Greece. Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Dimitris Koufontinas is still alive. Tension does not decrease in Athens. Tonight, another police officer has been attacked, this time in Patras. The Mitsotakis government is in a deadlock.
On that day, November 17, 1973, almost half a century ago, the crowd had said enough to the colonels’ junta and its violence, its torture, its assassinations. People gathered for several days around the Polytechnic School of Athens, in the Exarcheia district, the uprising was finally crushed in a bloodbath, under an ever more violent repression. But the regime was eventually defeated.
A smell of that time is crossing the streets of the major cities of Greece these days, as my old friend Lefteris, a veteran of the insurrection against the colonels, testifies:
“It started like that, people couldn’t take the repression anymore, they didn’t want the regime or its police. It was very strong, in just a matter of days. We experienced great moments. But the power quickly took over using its excessive force combined with a grotesque propaganda. With all due respect, I feel a little like I am reliving those moments.”
Today, the media of the powers that be, which all belong to the friends of Mitsotakis, only talk about the policeman that was seriously injured last night in Nea Smyrni, in the southern suburbs of Athens, and about the arrests of about 20 anarchists and other revolutionaries, half of them minors. They don’t say anything about the dozens of injured among the demonstrators (no deaths yet, but given the situation, it won’t be long), about the crazy censorship in Greece (television, social networks, etc.), about the frequent threats of policemen pointing their guns at the demonstrators (see image), about the calls to torture and kill among police officers (like the chief of the Drasi squad n°36, yesterday, filmed inviting his subordinates to kill demonstrators if necessary).
Another common point: during the night in the streets of the capital, the police drive around and enter buildings, knock on doors, search for people, try to intimidate, yell and break (many viral videos). An air of dictatorship, in Europe, in 2021.
Hatred is rising from all sides. Tonight, a police officer has just been attacked, this time in Patras, the day after other police officers were injured, one of them seriously, in the capital. And it’s happening again: the media only talks about this and not at all about what’s going on.
Meanwhile, Dimitris Koufontinas is on his 61st day of hunger strike, in the general hospital of Lamia. Katerina Douzepi, one of his two personal physicians, was finally able to visit him and informed us that the prisoner is determined to continue, despite the failure of various appeals. Very weakened, Dimitris Koufontinas told her::
“I continue my hunger strike until justice is done.”
While physicians are concerned about his exhaustion, the Council of State today rejected to review his transfer to the high-security prison of Domokos (a request for a temporary order to freeze the transfer decision). It is becoming increasingly clear that this decision is purely political, taken in high places, and nothing else. The government is pushing the prisoner to the limit, depriving him of the possibility of returning to see his son, while he has been in prison for 19 years after turning himself in to the police.
Ironically, despite the situation of the prisoner and the state affair that this issue has become, the Court of Cassation claims that it will not be able to examine his request before April 2, i.e. in three weeks! The powers that be, even when separated, are still the powers that be.
Once again, Greece shows what is being prepared in Europe: an ever more authoritarian regime, with a zealous police force and controls everywhere, including our privacy. If this is not the society you want, then there is still time to act. Hurry up.