Greece: KKE, SYRIZA and MERA25 form joint front against the Gov’t decision to ban the marches for November 17

Greece: KKE, SYRIZA and MERA25 form joint front against the Gov’t decision to ban the marches for November 17

Representatives of trade unions and mass organizations, lawyers, journalists, MPs, local government elected officials and others, condemn the unconstitutional ban on rallies on the occasion of the celebrations for November 17, the uprising against the Colonel Junta.

The text drafted by KKE is signed by the KKE MPs, while after a telephone communication between Dimitris Koutsoumbas and Alexis Tsipras and Giannis Varoufakis, the text was also signed by the SYRIZA and MERA25 MPs.

The President of the Movement for Change, Fofi Gennimata, in communication with the General Secretary of the KKE, refused to co-sign the text.

The text states:

“We condemn the authoritarian decision of the government to ban the celebration of the 17th of November. The decision of the Chief of the Hellenic Police, which prohibits public gatherings of more than three people across the country and for four days, under the threat of strict fines, is reminiscent of other times. This is a deeply undemocratic and unconstitutional decision, as the Union of Judges and Prosecutors points out, as it violates the core of the constitutional right to assembly (Article 11), imposing a total unauthorized suspension of freedom of assembly and not just a specified local restriction. However, such a general ban is imposed only in circumstances of a state of siege (Article 48 of the Constitution), and under strictly limited conditions. It can in no case be justified on grounds of public health protection. After all, the leaders of the labor and popular movement have proved in practice that they are mobilizing by taking all the necessary protection measures. It is not even supported by the reactionary law on demonstrations, which explicitly excludes May Day and November 17th rallies from being announced, banned or restricted. Democratic rights and popular freedoms are a conquest of the labor and populist movement. The government has a huge responsibility for this development. Even now it must withdraw the unacceptable decision”, the statement concludes.

The decision of the Chief of the Hellenic Police, which provoked reactions by political parties and organizations, states that “Due to the urgent needs to address a serious public health risk and in the context of emergency measures to address the spread of COVID-19, by Decision of the Chief of the Hellenic Police, all public outdoor gatherings are prohibited throughout the country, in which 4 or more people participate, from 06:00 on November 15 until 21:00 on November 18, 2020.

For the offenders, subject to the application of other sanctions arising from the current legislation, the following sanctions are provided:

An administrative fine of 5,000 euros for legal entities and 3,000 euros for individuals who organize public outdoor gatherings and an administrative fine of 300 euros for persons who violate the ban by participating in public outdoor gatherings”.

In his message for the anniversary of the commemoration of the Polytechnic Uprising, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in an ultimate effort to ease tensions following the inter-party controversy, called on all parties to restrain themselves. In addition, he invited the political leaders to a joint initiative of commemoration at the Polytechnic, led by the President of the Republic on a simple visit and with a laying of wreath, adding “with a lot of responsibility for the good of the Greeks and the country”.

On November 17, Greece celebrates the Polytechnic Uprising, a massive and dynamic manifestation of the popular opposition to the regime of the Colonel Junta that took place in the Greek territory in November 1973./ibna