"Neither soil, nor water to the murderers of the people" and "with the workers of all countries, for a world without exploitation, wars and refugees" were the major slogan of the massive anti-imperialist demonstration organised by the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) in Thessaloniki. Thousands of protesters of all ages, from all over Greece but also from abroad, joined their voices against imperialism, its wars and interventions.
The demonstration began at Aristotelous Square, with a greeting message by Zeljko Veselinovic, president of the Serbian Trade Union SLOGA, on behalf of all the attending foreign Trade Unions. Veselinovic recalled the solidarity that PAME and Greece's working class had offered to the people of Yugoslavia during the 1999 NATO bombings: "We, the workers, are brothers regardless race, religion or skin colour and that will be forever. Nobody is going to subdue us. We are stronger and they will never beat us", he said among other things.
Greeting messages were also delivered by the General Secretary of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) Giorgos Mavrikos and Nikos Papanastasis, Lieutenant-Colonel (retired). General Secretary Mavrikos pointed out that the WFTU, which represents 92 million members in 126 countries, takes action in every corner of the world towards the support of workers' rights. Within the framework, Mavrikos refered to a series of initiatives that the WFTU will take in the near future, as well as to the task of strengthening the class-based perception in international trade-union movement.
From his side, Lieutenant-Colonel Papanastasis, member of the "Movement for National Defense", underlined among other things: "We, the military officers, have passed the largest part of our life in the camps and have a first-hand knowledge of what 'NATO' means. We know the dimension of the dramatic consequences for the people, resulted by our country's participation on that. We know what blood-stained operational plans it has. Everyone knows the slaughtering of the people of Yugoslavia, as well as of other people" [...] "Wherever they go", Papanastasis said, "NATO, the EU and the imperialists seed wars and misfortunes for the people".
The major speech, on behalf of PAME's Executive Committee, was delivered by its member Giorgos Perros. Among other things, cde Perros pointed out: "Today's correspondence to the initiative of the hundreds of Trade Unions, Labour Centers, Workers Federations which rallied in PAME against imperialist war, interventions and incidents which are developing in our neighbourhood and throughout the world, is the road of hope, of perspective, of peaceful co-existence of the people. Our enemies are not the neighboring people, but NATO and the bases".
A huge "river" of protesters marched through Thessaloniki's seafront avenue and gathered outside the NATO "Rapid Deployable Corps" headquarters. In front of riot police forces, which had blocked the main entrance, thousands of demonstrators shouted anti-imperialist slogans and denounced the murderous policy of the USA, EU and NATO. "Murderers, thiefs and hypocrites are the European imperialists" and "Crisis, wars, uprooting, this is Capitalism" were some of the slogans shouted by the protesters.
The Two-Day Anti-imperialist activities of PAME in Thessaloniki ends tomorrow, Sunday 25/6, with an international meeting of Trade Unions. Yesterday, the representatives of foreign Trade Unions- among others from Syria, Turkey, Italy, Palestine, Egypt, Serbia- had the opportunity to visit and learn the historical background of two significant places of the city; the Yedi Kule prison where numerous communists were incarcerated as political prisoners during the 20th century and the memorial of the victims of the 1944 Chortiatis massacre, one of the most heinous atrocities committed by the Nazis in Greece during WWII occupation.
Nikos Mottas, with info from 902.gr.