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Thursday, 20 October 2011

First day of the nationwide general strike in Greece 19 October 2011

Prepared by @galaxyarchis, translated by @inflammatory_

Μore than half a million of people, could make a modest estimation of the crowd size that marched across the country, on the first day of the 48h nationwide strike. The numbers reported from various sources vary significantly from 70,000 to over 300,000. Evidence from other major cities of Greece: 50,000 in Thessaloniki, 20,000 in Heraklio, 10,000 in Patra and 5,000 in Ioannina. 

Everyone comes down to the conclusion, that it has been one of the biggest demonstrations in decades. Its massiveness has been evident since early in the morning, where 3,000 people joined PAME (the labor union affiliated with the Communist Party of Greece) to surround the parliament.  

General Confederation of Greek Workers, one of the two major trade union bodies in Greece, estimates that refineries, shipyards, ports and transport utilities were 100% suspended. 90% of bank employees along with public sector, steel and construction workers joined the general strike. National Confederation of Greek Trade representative claimed that 90% of small retail outlets were shut across the country. 

More and more demonstrators kept heading down to Syntagma square, until early afternoon, protesting peacefully. Tensions aroused outside King George hotel, when a bunch of people drawn to far-right, attempted to pass through the crowd and were halted by PAME supporters. Around 15:00 pm protesters managed to break down the metal fence in Vasilisis Sofias avenue, which was used by police forces as a defensive ring around the parliament building. Clashes spread out in the area and small injuries occurred. One hour later, riot squad tactics were aimed to repel hundreds of remaining demonstrators opposite down to the ministry of Finance. By 20:00 people have already moved away from Syntagma square and police forces keep hurling stun-grenades and teargas over random protesters in the streets of central Athens.  

According to National Emergency Care Services (EKAB,) 20 people were transferred to hospitals while dozens of others who refused to visit one, received first aid for minor injuries and respiratory dysfunction-on the spot- from Syntagma assembly's  medical volunteers. According to official police reports,  there have been 32 arrests, 25 policemen suffering injuries and one security guard serving for the President of the Republic was attacked and disarmed by a group of demonstrators. 

Further mobilizations will take place tomorrow Thursday, when the final vote on further reforms imposed by troika in return for the 6th installment of aid, is due. People are planning to surround the Greek parliament and intercept the voting.

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