Cleaning Syntagma

Athens, May 15

Comrades Cansino and Aristocrates

Dear people,

The comfort of the squat is dangerous for the revolutionary spirit. Especially when there is little of it. It’s evening and we’re sitting together in the living room, a dozen marchers. In the small kitchen, Mami is cooking for her hijos de puta. The cloud of spicy smoke is so thick that it’s hard to read the writings on the walls.

It’s the first time that our clan has a roof, sofas, a kitchen, a shower to call our own. At least for the moment. After half a year of camping, people enjoy it. And no-one will deny that we didn’t deserve it.

But on the other hand, it’s 15M’s eve. Tomorrow we celebrate the first anniversary of our movement, and right now there is a handful of our people holding the square of Syntagma.

I have been there the first two nights, and I’ll be damned if I don’t join them now. So I rise up from the soft pillows of the sofa, I cut my way through the cloud of smoke, and I go. “Later, people. I’m going to see what’s cooking on Syntagma.”

It’s a twenty minute walk. When I arrive, I see we occupied the center of the square. People with sleeping backs and covers are gathered in a circle. I squeeze in, I lie down and I listen to humming of the conversation as I start to doze off.

Just when I’m about to get some sleep, police arrive. Two dozen officers in riot gear. Because of the blankets, this is considered camping in a public space, and we have to move.

We are not the only ones. All over Athens, thousands of homeless people are ‘camping’ as well. They are more every day.

We take away blankets and sleeping bags. We leave the cardboard. We lock arms and legs together and we humm. It takes as while, but in the end police retreat. We take our stuff again, and we stay in Syntagma for the third night in a row.

The third night in Syntagma

After the retreat of police

Occupy the tree

In the morning, at six, it’s police again for the wake up call. We have to move, seriously this time. The reason is that the sprayers come to clean the square.
We stay put. Riot police is deployed on two sides, and then they send in the cleaning car to put us pressure.

In a white cloud, the water vapour bounces of the tiles of Syntagma. The machine moves slowly towards the group. People start to evacuate, to try and safe their stuff. It could have ended right there. Indignados simply washed away from Syntagma as yesterday’s dirt.

This morning, 15M.

The sprayers arrive

But it didn’t end that way. The real heroine of the day was comrade Sabina from Belgium. She laid herself down in the streaming water in front of the spraying vehicle. And the firm look in her eyes said she wasn’t going to move.

It was the key moment. Max joins in and others follow. Comrade Cansino takes a bath straight in front of the vehicle and comrade Aristocrates plays the guitar. It’s a fabulous scene. And it’s true what they say. Our movement has an innate taste for drama and beauty.

Comrade Sabina, resisting the water

Comrade Cansino

Then police proceeds to evacuate, hesitatingly. They don’t really know how to handle us. If we were a band of hard core anarchists they would have just beaten us off the square and into the bus in ten minutes time. But these crazy foreign pacifists are different. They have to be handled with gloves. Plastic gloves to be exact.

The first people get dragged away. But just before they get to the police car, others come running in and piling up. Police have to start all over again. First, they surround the pile. Sabina got left out, but today she has revolutionary spirit for ten. She charges the police like a wild horse, demanding access to the circle.

Comrade Sabina charging the police

In the end the arrest took more than two hours. About a dozen people resisted, passionately. I didn’t add to their numbers. I preferred to document the scene and spread the news.

Today is the first anniversary of our movement. Here in Athens the marchers and locals on Syntagma marked it appropriately with a determined act of resistance. Not so much against police, but better, against the water.


3 Comments on “Cleaning Syntagma”

  1. […] COMUNICADO DE PRENSA 16M – Detenciones violentas de manifestantes en Grecia. Created on 16 May 2012 Last Updated on 16 May 2012 admin 0 Comments Detenciones violentas de manifestantes en Grecia.  Esta mañana, a las 8h00, después de una carga policial, 16 personas han sido arrestadas en Grecia mientras estaban en la plaza Syntagma entre las cuales se encontraban tres franceses, cuatro españoles, cuatro griegos, un italiano, un polaco, una suiza, y dos belgas. Se trata de un grupo de manifestantes no-violentos provinientes de varios países (España, Francia, Italia,..), algunos llegaron con la Marcha que salió de Francia para unirse en la capital griega y participar en un Agora de protesta y reflexión sobre la crisis y sus consecuencias. Mientras estaban reunidos de manera pácifica en la Plaza Syntagma, las fuerzas del orden intentaron desalojar la plaza alegando la necesidad de limpiarla, ante esto los manifestantes han resistido de manera no-violenta. Frente a su resistencia, la policía ha cargado de manera violenta y ha procedido a detenerlos, para posteriormente llevarlos a la Comisaria Central de Atenas. Han comparecido por primera vez el martes 15 de Mayo por la tarde, alrededor de las 18h00. Muchas personas han acudido a apoyarles para denunciar la brutalidad de las detenciones considerándolas injustificadas. De momento y según uno de sus abogados griegos, los cargos en su contra son: “resistencia a las fuerzas del orden” y “degradación del espacio público”. El juicio ha sido pospuesto al día de hoy, miércoles 16 de Mayo, a las 12h00. Los detenidos pasarán la noche en cinco comisarías distintas de Atenas. Un concierto ha sido organizado en la Plaza Syntagma para denunicar la represión policial, apoyar moralmente a los detenidos, y colectar fondos para financiar los gastos de la detención. Grupo de coordinación #MarchaGrecia Videos: Indignados Syntagma desalojo – 15M12 Activists arrested ‘March to Athens’ – Being prosecuted Activists arrested ‘March to Athens’ – Δικηγόροι Fotos: babylonia spanish revolution […]

  2. […] comunicato stampa -Detenzione violenta di manifestanti in Grecia. Created on 16 May 2012 Last Updated on 16 May 2012 admin 0 Comments Detenzione violenta di manifestanti in Grecia.  Questa mattina alle 8, dopo una carica della polizia, 16 persone (tra cui 3 francesi, 4 spagnoli, 4 greci, 1 italiano, 1 svedese 1 polacco e 2 belga) sono state arrestate in Grecia mentre si trovano in piazza Syntagma. Sono un gruppo di manifestanti non violenti che provengono da diversi paesi (Spagna, Francia, Italia…), alcuni di loro fanno parte di una Marcia partita 6 mesi fa dalla Francia, si sono riuniti nella capitale greca per un’ Agora di protesta e riflessione circa la crisi e le sue conseguenze. Mentre erano riuniti pacificamente in Piazza Syntagma, le forze dell’ordine hanno cercato di sgomberare la piazza, apportando come motivo la necessità di pulirla. I manifestanti hanno resistito in modo non violento. Di fronte alla loro resistenza, la polizia li ha caricati violentemente e ha proceduto con le detenzioni. Sono stai portati in vari commisariati nel centro di Atene. La prima udienza si è svolta nel pomeriffio di martedì 15 maggio, intorno alle 18.00. Molte persone si sono presentate per manifestare il proprio appoggio e denunciare la brutalità di queste detenzioni ritenute ingiustificate. Al momento, le accuse a loro carico sono, secondo il loro avvocato greco: “resistenza a pubblico ufficiale” e “degrado dello spazio pubblico” (ndt: la traduzione di questa ultima accusa non è certa) Il processo è stato rimandato ad oggi, mercoledì 16 maggio, alle ore 12. I detenuti passeranno la notte in cinque diversi commissariati di Atene. A Piazza Syntagma è stato organizzato un concerto per denunciare la repressione della polizia, sostenere moralmente i detenuti e allo scopo di raccogliere fondi per sostenere le spese legali. GRUPPO DI COORDINAZIONE DELLA MARCIA AD ATENE Videos: Indignados Syntagma desalojo – 15M12 Activists arrested ‘March to Athens’ – Being prosecuted Activists arrested ‘March to Athens’ – Δικηγόροι Fotos: babylonia spanish revolution […]

  3. […] COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE: Violentes arrestations de manifestants pacifiques en Grèce Created on 16 May 2012 Last Updated on 16 May 2012 admin 0 Comments  Violentes arrestations de manifestants pacifiques en Grèce  Ce matin, 8h00, suite à une charge policière, 16 personnes ont été arrêtées en Grèce alors qu´elles se trouvaient sur la Place Syntagma dont trois Français, quatre Espagnols,quatre Grecs, un Italien, un Polonais, une Suisse et deux Belges. Pronant l’action non-violente, ils font partie d’un groupe de manifestants de différents pays (Espagne, France, Italie, …) certains issus des Marches parties de France qui se trouvent en ce moment réunis dans la capitale grecque pour une Agora de protestation et de réflexion sur la crise et ses enjeux. Alors qu´ils étaient réunis pacifiquement sur la place Syntagma, les forces de l´ordre ont voulu l’évacuer sous prétexte de nettoyage. Les manifestants présents ont résisté pacifiquement aux forces de l´ordre. Face à leur résistance, la police a chargé violemment, puis les a arrêtés. Ils ont été emmenés vers différents commissariats du centre ville. Une première comparution a eu lieu ce mardi soir aux environs de 18h00. De nombreuses personnes sont venues de toutes part en soutien, pour dénoncer les arrestations jugées violentes et injustifiées. Jusqu`à présent les charges retenues contre les détenus sont d´après l´avocat grec: « résistance à force de l’ordre », et « dégradation de l’environnement ». Le procès des détenus a été reporté à ce mercredi 16 à 12h00. Ils passeront la nuit dans cinq commissariats différents d´Athènes. Un concert a été organisé à la Place Syntagma pour dénoncer la répression policière, apporter un soutien moral au détenus mais aussi dans le but collecter des fonds pour financer les frais de détention. Videos: Indignados Syntagma desalojo – 15M12 Activists arrested ‘March to Athens’ – Being prosecuted Activists arrested ‘March to Athens’ – Δικηγόροι Fotos: babylonia spanish revolution […]

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