As violent struggle continues to escalate across Greece, workers took control of the Ministry of Culture at the end of last month to demand the back pay of around 4,000 staff and the extension of contracts for 318 workers from minister Paul Geroulanou.
Panicked police surrounded the building shortly after it was taken on 30th October, and were continuing to lay siege to it on 1st November while Geroulanou attempted to negotiate with the workforce.
The occupation of a major state building is merely the latest pressure to be laid on the new socialist government, which has been struggling to cope with the sustained nationwide response to its attempted crackdown on dissent in the capital of Athens.
There has been rising anger over the effective military occupation of Exarcheia, a well-known radical hub in Athens, with thousands of police ID-ing, detaining and raiding dozens of people and homes.
The ham-fisted measures have meant tensions continue to rise between the state, communists and insurrectionary anarchists, with bombings and attacks breaking out over most of last month.
The most notable clash on Tuesday 27th October saw five police officers shot by people on motorbikes, armed with Kalashnikovs. Such is the animosity towards anarchists that police immediately blamed them for the shootings despite a total lack of evidence, however a few days later, the attack was claimed by a hitherto unknown Stalinist group, modelling itself on a resistance group linked to the 1930s incarnation of the Greek Communist Party. In a communiqué they made “a call to arms, in the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat and communism”. Ms Giannakou was minister of education during the massive movement against educational reforms in 2006–2007.
Just days later, on 30th October, the house of conservative ex-minister Marietta Giannakou was bombed after warnings were called in to the media, an attack claimed by the nihilist Nuclei of Fire Conspiracy.
In a long, rambling note the group used the opportunity to demand that anarchists not go on educational protest marches and railed against liberalism, calling on children themselves to begin rebelling against their situation. Police have called on the six-person group to surrender, saying leniency will be shown due to their youth.
On the same night, the Spanish Consulate in Thessaloniki was hit with explosive gas devices attributed to a new and unknown group, following on from several other bombings of MPs’ offices the week before.
A number of other university occupations in solidarity with Pakistani migrants in Nice added to the confusion towards the end of the month, to highlight the case of 15 people who were beaten, arrested and tortured after a police raid on their homes. One, Mohammed Atif Kamran, subsequently died from his injuries.