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What really happened in Athens

category greece / turkey / cyprus | anarchist movement | news report author Friday May 13, 2005 19:18author by Anonymous - via infoshop Report this post to the editors

The truth behind the so called hostage crisis at the National Technical University

Mainsteam media in many countries carried reports of Greek anarchists supposedly taking two politicians hostage in the National Technical University in Athens. This report clarifies what actually happened and includes the statement from the Senate (Students union assembly?) of the university. It was first posted to infoshop in response to the posting of an AP report there.

On the 10th of May at around 9:30 in the evening a group of 30 anarchists headed for the National Technical University in the centre of Athens. The anarchists were previously taking part at an anarchist rally in the Monastiraki area. The group intended to enter one of the lecture rooms in the school in order to start a discussion on workers issues.

Meanwhile a book presentation was taking part in another hall of the university, participating in it were many prominent Greek politicians. The anarchists had absolutely no interest to this event, as they entered the school though; they realized that two armed secret police agents were inside the grounds of the school guarding two of the politicians. (In Greece it is illegal for police or army personnel to enter academic buildings especially if armed).The anarchists immediately moved towards the police in order to kick them out of the school grounds while others started destroying their vehicles. One of the two policemen drew out his handgun firing at least 12 rounds, finally injuring a 29-year old.

The rest of the group finally managed to capture and disarm the officer. Meanwhile riot police had started to surround the building, soon after the word that someone was shot in the Polytechnic school got out and another 500 anarchist joined the first 30 and sealed off the building while trapping everyone inside it. They entered the room where the politicians were and stated that no one is to leave the building unless 3 demands were met.

These were
1) The name of the secret agent who shot their comrade is to be made known to the public
2) The dean and board of the school is to make a public announcement commenting on the fact that police shot a young man inside the university
3) No one is to be attacked or arrested in order to vacate the building.

After 8 hours of negotiations with the police as long as heavy political discussion between the former ministers and the anarchists all demands where met and the anarchists marched out of the building. Soon after, the “hostages” exited too.

During these events several clashes broke out on the streets near the university between police and other anarchists acting in solidarity to the ones inside.

Meanwhile the anarchists inside the university released an announcement to the press which was read by most Greek media. As soon as I translate it I will post it here. Following is the school board announcement commenting on the events.

After the events that took place in the Athens Polytechnic School (otherwise known as National Technical University of Athens) the Senate sent this press release:


The events that took place around the celebration of this year’s Workers’ Mayday, the repeal of the paid holiday and the attempt of the government to abolish one of the most historical vested rights of the worker’s movement, constitute an unprecedented attack on the conquests of the people and of the youth.

In this context there were announced strikes and mobilisations for the 11th of May by the trade unions in the city centre of Athens. Today there was another march that ended up in the Polytechnic. Inside this space there were the members of parliament Venizelos, Verelis, Vougias and others from the party of PASOK. With an unthought-of and provocative demonstration of authoritarianism and arbitrariness, policeman of their personal guard shot and wounded seriously one of the protestors, and probably only by luck we don’t mourn any dead ones today.

The fact that the civil police came inside the Polytechnic without any reason or permission and by so doing they breached the asylum, which except from a popular conquest is by law vested, this fact must be condemned without any hesitation from all the democratic parts of the Greek society. Only alone the fact that someone was injured from a gun reminds of the practices of Junta. On November of ’73 was the last time that someone was injured inside the Polytechnic in such a way.

Not only will the Senate of the Polytechnic oppose these practices but the whole popular and youth movement. We consider a matter-of-course the detection and the exemplary punishment of the perpetrator of the murderous assault. The mass participation in the mobilisations of the Worker’s Mayday tomorrow would be the best answer against this kind of practices.

'' Senate of the National Technical University of Athens 11/05/05 ''

This year's Mayday was celebrated 10 days later in Greece due to the fact it coincided with Easter Sunday

There is also an untranslated report in Greek on at

Related Link:
author by James Rpublication date Fri Jun 03, 2005 00:51Report this post to the editors

I really didnt get a proper sense of what happened in Athens from the net before talking to him.

The people they trapped in the room were a number of ex-ministers from the socialists, apparently the book launch was by some former student radical involved in an occuapation movement who had remained "pure" whilst the politicos who were there had gone the way of Pat Rabbitte, Ho Chi Quinn et al in Ireland.

From what he was saying, it really seemed like a once in a life time experience, and its amazing the way what in relative terms was an extraordinary dialogue was turned into a riot by sections of the media, namely BBC online. Apparently there was huge support and amazement at the action in the surrounding area. Rather than a hostage taking it was more used as an opportunity to throw questions at the politicians and reply to their answers, something tv doesnt let you do.

He also informed me that there was several recent "pograms" (a term he used...) against the left in a neighbour hood in the vicinity which has been a traditional bastion of the left and cultural bohemian types. Apparently 150 people rounded up in one night by the police. How common is that? That's an amazing level of repression by irish standards....


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