Athens. Greece. We actively support and collectively stand against the litigations, the court expenses and the fines that burden hundreds of militants. Contribute to our struggle, so that we ensure no comrade is left alone.
Originally published by Fire Fund.
You can support the persecuted militants and revolutionaries here.
On January 8, 2021, the political prisoner Dimitris Koufontinas announced that he is going on hunger strike in Domokos prison, demanding his transfer to Korydallos prison, in Athens, as defined by the law.
In recent months, the government has passed a bill, which was advertised as photographic for Koufontinas’ case, according to which prisoners convicted of terrorism will not be held in rural prisons, will not even be transferred, or they will be returned to their previous detention facility.
However, not even this was applied on comrade Koufontinas, resulting in him being transferred – as an exception – to a different detention facility than the one he was supposed to according to the law that had passed precisely for him. This fact led him to the decision to go on a hunger strike, so that – by requesting his transfer exactly as provided by the law – he would denounce the constant different and vengeful treatment against him.
Dimitris Koufontinas’ hunger strike began in a political environment of general authoritarianism by the state, which was also reflected in a number of reactionary/ conservative / far-right targets set by the ND( New Democracy) government. Targets that have to do with the extermination of the militants and the radical movement in general, but also specifically with Dimitris Koufontinas himself, to whom the government expressed its anti-movement rhetoric.
In addition, the pandemic is an ideal opportunity to impose new correlations across the full range of social aquis, on many levels.
Therefore, the instrumentalization of the health crisis, the extensive and strict lockdown as a vehicle for the suppression of mobilizations/ demonstrations, along with the relative terrorism of the continuous controls in the squares, the streets, the neighbourhoods or anywhere else – combined with all of the above – made it extremely difficult to create a dynamic solidarity movement.
Finding common ground on solidarity and support for the fighter D.K., we – individuals and collectives from a wide range of ideological and social starting points- came together. Despite the unprecedented and extreme condition of prohibitions and restrictions, in which we were forced to exist throughout the whole period, from the beginning of the hunger strike, we managed to hold large and productive assemblies, as well as perform a series of political acts.
At first, any attempt of solidarity action was brutally attacked before it could even begin. However, people’s persistence led to some regional moves that paved the way, even outside the city center, and raised the issue of the hunger strike ( blockade of Syngrou Avenue, intervention at the Mall in Marousi ).
Furthermore, in order to exert wider pressure through intermediate institutional actors and – given the press ‘’omertà’’ – to extract any kind of public statement around the issue, we intervened outside the headquarters of the Athens Bar Association and the Athens Medical Association, the headquarters of the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers and the headquarters of the Amnesty International-Greece.
As the hunger strike escalated, high-level political targeting was decided, such as the interventions outside both the U.S Embassy (in a kind of mini-march) and Katerina Sakellaropoulou’s ( President of the Hellenic Republic) house. At the same time, in Athens, the city center was considered appropriate to be an important field for claiming our existence.
Therefore, we held seven (7), in total, nationwide demonstrations in the centre of the city, at the Propylaea, again and again, during which Athens faced days of unheard-of repression (dozens were detained, arrested and fined). The center of the city was militarized every day, with police forces in every alley of a large perimeter around the gathering point, with riot police (MAT/YMET) and rapid reaction force (DELTA) squads, but also with water cannons spread inside the concentration area and even with a helicopter and drones flying above to locate our points of origin.
Nevertheless, despite the suffocating controls, the excessive police forces and the savage attack by the cops, despite the tear gas, the beating, the arrests and the fines, the protesters not only did not decrease, but gradually increased. It was determination, self-denial, perseverance and camaraderie that made people say they would be there every week, every day if needed, until our comrade on hunger strike was vindicated.
Special mention must go to the comrades who lifted the weight of dynamic, high-level political targeting moves (arrest was a given), such as the two squats in the Ministry of Health ( 65 arrests plus 300 euros fine each) and in the Ministry of Culture (35 arrests plus 300 euros fine each).
The same goes for those who participated in the demonstration outside the headquarters of the New Democracy Party, in Moschato (115 arrests plus 300 euros fine each).
We consider these acts to have been a milestone in the course of the hunger strike, in Athens at least. They gave an extraordinary impetus to the solidarity movement and also delivered the message that resistance may have its cost, but it also has a resulting effect. And it is exactly this effect that makes it worthwhile.Finally, we managed to maintain our political autonomy and our radical sign with the well-known ‘’I was born November 17’’ written on our large central banner, which can have multiple readings. In more than one occasions, the assembly bloc numbered from 5000 up to 7.000 people on a daily basis and after the end of the demonstration it became autonomous and directed towards Exarchia. Re-appropriating the neighbourhood after months of state gang domination enhanced our collective self-confidence, further strengthening us.
The momentum developed by the daily presence of thousands of protesters resulted in the generalization of extreme repression, something that didn’t t stop people from descending en masse on to the streets.
During the 65 days comrade’s hunger strike lasted, more than 200 arrests were made and even more fines were issued. Those arrested are facing 3 – 4 charges (disobedience, spreading of the coronavirus, traffic obstruction/disruption and – in some cases- resisting arrest ). Each arrest is additionally charged with a fine of 300euros for violating pandemic-related restrictive measures.
The Solidarity assembly with Dimitris Koufontinas has decided to collectively face the litigations and the legal expenses that weigh a great number of comrades who were arrested during the demonstrations and the interventions organised, called and held by the assembly. It is a matter of principle for us that no comrade is left alone to carry the burden of persecution, legal costs and fines that were imposed during the hunger strike, and whose size introduces us to a new era of repression, which we must confront as collectively as possible.
NOBODY LEFT ALONE IN THE HANDS OF THE STATESOLIDARITY IS OUR WEAPON
Solidarity assembly with the hunger striker Dimitris Koufontinas
You can support the persecuted militants and revolutionaries here.