News in English 24-9-13
In the wake of press reports and charges concerning the involvement of police force members in the activity of Golden Dawn, there have been resignations, transfers and replacements of Hellenic Police brass. Two police generals – of mainland and southern Greece, respectively – have resigned citing personal reasons. Another eight officers have been transferred or replaced. They include the riot police platoon leader active in Keratsini, who was recorded on video totally ignoring a group of civilians standing right next to the platoon and throwing stones at protesters. The chief of police has ordered an official inquiry into last Friday’s events, when at the Golden Dawn party offices in Halkida – only a few meters away from the Evia police station – individuals were carrying objects that would fall under the description of weapons possession and were not subjected to any control.
The University of Athens Senate and the National Technical University have decided to suspend the institution’s educational and administrative operation. As noted in its announcement, the University of Athens «With 500 employees of the University being placed on availability, there is objectively a complete inability to function.» The Technical University also announced that it is suspending operation until tomorrow, when the senate will convene again. A short while ago it was announced that the University of Ioannina is also suspending its operation for the same reasons.
After yesterday’s meeting with TROIKA, the Minister of Health, Adonis Georgiades, announced the increase of admission fee in outpatient clinics of Hospitals, from 5 to 25 euros. This fee will apply in 2014. Both sides also decided an increase of the use of generic medication, up to 60% and agreed on a pharmaceutical expenditure that will not exceed the amount of 2 billion euros for 2014.
Today and tomorrow, hospitals, health-care centres welfare units and the emergency ambulance services and navigation services at most of the country’s ports will be operating with minimum staff required for safety. Students, parent associations and staff symbolically occupied the White Tower of Thessaloniki early this morning, supporting the 48 hour nationwide strike by the Confederation of public sector employees.
Protests are continuing throughout the country against the ‘availability’ measure and layoffs while the troika is meeting today with the Minister of Administrative Reform, Kiriakos Mitsotakis. A protest march was held in the centre of Athens earlier in observance of the 48-hour strike declared for today and tomorrow by the civil Servants’ Union, ADEDY.
Protest rallies against the government measures are organized in Regional cities too. At the same time, the schools that are under occupation both in Attica and in other cities, from Orestiada to Crete, are increasing. The occupations are held in support and solidarity, with the teachers’ struggle, but also against the Government’s bill for the new high school. A panhellenic teachers’ protest rally is organized tomorrow at 1pm, at Propylaia.
Unions of both public and private sectors will hold a joint antifascist protest rally tomorrow afternoon at 6 pm, in Syntagma Square. The party of SYRIZA also calls for participation to the antifascist protest, with a pre-gathering at 5.30pm in Klafthmonos Square. The Antifascist coordination of committees, collectives, initiatives of Athens and Piraeus calls to a massive antifascist gathering tomorrow at 5pm at Propylaea and march towards the offices of Golden Dawn at Mesogeion Street. The march will join the antifascist rally of the Confederation of Public Sector Employees, ADEDY, and the Confederation of Greek workers, GSEE, at Syntagma square.
During a telephone interview on the radio program of «Radiozones Anatreptikis Ekfrasis” 98fm station, the wounded protester at the protest in Keratsini, who underwent emergency surgery, confirmed the complete loss of his vision on the injured eye. He impeached that his injury was the result of a direct firing of a stun grenade by a riot policeman. He also said that almost simultaneously he was shot on the leg with a tear-gas canister and that it was out of sheer luck that he isn’t dead today. Concluding, he clarified that he will not stop fighting and he will participate again in protests immediately after his recovery.
The Greek Supreme Court deputy prosecutor who is investigating the thirty-two pending cases involving Golden Dawn party members is gathering witness statements. The first to testify have been journalists who have on occasion interviewed members of Golden Dawn.
The competent authorities are planning to transfer Giorgos Roupakias, charged with murdering activist musician Pavlos Fysas, to the Malandrinou prison after the reactions of inmates at the Korydallos prison upon learning of his pre-trial custody in their facility.
By an announcement through the Government spokesman, the Government stated their opposition to convening the council of political leaders, on the issue of Golden Dawn, which has been demanded by all parties of the opposition.
The ministers of Public Order and Justice, and the president of the parliament successively visited the President of the Republic today. The two Ministers updated Mr Papoulias, on the legislative initiatives to address the phenomenon of Golden Dawn, while Mr. Meimarakis briefed the President on the opening of the Greek Parliament session for the same issue.
Yesterday evening, lender representatives held an initial meeting with the privatizations fund. According to sources, the troika has demanded a more flexible Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund that will reach decisions much faster. The troika heads, who visited late Monday afternoon the offices of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, are said to be demanding implementation of the privatizations program without further delays. Sources maintain that the Fund’s leadership presented the implementation of the program to date, noting that, together with expected revenue from the OPAP state lottery, the revenue target of 1.5 billion euros from privatizations by the end of 2013 is attainable. [1 billion euros to date in accounting books].However, the troika supposedly requested that privatization plans for 2014 (for example the Athens and Thessaloniki water companies, the ports, and the public natural gas company) should proceed this year in order to raise an additional 2.5 billion euros. At the same time they are requesting that the sale and lease-back of 28 public properties already included in the program have to be accelerated.
The solidarity events for the employees of ERT continue. Tonight at 9pm in the yard of ERT’s premises in Agia Paraskevi, one of the greatest singers of Greek popular music, Dimitris Mpasis will be with us. Media Xoursoulidou will present a musical show with a variety of rock-ethnic sounds, and masterly adaptations of music from the Balcans, Armenia, Portugal and other countries.