SENZA CENSURA n.5
Italy, June 2001
ESTABLISHMENT OF POLICE STATE IN GREECE
By Network for Political and Social Rights
Grace to a left movement with strong democratic principles, consequence of the period of resistance to the military junta that collapsed in 1974, Greece has long resisted to numerous attempts of establishing a police state. These attempts, in their majority expressing ideological views of the traditional Right, the political party of "Nea Democratia", were mainly taking the form of laws that were called "antiterrorism" laws, that suppressed a wide spectrum of political rights and freedoms under pretext of fighting against a practice actually very restricted and without political sensation within the classes of the revolutionary Left in Greece. All these attempts ended in failure, producing however, from 1974 and then, a great number of political prisoners who, after being at first presented to the public opinion as alleged terrorists by the police and a large part of the greek mass media, were then declared innocent by the courts.
Now it is the governing "socialist" party, PASOK, the one taking the initiative to impose the police state in Greece, submitting to the strong pressures exerted by the USA in one hand, and on the other, wanting to fortify against the inevitable reactions that will be caused by the neoliberal institutional and economical reforms resulting from the countryís accession into the Economic and Monetary Union and the globalised economy system. The establishment of the police state will be implemented mainly through three bills that have already been introduced or will be introduced in the near future to the Parliament for voting.
The first bill is targeting the immigrants. Greece is a country with long tradition in migration. The first large migration wave towards the USA is already developing in the end of the 19th century and reaches the top during the period of 1950-60. This country, according to european statistics, now stands in the first place among european countries with respect to xenophobia, racist attacks against immigrants is an every day phenomenon, while the stateís racist practice comes near to medieval behaviours. The picture is now completed with the introduction of the new anti-immigration law. According to this bill, those immigrants that have crossed the countryís borders illegally, in other words their majority, and get caught, will be deprived of any kind of protection and any kind of political and social right. The provisions included in the bill penalize all forms of assistance to the "illegal" immigrants, providing for imprisonment and heavy fines to the law-breakers. Most of all, "illegal" immigrants are deprived of any right to address themselves to the public services with only exception the right to appeal to the Council of State, a legal process extremely costly. In addition, the bill forces medical doctors to become informers, demanding from them to refuse the rendering of medical services to immigrants lacking stay permit "except for urgent incidents" and to report immediately to the police every incident of medical treatment given to "illegal" immigrant. Imprisonment penalties and fines are also provided for against any individual that would offer hospitality or rent out their house to an immigrant without papers, or would "obstruct" their arrest by the police, penalizing therefore any form of solidarity to the immigrants.
The second bill refers to the "fighting against terrorism and organised crime". Its provisions provide for the abolition of the presumption of innocence of the accused (from now on the accused will have to prove their innocence rather than the state to prove their guilt), the penalization of personal relationships with "terrorists", the abolition of the institution of juries (since juries are considered less vulnerable to political pressures and more socially sensitive than professional judges), the potentials for supporting accusation based on anonymous witnessís testimony, whose identity is not revealed during the penal process, the potentials to widely violate the secrecy of oneís personal life through extended secret supervisions, etc.
The reality is that in Greece the activity of the armed organisations is eased off and isolated from the social movement. Therefore, this law actually targets those that keep resisting, the Left and the anti-authoritarian current. Indicative is the fact that a recent annual report of the State Department includes the demonstrations against the war in Yugoslavia and other anti-imperialist manifestations within "terrorist actions". It is evident that nobody is actually in danger from the implementation of this law, but the ultimate remained democratic freedoms. The greek government opts for "cracking down terrorism" stepping over the dead body of citizensí rights.
The third bill aims at restricting the right to demonstrate, imposing on those questioning the dominant policy, the obligation to get a "demonstration permit" and to name a person as "demonstrationís responsible", who will be prosecuted in case of riots, while setting at the same time restrictive conditions regarding the place to demonstrate etc.
The greek left movement opposes and will keep on resisting all these laws, which pave the way for converting the country to a police state. The transformation of the country into a fortress, which is attempted by the neoliberal Simitisí government, aims at developing a generalised climate of obedience within the society, in view in particular of the Olympic games of 2004 that will be held in Athens.
With this report (bulletin, newsletter) we open up a process of information and we ask for the solidarity of all our comrades living abroad, to our fight against the repressive policies of the greek government.
Network for Political and Social Rights
Tel: +30 1 3813928, +30 1 3304901, Fax: +30 1 3840290
35 Valtetsiou st, Exarchia, 10681 Athens, Greece.