Giannis Michailidis is an anarchist prisoner in Greece who has been on hunger strike since 23rd May. At the time of writing, he is on his 68th day without food and is in a serious condition in a hospital cell in Lamia in central Greece.
Michaildis was sentenced to 20 years in prison for bank robbery, of which he has served 8.5 years. Normally prisoners are eligible for release after serving 3/5 of their sentence, but Giannis has been refused parole on the grounds that he might commit further offences.
In Greece, comrades know full well the significance of a prisoner embarking on a hunger strike. And they know the meaning of solidarity, amplifying his fight by taking it onto the streets and pushing it into the general consciousness.
Since the start of his strike, thousands have marched through the streets, dropped banners, attacked government buildings, protested outside the court, occupied offices, and even forced the media to allow them to transmit a statement on TV. Other anarchist prisoners in Greece have gone on hunger strike in solidarity, while abroad, actions have happened at Greek embassies and consulates (including in London) and more. Comrades in Greece have called for solidarity actions around the world against targets of the Greek state and capital.
The neoliberal New Democracy government under prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has, from day one in office, waged a crusade against anarchists and other freedom fighters. It pushed the long-term revolutionary prisoner and hunger striker Dimitris Koufontinas to near death last year when it refused to meet his demand for transfer to a prison closer to his family and legal team and for an end to his tortuous conditions. He did not eat for 65 days.
The scion of a conservative political dynasty that has long waged war on anarchists, migrants, rebellious students, squatters, and other ‘undesirables’, Mitsotakis and his friends and family in power are pursuing a personal vendetta against anarchist and revolutionary prisoners.
The time is now
Time is quickly running out. The Greek state is murdering a young anarchist through sheer vindictiveness. They dragged out the latest decision on his release so his condition would deteriorate further at a critical stage. Meanwhile, the hollowness of its words are all too obvious when we compare the approach taken to recent high-profile cases.
Perhaps the starkest is the notorious case of the Epstein-like figure Dimitris Lignadis. A former director of the National Theatre and a mate of Prime Minister Mitsotakis, Lignadis was recently convicted of raping two children in 2015. He is now walking free after less than a year and a half in prison – having been originally sentenced to 12 years due to the widespread media coverage and public outrage. One rule for them….
Michailidis’ struggle is not just for his own freedom but for the total liberation of all. The time to be there for him is now.
Immediate freedom for Giannis Michailidis!
Until the destruction of the last cage!
Some writings by Michailidis:
UPDATE 5.50pm: Giannis Michailidis has announced that he is suspending (but not terminating) his hunger strike.