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Independence Day

In Greece, March to Athens on 25 March 2012 at 20:01
March to Athens
Day 138-LXIV, Πρέβεζα.
Day 139-LXV, from Πρέβεζα to Βόνιτσα, 17 km.
Vonitsa, March 25

Dear people,

Even though Preveza seems to be a fairly prosperous town, the inhabitants did everything to make us feel at home. In the square there were locals present around the clock to exchange ideas and bring us sweet Greek wine.

On Friday evening we were invited by the Popular Assembly of Preveza – one of the first popular assemblies in Greece to sprout up after the 15th of May last year – to watch a documentary by Naomi Klein on shock therapy and disaster capitalism. After the film there was a little concert with classic rock ballads and Greek music. At the end of it, the two Neapolitans among us didn’t hesitate to take the microphones. They played the partisan song Bella Ciao and a few evergreens of the great Italian poet Fabrizio De André to the enjoyment of the locals.

We were also invited to stay another day in Preveza and take part in a demonstration for independence day.

We only have five days of margin to spend, but this was the first opportunity to do something together with a local movement, and so we accepted.

Today was independence day. We were up early, we folded our tents, and we prepared banners and slogans. The official parade would pass right along the square of our camp.

Cleaning the square

"The future is not what it used to be"

During the morning a small crowd of local protesters assembled. The entire police force was out for the occasion, even though their numbers didn’t ammount to much, and neither were they provocatively armed or dressed.

When the parade began, police gently forced us aside. We would have wanted to resist more, but the local protesters urged us to be patient.

"Revolution"

The parade itself was a disgusting display of child exploitation for nationalist purposes. The entire school youth of the town was dressed up in uniforms and marched by like army batallions, waving flags. From the podium they were applauded by political, military and religious authorities.

Together with the Greek protesters, we made sure that our voices were heard. “Solidarity is the weapon of the people. War against the war of the bosses”, the Greeks chanted. And in the midst of them, our presence gave a touch of colour to the protest.

Comrade Bobò infiltrated between the bigwigs

Near the end we made a move, we hooked up behind the last of the school kids’ batallions to be able to close the parade. Police were determined to block us. We tried to force our way through, but they delayed us long enough for the authorities to quickly leave the podium before we passed by with our peace flags and our slogans calling for revolution.

Closing the parade

Comrade Milton making friends with the police

That was it. In the midst of a ridiculous nationalist piece of theater we made our point. Afterwards we peacefully mixed with the crowds and the schoolkids on the boulevard.

They saw us off, a few hours later, when we crossed the sea in small launches, to continue our march on the southern shore of the inland sea. Initially we planned to take the tunnel, but a local Englishman was happy to play the role of Charon, and bring our march over the waves to the other side.

Bringing the shopping cart to the other shore

Stuff on lorry

It was a long long day. After the demonstration we marched a full length leg, be it without gear because one of the Greek comrades we met in Riza helped us out by taking all our stuff on his lorry, through the tunnel, right to today’s destination, Vonitsa.

Vonitsa is a breathtaking little place on the coast of the inland sea. There are Greek flags everywhere along the boulevard and around the national monument when we enter the town.

We take the little square, and we look forward to relax a bit when a police car arrives. None of us is in the mood to talk to them, especially because they are not nice. The two officers give us five minutes to leave or we will be arrested.

Five minutes later we were still there, and police had silently retreated.

Marching on...

On the square in Vonitsa

My tent in Vonitsa

  1. Regarding the students’ march in Preveza. I watched one of your friends video ( http://occutrip.com/videos/). What nobody told you and I though you should all know, is that the children are supposed to turn their heads right , to look at the officials as a sign of respect, which NOBODY DID! In fact there was a very high attendance on the marches,all around Greece, just so that they could do this. In Athens, no people were allowed, it was full of police and even snipers, they even stripped the orange trees, so that the people wouldn’t use them to through them at the officials!!! The roads were closed for 10 blocks around, people were arrested if walking around the center, all metro stations around the Parliament square were closed. It was a march of shame.BUT in the countryside, people got their revenge: half the marches were canceled by the people, in other cities no officials dared to appear and where it did happen, schools just passed by the officials ignoring them! hehehe!
    It all started on the previous national day (28th of October- the famous NO to the Italian claim for surrender, the first resistance to the Nazi machine, in the world!). On the day of the march , people ousted the officials, in order to allow the march to begin, there were a lot of episodes and rallies and demos. So this time they were set on having their little fiesta uninterrupted. They did and they managed to remind the people of the dictatorship.
    Not a nice outcome for them!
    I’m sure when you get to Athens you will hear a lot about all that!

    Cheers, Danai

    P.S. I, too, believe that marches are horrible, nationalistic habits… Never the less, the 28th of October brought more people together than any demo or square occupation ever did..

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