Sunday, February 23, 2020

Greek government's authoritarian attempt to criminalize demonstrations shall not pass

A new draft law, prepared by the conservative New Democracy (ND) government in Greece, threatens to restrict even further workers’ freedoms and rights. 

More specifically, according to information leaked through the pro-governmental newspaper “Kathimerini”, the draft law will include restrictions, prosecutions and even the prohibition of mobilizations, thus creating an environment of state and police repression against the organized workers’ movement. 

The imposition of restrictions on demonstrations and mobilizations has been a long-time solid demand of the big capital, in an effort to criminalize- and subsequently- eliminate strikes and militant protests. According to reports, the draft law is deliberately unclear in some of its provisions, so that they can be used in discretionary manner by the state authorities. 

For example, the police could ban a demonstration if “socio-economic life is threatened in a given area”, or if there is a “serious threat for public safety”. The authorities will be able to prosecute those who “participate in a public gathering that has been prohibited”, thus transforming the participation in a protest into an “legal offense”, punished with imprisonment up to one year. 

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has strongly denounced the intention of the government to impose such an authoritarian legislation. In a statement on Monday 17 February, the KKE calls the draft law a “monstrosity” which “can be characterized as a draft law of repression, arbitrariness, criminalization and provocation that violates even the provisions of the current Constitution”. 

The KKE warns the government “not to attempt to bring this monstrosity in the Parliament which must be condemned by the people and the youth as a whole”.

The draft law on the restriction and prohibition of demonstrations is part of the so-called "law and order" doctrine of the ND government. Within this doctrine's framework, the Greek government has proceeded in the previous months to the abolition of the academic sanctuary, which had been an achievement of the people's movement since the fall of the military Junta in 1974.