Beaten Up, Fitted Up, Don’t Let Them Get Banged Up
Over a hundred people were arrested after a demonstration confronting the European Union summit, held in Thessaloniki in Greece back in 2003. Seven people were imprisoned and held on remand, including UK protester Simon Chapman. The prisoners began a hunger strike that lasted more than 50 days.
A massive worldwide solidarity campaign followed including demonstrations, direct action and occupations leading to all seven being released on bail (archive of solidarity actions). All the charges were eventually dropped.
Years later after appeals from the Prosecutor the charges were reinstated. The first case finally came before the Courts in January 2008 where Simon Chapman and three of the other defendants – Suleiman “Kastro” Dakdouk (Syrian origin), Fernando Perez Gorraiz (Spain) and Michaelis Triakapis (Greece) – were found guilty.
All of those accused maintain their innocence and video and photographic evidence clearly shows police planting a rucksack filled with petrol bombs next to Simon. This didn’t stop him receiving a prison sentence of more than eight years, with the other defendants all receiving over five years.
They will now face the Appeal Court again in January 2011, when they have the opportunity to appeal against their convictions. This means we have less than two months to build a campaign, raise vital funds and show true global solidarity to the defendants.
How You Can Help
Obviously regime change begins at home, so upping the ante and putting pressure on the UK bosses, politicians & state to give up and piss off will have a positive effect on the international struggle for justice, freedom and a post-capitalist world. It will also help all those comrades facing trials/prison in Greece, because the bosses and state there will know their time is up to. (info and updates on some other upcoming Greek trials/prisoners here).
However, specifically for the Thessaloniki 4 here’s a few practical bits you might consider:
1. Money is needed urgently to pay legal fees and other costs associated with the trial. Further information and options to make a donation to the expenses fund can be found on the website.
2. Get down to one of several big benefits coming up in London, on 20 & 27 November for starters. Details here.
3. Put on a local fundraiser. We’d be up for putting on an event with others in the Bristol area, get in touch if you can help. The London based solidarity group is also keen to get out and about to explain the case.
4. Bilingual Greek/English speakers who can help with translations are needed urgently. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Write/contact the Greek Embassy and demand this case be dropped. If you are in the UK the address is:
Greek Embassy, 1A Holland Park, London W11 3TP Telephone: 020 7313 5609
You can also contact them via their website.
6. A demonstration is planned at the Greek Embassy in London on the first day of the trial at 2pm, Friday 14th January 2010. Check the website or facebook pages for full details nearer the time as well as regular updates on the campaign.
7. Spread the word. Please link to the campaign’s website on your web sites, forums, blogs, facebook profiles etc, tell friends and family and help to spread the word. Join and share the facebook page or or join and share the facebook group.
Solidarity for the Thessaloniki 4!