Two self-organised spaces were successfully defended when they were attacked by fascist and police forces over the weekend.
Supporters of the fascist Golden Dawn attacked self-organized spaces in the Athens' neighbourhood of Zografou on Saturday night. The attack, which was beaten back, came as supporters of Golden Dawn and nationalists marched nearby.
The attackers broke off from a Golden Dawn and nationalist demonstration in Athens. The march was on the anniversary of the Imia incident, a clash in the 1990's between Greece and Turkey over some deserted rocks in the Aegean which almost led to war. The media reports that around 5,000 fascists and nationalists from all over Greece took part in the march, though the same reports fail to mention the attack in Zografou.
As the protest ended a number of motorcyclists who accompanied the march broke off and headed to Villa Zografou and Berntes, two self-organised spaces in Zografou. The fascists attacked the buildings but in both cases were repulsed by people in the area. Some of the fascists needed hospital treatment and according to some reports one of those injured was taken to hospital 401 which is only for members of the police and armed forces. Following the attack the Villa was surrounded by heavy police forces as hundreds of people rushed to defend the spaces. The police forces eventually withdrew in the early hours.
Not far from the neighbourhood of Zografou the Golden Dawn have recently opened a new office, funnily enough it's in the same area as the police headquarters of the Athens' region. So places such as Villa Zografou are of great importance in resisting the expanding Golden Dawn presence in central Athens. Whilst the fact that the far-right was able to hold a march with thousands of supporters is worrying the night was not a great show of strength. In terms of sheer numbers 5,000 is only half of the approximately 10,000 who came out for a recent demonstration in support of the squats of Athens. What's more the attacks on the social centres show that the far-right is being confronted by organised and determined anti-fascists who continue to grow in strength.
The need for an increasing and ever more determined anti-fascist presence was shown by other recent events. A 37 year-old father of two from Senegal, Cheikh (Babakar) Ndiaye died in Athens after police chased him onto the train tracks at Thissio station on Friday night. Policemen chased Cheikh as part of an operation to remove migrant street sellers in the area. Such harassment of migrants on the streets of Athens' tourist centre has long been an every day occurrence. Friends of Cheikh Ndiaye who gathered at the scene were beaten back by riot police units. This latest death comes two weeks after supporters of the Golden Dawn murdered Shehzad Luqman a 27 year-old man from Pakistan, also in Athens.