Members of a mass nationalist rally in Thessaloniki attacked and burned a squatted social centre Libertatia in the city today, though fortunately no injuries have been reported. The building was however completely destroyed in the fire, despite of residents from a neighbouring block of flats and the fire brigade trying to extinguish it.
The two-storey building was squatted in 2008, originally as an immigrant social centre. Later it evolved to a general social centre used by a number or groups. Towards the end of its existence it was used mainly as a housing squat.
“It is a historical building: one of the few that survived the nazis but unfortunately was destroyed by their grandchildren” commented one Greek anarchist, who prefers not to be named.
Initially antifa campaigners had thought they were getting the best of the day, as all fascist propaganda had been removed from walls in the city ahead of the protest, however the “Macedonia for Macedonia” gathering eventually swelled to, by police counts, around 100,000 people including a large number of fascist thugs.
Starting under a statue of Alexander the Great, a violent wing of the rally first headed towards social centre The School, but were repelled by anarchist fighters defending the space. They then moved on to the Libertatia, which was relatively undefended, and set fire to it. The listed building has been totally destroyed.
The success of the rally is extremely concerning for anti-fascists in the country, as it was considered an opportunity for a public re-emergence of various fascist groups which have struggled following a decline in the fortunes of Golden Dawn.
A statement on Athens Indymedia today said: “There is a need for an immediate, militant mobilisation tomorrow, if not today. This can not be left unchallenged.”
“Macedonia for Macedonia” is part of a long-running campaign from hard-right elements in Greece demanding that the former Yugoslavic Republic of Macedonia change its name. Macedonia is also the name of a Greek region, of which Thessaloniki is the capital. The dispute over the country’s name had reached Greek mainstream politics too, with Greek government stating that it would block Macedonian application for EU and NATO membership if it sought to be admitted as the “Republic of Macedonia”.
Video: Thestival Gr