June 20th Salonika details
amelia, 21.06.2003 12:03

March on the red zone of June 20th

13.30pm: First report from Radio Gap

Thousands of protestors have descended on the quiet town of Marmora Chalkasis today to protest against the EU summit that is being held here.

There are two main marches running parallel today, one is headed by the Action Salonika 2003 while the other comprises the remains of the Greek social forum and a wide mixture of black bloc, pink and silver and many others. At this point there are soldiers in boats along the coastline but not much of a police presence, people are congregating quite far away from the red zone, about 2 km.

*The day started around 10.00 with a demonstration by the trade unions and the Greek Social forum. Most of the participants from these groups departed however at the end of the march and the presence on the ground at this moment consists mainly of a bloc of dissobedients, about 300, and behind them a larger bloc of about 1000 anarchists. The atmosphere is fairly tense, there is a feeling that the people still here are bent on reaching the red zone and have come prepared. The police presence closer to the summit is heavy. The only road leading to the hotel passes over a bridge that is blocked by lines of mounted and ground police, and the coastline is swarming with military boats.

In a separate street there is a second march being led by Action Salonika 2003. Things are quieter here, though again the police and military presence is very heavy.

~14.00pm: There has been a first attempt by the Greek disobedients to break through the police lines but this is being repelled by the police who have started shooting tear gas. The disobedient bloc has scattered while the anarchists have moved forward. The air is thick with tear gas. Some of the gases being fired appear to be flammable and the demonstrators are putting out fires.

On the other side of the hill, things are developing in the area around the parked buses. Crowds of people waiting to get on buses to go back to Thessaloniki have come under attack by the police who are shooting tear gas at them and making baton charges. It seems that they are trying to clear the area, which surely would have been easier by just letting people get on the buses and leave.

Reports are coming in of a new kind of tear gas being used by the Greek police. Instead of the highly volatile type that creates huge clouds in the air, this new concoction appears similar to mustard gas. It deposits on the ground and then slowly evaporates so that the effects can be felt long after the initial firing of the canisters.

15.30pm: Situation is calmer. Protestors have been backed onto the beach, away from the red zone and the police appear happy just to hold them there. Some barricades are coming up but most people seem to be returning uphill towards the buses.

thessaloniki reports | www.agp.org