We leave him and catch a taxi into the city centre to see what the situation is at the black block campsite. The city is even quieter then the previous days and there are a lot of riot vans and riot and undercover police around all the main streets. Everywhere in the centre the chemical smell of CS gas from the previous day is still lingering and we also pass some of the shops – or the blackened remains of- that had been petrol bombed the previous day. Surprisingly, we get into the Philosophical and Theological Schools without any problems. The campsite is more or less deserted and there are only about 50 odd people left from the estimated 4.000-5.000 that had been staying there.
We meet a guy from Athens, part of the black block. He tells us everyone left as early in the morning as they could, as the situation yesterday had been really bad. Paranoia and fear had taken over the camp, and justly so what between internal tensions, police repression, rumors of the University asylum being cancelled, undercover cops roaming about and one of the main Greek television channels getting a hidden camera into one of the black block meetings and showing the whole thing on the evening news! As a consequence, at the end of the day no one could trust anyone.
As we’re sat chatting, a Greek guy looking quite scared approaches us. He’d just been stopped outside the Schools by a riot police squad. They had searched him and then given him a beating, for absolutely no reason whatsoever. They only thing they had found on him had been a Legal Team flyer and they actually made fun of him, while beating him, saying ‘Let’s see the Legal Team help you now’. We decide to get out of there as quick as possible and walk very cautiously through back streets, trying to avoid bumping into any police. The rest of the day is spent playing hide and seek with the cops.
Later on in the evening, we find out there was finally a demonstration in solidarity to the arrestees outside the courts, which gathered 300-400 people. 27 people from the 102 originally arrested were now being kept in custody, with serious charges such as criminal damage and construction and use of explosives being brought against them. Further, there was information that they had been severely beaten, they’d had chunks of hair pulled out and were generally being terrorized physically and psychologically. Further the police refused to allow their personal doctors and the Legal Team people to see them.
The riot police continued the brutality now towards the solidarity demonstrators, chucking CS gas and beating them. One Italian demonstrator actually got his head cracked open and required several stitches. More people got arrested bringing the total number on this day to around 30 or 40, although they were later allowed out with no charges. [For more info on the situation with the arrestees and the police, as well as solidarity demonstrations across Europe see http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/world/ and http://athens.indymedia.org/?lang=en ]
At the same time as police brutality and repression was raging, the Greek media completely covered up and distorted the situation. There was hardly any mention or coverage of the 100,000 strong demonstration on Saturday or of the festivals, discussions and workshops that had taken place for the last week, or of police brutality. The main stories that were running claimed that there were 100 anarchists (when in reality there were 4,000-5,000) that had destroyed the shops of poor, hard-working people (rather then shops part of multi-national chains) and overall there was the usual in Greece portrayal of the black block as a bunch of hooligans that are a threat to society and which we should all be afraid of. The icing on the cake was when various politicians and media people blamed the Greek police for not taking enough measures and not being harsh enough! Overall there was a systematic effort on the one hand by the police to instill fear and terror in the protesters, and on the other hand by the media to instill fear and terror in the general public about protesters and demonstrations.