Reel News reporting from Greece in March 2012

Round up 2: Reel New in Athens

Since the last update, we have visited the occupied TV channel Alter TV, the journalists of the newspaper Eleftherotypia, who have been on strike since December and the pickets at the steel factory Elliniki Halivourgia, with workers out on strike for four months now.

We have met actors from a radical theater company performing in squatted venues, an experimental post-punk act, and a dubstep artist.

Photo by Guy Smallman

We covered a demo and rally of hospital workers out on strike (slideshow and video rushes), and activists from Al.Any.A. (roughly translated the acronym means “little rascals” – the full name is Solidarity, Disobedience, Resistance), who blocked the toll collection on the motor way leaving Athens – eliciting huge smiles from drivers, blowing their horns in support of the action.

Today we spoke to young immigrants about the issues they face, and went down to the students parades that take place on the day before the Independence Day Parades, which is where we will go tomorrow.

Rushes from Greece — Greek health workers on strike & on the streets

Today staff from several Athens Hospitals walked out over cuts to services and their wages. A march was held through Athens while doctors protested outside the health ministry. Riot police protected the offices of the finance ministry near the start of the march. The building has been occupied by angry workers on several previous occasions. The dispute has been running for over a month with regular action by staff ranging from senior doctors to hospital cleaners.

See photo slideshow.

Greek health workers on strike & on the streets

Today staff from several Athens Hospitals walked out over cuts to services and their wages. A march was held through Athens while doctors protested outside the health ministry. Riot police protected the offices of the finance ministry near the start of the march. The building has been occupied by angry workers on several previous occasions. The dispute has been running for over a month with regular action by staff ranging from senior doctors to hospital cleaners.

Photos by Guy Smallman

The occupied TV channel

ALTER TV was until recently a respected channel specialising in news and current affairs. Staff have not been paid for a year and went into occupation from last November to prevent millionaire owner Andreas Kouris from asset stripping the redundant offices and studios. They survive off food donated by local people and businesses and also a small amount of money from their trade union. They briefly illegally broadcasted workers news and views until the Greek government shut down their transmitter. Full story coming soon from REEL NEWS.

Photos by Guy Smallman

Rushes from Greece — ALANYA Action at Tax Office

Don’t Pay Alanya protest against additional housing taxes, imposed after people have already paid the regular housing tax. Again, non payment results with the imposition of electricity cuts. The Don’t Pay movement ALANYA protested outside and then invaded the tax offices, haranguing nervous looking bosses and speaking to sympathetic clerks.

 

Correction 27/03/12: The action was carried out by ALANYA, which stands for Solidarity, Disobedience, Resistance, a group that has come out of the Don’t Pay movement.

Athens Seamens strike

On Monday (19-3-12) Athens Seafarers union walked out over further cuts to their pensions. The strike was 100% solid with morning picket lines well supported. During the action a car deliberately drove off the waterfront into the sea killing the driver. It later turned out to be a suicide. Local radio reported that a small business owner killed himself to avoid his debts being thrust upon his family. His car was later winched out of the harbour by the port authorities.

Photos by Guy Smallman

Round up: What we’ve been up to

It seems like we’ve been in Athens for more than 4 days now. We’ve been so busy, that we don’t get to update the website half as much as we want to. So here’s a short round up of what we’ve been up to. We’ll try and publish photos and rushes as soon as we get around to it.

On Saturday we covered a protest against Golden Dawn, a Greek neo nazi organisation who routinely attack immigrants. On Sunday we went out to cover the delivery of potatoes, directly ordered from the farmers bypassing the profiteering middle men. For the first time a local council not only organised the distribution of potatoes, but also honey and olive oil.

Yesterday morning we went to the docks in Piraeus where seamen were on strike. Minutes before we arrived, a car had driven off the dock straight into the sea, which dampened the spirits of the pickets. According to Greek radio reports, a small business owner had gotten into debt and committed suicide.  Later that day we met up with a British trade union delegation organised by the Coalition of Resistance, and met with Manolis Glezos and Mikis Theodorakis as well as Hraklis Gotsis, the mayor of Nea Ionia, and others who have been fighting new taxes imposed as part of the austerity measures and the electricity cuts that are imposed on anyone who won’t, or can’t pay the new taxes. We also met with journalists from the occupied newspaper Eleftherotypia and activists from the Don’t Pay movement.

This morning we covered an ALANYA action of the Don’t Pay movement in protest to additional housing taxes, imposed after people have already paid the regular housing tax. Again, non payment results with the imposition of electricity cuts. The Don’t Pay movement ALANYA protested outside and then invaded the tax offices, haranguing nervous looking bosses and speaking to sympathetic clerks.

 

Correction 27/03/12: The action was carried out by ALANYA, a group that has come out of the Don’t Pay movement, not by the Don’t Pay movement.

Rushes from Greece – Potato Movement

While farmers don’t get a whole lot for their potatoes, in the shops they are rather expensive. In response, sales have plummeted. When farmers couldn’t sell their produce, and decided to give it away rather than have it go to waste, it was the start of the potato movement: Farmers and consumers are in direct contact on the internet and bypass traditional allocation structures, increasing the profit for farmers and lowering the prices for consumers. Reel News went to film the delivery of not only potatoes, but for the first time also olive oil and honey.