In a statement regarding Greece's right-wing government's shameful bill which aims to ban demonstrations and popular protests, the Political Bureau of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) points out:
"The KKE calls for a mass popular uprising for the withdrawal of the ND government bill, which is trying to paralyze the right to labor-people's demonstrations, for which rivers of blood were shed.
The government's claim that the bill "puts things in order" concerning the people's inconvenience due to demonstrations by "small groups", is nothing but a despicable smokescreen. In fact, with these regulations, every popular protest is being targeted. Any transportation problems, delays, and deficiencies in the means of transport, or the lack of customers in the small shops are not the outcome of the rallies but the anti-popular policy itself, which increases the people's problems and forces them to take to the streets to demand their rights.
The bill is an additional important link in the chain of measures to intensify state terrorism, authoritarianism, and repression, promoted by all previous governments and even further by the current government, to support the attack of the capital against workers' - people's needs.
This legislative monstrosity clearly targets any radical and progressive ideology and practice, as it provides the creation of a "Directorate for Violence Prevention" of the Ministry of Civil Protection, aiming at addressing the "ideology of violence", “the prevention of various forms and manifestations of violence, in particular radicalization and violent extremism, domestic and gender-based violence, etc”. In other words, radicalism and the policy of opposition to the dictatorship of capital are wittingly equated with existing forms of violence (such as domestic violence, school bullying, etc).
However, this is not an originality of the ND government. Just six months ago, "people's protests" were explicitly listed as a security risk in a EU report. The criminalization of radical, and consequently of communist, ideology and practice, is an official policy of the EU. In the name of the so-called fight against "terrorism", the EU over the years has steadily expanded its content with every radical, subversive ideology and practice, considering "radicalization" and "extremism" to be the main sources of "terrorism". Moreover, the simultaneous attempt to equate nazism with communism in the name of "totalitarianism", proves that the target is the communist ideology and action that aims at overthrowing this rotten and barbaric system.
The bill seeks to slander the people's struggles, to ban and restrict any mobilization through vague provisions, which will be interpreted by the police and other repressive mechanisms. It aims to manipulate the conscience of the people, and especially of the youth, by presenting any participation in the mobilizations as something potentially "criminal" and "dangerous".
It introduces provocative reactionary restrictions, surpassing even those set by the bourgeois Constitution itself! The bill defines places (such as public services, ministries, etc.), where from the outset manifestations are prohibited to take place, while they may be prohibited also in other cases, such as when taking place without prior notification to the authorities or in case the protesters do not comply with the restrictions.
It provides not only the ban and restriction of demonstrations but also rallies in general. In fact, it recognizes the possibility of spontaneous public gatherings only for events of "social importance", a condition that can be interpreted arbitrarily and as they please.
It grants excessive powers to the police and expands the repressive role of the Hellenic Coast Guard, since its use against labor-popular mobilizations is legitimized.
It considers the participation in a prohibited gathering - demonstration to be a crime per se!
It introduces prohibitions based on the "purpose" of the rally while taking into account the number of participants. Respectively, it imposes precautionary restrictions in violation of even the most basic principles of the penal code, since it states that a police authority can take measures in the case of criminal offenses "whose commission is highly probable".
It provides that the ban can be decided even in the last minute, since there is no specific timeline for the announcement of the protest by the organizer, nor specific timeline for the police to decide whether a rally is banned or not. On the other hand, due to the obligatory notification to the authorities, the identity of the organizer as well as a specific plan of the starting point, the ending point and the route of the rally are required.
It paves the way for provocative actions of persons that can cause incidents at a rally, aiming at either dissolving it or financially destroying the mass organizations, unions, etc. which organize it and, based on the bill, bear objective responsibility for the actions of such provocateurs, at the same time that it is an open secret that they are directly guided by state and parastatal mechanisms.
The ongoing government propaganda, supposedly claiming that the reactionary bill and its provisions "do not concern the organized, guarded rallies and demonstrations" of the class movement, pulls the wool over the working class and all progressive people. The decades-long experience of the workers' - people's movement proves that the main goal of such authoritarian repressive measures is the workers' class movement itself, the communist movement, no matter the escalation until their final implementation.
It is this movement, however, that will definitively and irrevocably overthrow such reactionary practices and anti-popular laws.
SYRIZA, which accuses the ND government of anti-democratic practice, has a large share of responsibility, as when in government it followed similar practices. The despicable provision for banning mobilizations against auctions, which was set up by the SYRIZA government as a crime per se, still remains in force. Above all, however, SYRIZA is responsible for adding "grist to the mill" of theories about "minorities who make the majority suffer", on which it based its own law on restricting the right to strike that is currently being used by the ND government, while denying any abolition of the terrorist laws, as repeatedly suggested by the KKE, that consist the legislative root of the regulations on "radical" violence.
The bill, which is submitted at the request of the capital, is a government confession for the escalation of the anti-popular policy and acts as a precaution against the labor - people's movement. However, the government is deeply mistaken and unhistorical if it thinks that this monstrosity will be implemented and legitimized in the consciousness of the people and the youth.
The people, through their struggle and their "organized disobedience", will not "comply with the instructions". They will repeal this bill in practice, as they have done with many other similar laws in the past."
In a similar tone, the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) strongly denounces the governmental bill:
What the Government and employers did not achieve during the quarantine, to silence the mouths of the workers in healthcareand supermarket, the teachers, the hotel employees, all the workers and our people as a whole, they want to do so now with a junta-inspired law that imposes new measures of restriction, repression and banning of our basic democratic rights. Rights, which our people have won through many, long and bloody struggles.
The Greek government with its well-fed media announced its plan to ban demonstrations and rallies.
This “bill”, a copy of the dictatorship law of 1971 (!!!), which defines the police as the highest authority as it assigns it an expanded and executive role. In addition to its role in enforcing the law, it undertakes duties of “interpretation of the law.” It will be able to determine the restrictions to be imposed on a demonstration, to invent its own, to decide in advance whether a public gathering will be allowed, if it is spontaneous, what restrictions will be imposed. They bring the policeinside the unions, inside the demonstrations and protests.
The “new” bill states:
“The organizer of the demonstration must inform the local police or port authority of his intention to invite the general public to an open-air public gathering. The notification shall include the identity and contact details of the organizer (natural person), the exact place, time of start, end, purpose and route of the demonstration. ” (Article 3)
The rally’s organizer “cooperates directly with the police authority and in particular with the Police Ombudsman (link between protesters and the state) and complies with his instructions, providing assistance in maintaining order.” (Article 4)
If the mobilization (march, rally, demonstration) is not announced, “the police authority may proceed with the dissolution of the above meeting …” (Articles 3 and 9). In addition, “imminent public gathering may be prohibited (even if it has been notified), if a serious threat to public safety is threatened or a serious disturbance of socio-economic life is threatened.” (Article 8)
Participation in a demonstration is reduced to statutory , since:
“Those who participate in a public outdoor gathering, which has been banned, shall be punished by imprisonment of one (1) to two (2) years.” (Article 14)
“The organizer of a public gathering is responsible for compensating those who have suffered damage to their lives and property;” (Article 14)
Prohibition also includes the number of protesters and the ability of police to change routes or gathering places. (Article 7, paragraph 4)
“The Minister of Public Order is authorized to regulate the dissolution of rallies,” they say, with concise procedures. (Article 15)
These measures we will make them empty words. They will remain on paper! They will not impose graveyard silence into the trade union movement.
Prohibition of protests, especially in the current period, is not an isolated act. Beyond the steady and timeless “desire” of governments and business groups, today it is coming to terms with the attack on labor rights being promoted at all levels on the occasion of the pandemic. Their regularity requires a graveyard silence and submission. The intention to intervene in the demonstrations completes the overall repression planning that wants the working people on the sidelines, speechless and their struggles frozen.
The workers will cancel any attempt to silence them, turn the workplaces into ghettos. The workers will cancel any law that makes resistance a criminal offense.
PAME calls all unions to condemn this reactionary development. To inform the people, to respond militantly.
The Right To Strike And To Protest Is Non-Negotiable!
The Struggles Will Not Be Stopped!