of May Day strike. As always in such cases, different logics and actions coexisted and shaped a multiform movement of social resistance.
Why 5 residents of Agia Paraskevi, Athens where there?
The 5 accused students participate in the greek students movement, their neighbourhoods’ public assemblies and in some of the many working class struggles which bursted in the recent years. In other words, they are some of the many of thousands people who got out in the streets to fight for dignity and social solidarity. They are a drop in the ocean of millions of people who resist, either organised or spasmodically, to the exploitation and devaluation of their lives and the everyday violence of those in power, who even get to the point of commiting brutal murders (either work accidents or cold-blooded executions by the cops), in Greece, Argentina, Tunisia, Egypt, Bosnia, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil and elsewhere.
Being in Italy, it was only natural that the 5 politically active students would participate in the protest which opposed the plans of those in power. The day after the demo, in the context of a generalised massive adductions by the police, they were adducted while being in a café, on the sole criterion of their departure from an occupied social center earlier. Subsequently, they were violently forced in fingerprinting and taking of genetic material (DNA), without the presence of an interpreter. After a detention of several hours, and without further explanations, they were released.
As the underclasses awaken, the upperclasses shiver
The state apparatus doesn’t, obviously, remain apathetic against the generalised resistance of the underclasses. It gets shielded on all levels. On the one hand, it attacks even more the labour rights and anything that can ensure a decent life, in order to intensify the exploitation and fear, and therefore to limit the scope of reaction we have. In other words, they compel us to live our lives with bowed heads, begging for crumbs from their tables and thanking them, in order not to have any time, power and energy to organise our resistance.
On the other hand, they also organise on the level of police violence and repression, with the national police forces becoming increasingly like the military, both in their tactics and their weaponry. It’s the same thread that connects the murder of Grigoropoulos and the atrocities of riot police and other police forces in general strikes and elsewhere, with the murders in brazilian favelas, the US ghettos and the french suburbs, the murder of Giuliani in Genova 2001, and of course the murders of immigrants in Mediterranean Sea and elsewhere – which they call “shipwrecks”. It’s the same warning neon sign blinking above the heads of all the damned of the earth, which writes “Stay quiet, because none of your lives matter to us!”
Last, the system is also organising its repression on judicial level. Besides, the european arrest warrant under which Italy requests the extradition of the 5 activists students, has been ratified by the greek law with the second anti-terrorism legislation in 2004. Its context violates even the most basic human rights, eg in Italy there is no maximum duration of remand until trial. In other words, if the five students are extradited, they may stay five years in italian prisons, away from their families, before they will be acquited at the trial – which is the most likely possibility, according to the nonexisting data about the charges against them. Also, their extradition to Italy would mean their total isolation, economic annihilation and inability of defending themselves (due to different language and law). The european intergration of repression builds a generalised Guantanamo, seeking to see imprisoned all of us who participate the recent years in strikes and other dynamic mobilisations in central Athens.
It is clear that the mere accusation which burdens the five students is the fact that they united their voices with thousands of others in Milan and elsewhere. It is the fact that they decided to resist the fate reserved for us by the mighty of this world! And it is also clear that our solidarity to all people fighting is not negotiable.
No extradition of the 5 activists students from Agia Paraskevi borough
Cessation of every prosecution
Solidarity to the 5 italian defendants for the same case
Tuesday 24/11, 18:00
Protest outside the Italian Embassy in Athens
Saturday 28/11, 12:00
March from Monastiraki Square, in the context of the european solidarity day for the arrested of No Expo