Saturday, 8 May 2010

.....FREEDOM! - Spiros

Saturday afternoon, June 21, a black block of about 3,000 comrades, anarchists, antiauthoritarians and rebels, forms inside the university grounds. The first actions as soon as the demo is underway along Egnata street is an attack with flares on the media positioned in a block of flats at the beginning of the route. Cops in the first side street are attacked and they begin to shoot teargas. Most of the shops and banks along the route have been boarded up. A fascist bookshop is burned. Corrugated metal is pulled down and the banks are attacked. Many riot cops are positioned down the side streets. They come up to the main street and fire tear gas at point blank range. Some demonstrators’ masks are blown off with the impact. In any case the gas is so strong that masks are of little protection and in the space between Aristotelous Square and Camara Square, in an instant the black block is cut in half. One half moves forward towards Aridstotelous Square, the other backwards to the university. When this happens my comrade and I are confused because people begin running back very fast, so we start walking quickly (I can’t run as a result of an accident, but that’s another story…).
We decide to go into the first block of flats, open the door and dive in to find many comrades there already lining the stairs of the six-floor building. They are struggling to breathe and giving each other first aid. We are about 20 people. I realise that we know some of the comrades well and that there are also people from other countries. My immediate reaction is to try to protect them. The only good thing I remember from this situation is that there is not too much panic. The only problem is the gas that is making it difficult for us to breathe. One comrade we know very well has 2 or 3 bottles of Malox to apply to the skin and this has an immediate effect. At this point my experience from the past comes into my mind. Because of the problems I have with my body following an accident, I find myself doing something I would never even have considered once in Greece. I know that the worst thing you can do in such a situation is to go inside a building, it’s a trap. The people living in the building can give you problems, and it’s easier for the police to arrest you. But I realise how lucky we were that among us, sitting on the stairs and behind the main door, are people who actually live in the flats. And for at least one hour they don’t say a word to us, either to help us or to tell us to piss off.
During all this time hundreds of cops passed the building, many stopping outside. I still can’t believe our luck, that they didn’t imagine the scene behind the door, of comrades lining the stairs.
After a long time, about an hour and a half, I and my comrade decide to come out to see what the situation in the streets is. What we see is impossible to describe. In front of us in … Street one half of the road is white, the other black. We look left to see a huge cloud of white smoke in the sky, to the right is a great cloud of black smoke. We don’t know exactly where the black smoke is coming from, but imagine it is from burning shops or banks. Also, the street is full of t-shirts, scarves, masks, gloves, hundreds of broken molotovs, and about50 metres away you can see rows of cops, ambulances and fire engines.
We decide to cross the road and take a side street. We are tired and I have so much pain in my body. We walk and walk until we stop outside a coffee shop and decide to sit and rest and drink a coffee. About 50 metres away is a group of cops, as there had been at many points along the road. Two young passing comrades come and sat with us. As soon as the cops see them they come over and order us to stand and have our bags searched. On finding our gas masks, they immediately declare us under arrest and order us to follow them. They march us to the van, I am the last of the four because I can’t walk fast. The pain in my knees is excruciating and I am limping. At this point one of the cops, special riot cops, starts to hit me hard on the back of the neck. We walk to where the police vans are parked and are pushed inside one. I’ll never forget the scene at a nearby coffee shop where cops were sitting with nazis who begin shouting, ‘Kill the bastards! Kill the anarchists! Beat them up!’
Then they put all of us into a big van, telling us we’d have to wait for a while for a car to arrive. All this time, about half an hour, they are very friendly, making me think that something serious is going to happen to us. The moment is approaching. The cop car is here: it is the small van that takes prisoners. They put the four of us in and I see it has two tiny mesh-covered windows. On the way, we don’t know where, they stop and bring another guy inside. We realise he has also been arrested. He seems scared, and has terrible pain in his mouth where they’ve hit him. Me and my comrade try to talk to him in various languages, but all we can understand is his name, Fernando, and the only language he can speak is Spanish. A couple of minutes later the van stops and we are taken out.
First, they line us up – the two Greeks, the guy from Spain, my comrade from Scotland and last, me. I can’t believe my eyes. 2 lines of cops, about 20, and the one nearest me hits me on the head saying ‘Why are youlimping motherfucker?’ I realise that this cop is from a different department. I see special riot cops with shields, prison cops and normal cops. We go into the building the most disgusting, dead place, black with dirt, and the 2 Greek comrades are made to get down on their knees and face the wall, their heads touching the wall. Me, I am standing by the table of the boss in charge. He screams ‘You, get on your knees and put your head against the wall’. I’ll never as long as I live forget my comrade trying all the time to look at me as they order her to look away, because she knows what will happen to me if they hit my body. When the cop tells me to get on my knees and face the wall, I take down my trousers to reveal my scars and injuries. The fucking cop pats me on the back, ‘Don’t worry my little friend, the others are going to take the beating for you’. And at the same time one of the cops with the special green uniform takes position and runs and jumps with both boots on the back of one of our comrades. Another starts to hit a comrade on the back. They also hit them on the neck over the carotid. For three or four minutes 4 or 5 cops attack the two comrades without stopping. I can’t make it any longer, I put down my head as tears fill my eyes. It’s the first time in my life I’ve witnessed such a scene, it makes me think of the fascists in Turkey. The violence is total, they are all in agreement.
Then the old prison boss cop arrives wielding a big stick that comes to a pencil point. It is painted in the colours of the Greek flag. He loses no time in trying to ram it into the arse of one of the comrades. Then they start to scream obscenities to my companion, saying very bad things to her in Greek. I’m very happy she doesn’t understand, as they are deciding to take her upstairs to rape her and are asking each other who this fucking woman is. I immediately call out ‘she’s my woman, she’s with me’. They are confused for a moment and shut up. They get the other two to stand up and lock us in the first very small cell with dirty straw on the floor. I touch my friend, we hug, then I turn to the other guys and ask them how they are but they answer ‘Don’t worry, and don’t forget the solidarity between us is so strong they can’t break us.’ The other comrade has terrible pain in his ankle (it is broken) but he says, ‘Don’t worry, we’re going to make it.’
During the night they bring some more young people into the cell. We are about 9 or 10, it is already full. Time passes and at about 11 or 12 o’clock they bring in a guy who is about 25/30 years old. I can see him because I am standing at the bars of the cell. He has stitches in his forehead and two big, hairless bumps on his head, you can’t tell whether it is stitches or blood from having his hair pulled out. He is wearing a salopette with a t-shirt underneath that is red all over. The cops scream and scream at him and go up to him holding their noses saying ‘you smell like a fucking dustbin’ telling him to take all his clothes off which he doesn’t understand and starts to say something in English. When he takes his trousers off I see that half of them are white and realise in horror that the red colour is his own blood. When he takes all his clothes off I can see his torso is covered in huge bruises like burns, and one of the cops asks ‘What did he do, this piece of shit?’ A cop answers ‘Go and look at the black bag on the table’. He opens it, and inside is a hammer and a plastic bag containing 2 or 3 molotovs. He immediately goes to this guy, catches him by the hair and hits his face against the bars, splitting his nose which starts bleeding. And all he can do is raise a clenched fist and say ‘…Freedom!’.
After they make him sign a piece of paper he can’t understand. I try to say something, but he can’t understand. Then they take him to another cell...


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