Italy: December 2009 arrestees write about their appeal trial on June 28th in Athens–Greece
Wednesday 13 July 2011
Communiqué (29/6) by Italian comrades who were arrested during the December 2009 demonstration in Athens:
On the night of December 6th, 2008, two police officers on patrol in the streets of Exarchia, popular neighbourhood of Athens, shoot to death the 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos. In the following hours, the rage of people in Exarchia is unleashed, giving life to numerous spontaneous protest marches through the neighbourhood’s streets, thus sparking—with the diffusion of this news in an already explosive social situation—a true generalized revolt, which spreads throughout the capital and then also nationwide, putting the Hellenic forces of order under strain for more than a month. Also, numerous solidarity initiatives are being reported in major European cities and beyond.
Athens, December 2009; many initiatives have organized protests across Greece on the occasion of the first anniversary of Alexis’ death. Saturday, December 5th; a gathering is organized by the neighbourhood assembly in Exarchia close to the place where the boy was killed. The remembrance is still vivid in people’s memories, and the rage mounts. The gathering is followed by a spontaneous march through the neighbourhood’s streets. The district is heavily loaded with ‘Delta’, an anti-riot motorized unit purposely instituted in order to quell street demonstrations in the light of last year’s riots. Following clashes, 12 people are arrested, including five Italian anarchists that are released the next Monday with various charges, including resistance, attempted bodily injuries to public officer, damage and disturbance of communal peace —an offense comparable to the Italian equivalent of public nuisance, which however provides for heavy penalties under a law enacted ad hoc in Greece shortly before, to penalize dissent in the streets.
On November 14th, 2011, the hearing of the first-instance trial takes place in Athens against the arrestees of the 2009 clashes. At the hearing the accusation witnesses, namely the same Delta unit cops, present themselves in numbers and provide a version of the events clearly machinated and orchestrated in order to inflict the maximum possible sentences for the defendants, revealing the Greek State’s intention to strike an exemplary repressive blow. The heaviest sentences are ranging between 5 and 6 years in prison. The prosecutor’s fury goes further, as he declares the willingness to immediately apply for a European arrest warrant for the five Italian comrades. Also, the formulation of convictions singles out: for all, 4 years plus several months, from 12 to 24, depending on the defendant. The 4 years are in fact attributable to the single offense’s infringement of disturbance of communal peace.
On June 28th, 2012, the appeal hearing is due to take place in Athens. It is evident that the Greek State places heavy emphasis on this process to give a strong signal to all those who decide not to accept passively the destiny that somebody else has decided for them and that, in the face of police violence, choose to fight back and unleash their own rage towards those who daily exploit and oppress their existence. Certainly, the repression will not manage to curb the flooding river of social revolt that still inundates the Greek streets, and not only.