The case of the 27 activists of Parnitha (Athens, 2007)
Ok, This isn’t exactly news. It is a report on the case of the 27 activists prosecuted for an eco-action in Parnitha mountain, near Athens, back at 2007. They are all free without charges, though I thought since this contact wasn’t active at the time, there should be a report on that even now, for archive use.
Sunday, July 29 2007, one month after the destructive sprawl arson at Parnitha mountain, Athens, 27 activists got arrested near the mountain, accused for a symbolic attack with paintbombs against the “Mont Parnes” casino, earlier that day.
The casino is built within the natural forest of Parnitha, and remained untouched during the arsons that destroyed a large part of Greece’s forests and wildlife and costed more than 67 people their lives, since the local firemen were sent to protect the casino’s infrastructure and not the forest. The casino is even planning its expansion inside the damaged forest area, a part of wich (around 20.000 acres) was donated to the casino by the Greek government, right after the arsons, so as to “protect” it. The casino belongs by 51% to a Greek state’s agency, and by 49% to private companies, mainly “Regency Entertainment-BC Partners”.
Two days before that, an “Open Assembly from Strefis hill” organised a march in the forest and blockaded the casino’s teleferik, facing intense police pressure.
On the 29th, the police mobilised riot-policemen, police cars, helicopters and special police squads. This operation resulted in the arrest of 27 activists, who were beaten while hand-cuffed. Inside GADA (Athens police headquarters), they were tortured and deprived of any phone calls, even to their lawyers. After their strong dissent inside GADA, and the gathering of supporters outside the building, those injured heavily were sent to a hospital, and the police announced the accusations against the 27.
On Monday 30, the 27 activists appeared before a district attorney. The riot police, outside the jury, attacked supporters gathered but was repelled succesfully.
The activists, in a communique they circulated on August 5, signed “The deers of Parnitha” state they decided to act against the casino “recognising the fact that its presence is irrelative and totally competitive to the natural forest, and that it is needed to kick it out and prevent its expansion. That’s why this paint attack was a symbolic, fair and posetive action aiming to contribute in the awakeningof an equal social justice”. They also mention that “The day we climbed up the mountain was when a provocative declaration of a goofy celebrity of the ruling class named Aris Spiliotopoulos, parliament member of New Democracy, accusing the anarchists for the forest arsons” and that “as friends of the forest and the mountain of Parnitha we couldn’t limitate to the protests that took part in the city, we went up to the place of the crime, where the forest was burnt and the monstrous casino raised among thousands of burnt trees. Thus, the morning of Sunday, June 29 we realised an intervention outside Regency Casino at Parnitha, lifting a banner writing “Kick the casino out of Parnitha” and chanting slogans as “Our rage won’t be put out – kick the casino out”, “Either a casino or a forest, take your roulettes and go home”, while the security guards run away inside the casino from where they kept watching us, once they realised they ‘re not in danger. During the intervention, red paint (symbolizing the blood of innumerable animals lost during the last fire) was thrown at the entrance and the front walls of the casino, and slogans were spray painted on them, against the presence of the casino in the forest. Then, after our intervention and the symbolic attack against this church of gambling, and after we passed through the burnt zones, we continued our route through passages inside the forest zones and the streams of our beloved mountain, while above us two police helicopters were looking for us, and police units with buses, jeaps and motorbikes, riot policemen, crime units, special police forces, frontier patrols and undercover policemen where hunting us. We are also aware of the fact that the chief leaders of the Greek police went up the mountain and settled outside a refuge at “Bafi” where they headed the whole operation asking desperately for the arrest of all those that “dared to hit the casino”.
According to witnesses, local municipality officers but also a few residents helped the police spot them.
On Monday, January 7, around 30 persons occupied a radio station in Athens and transmitted messages of solidarity to the 27 arrestees. Meanwhile, many groups around Greece circulated posters and communiques in solidarity to the 27 activists.
On January 10, the 27 activists faced a jury in Athens, where more than a hundred supporters attended. All 27 were found not guilty for the accusations concerning throwing paint at the casino, while two of them were found guilty for “dissobedience” and set on parole because they denied to give their identity while they were under arrest. After the trial, while they were leaving the jury, the cops tried to stop the two claiming they had to pay around 70 euros for extra jury expenses, though supporters from the audience intervened so they managed to leave without paying anything.
The 27 are set free, without charges.
Also check out some photos of the marches at Parnitha:
at athens IMC
Of the paint attack against the casino:
Of a march, at the site of the Open Assembly at Strefis hill:
Earth Liberation Prisoners Support! – Greece