Keratea is a town of 16.000 residents, situated in eastern Attica, 40km from Athens, near Lavrion. The site has an ancient history that has left many remains, an amphitheater, parts of the ancient fortification… As many villages in Attica, it has also a strong arbanitic tradition, that highlights values such as extended family solidarity and social cohesion, against a usually alienated authority, as well as a sense of pride and putting head to a cause. Most residents are small farmers (wine, olives etc), workers and/or unemployed, retired. During the last decade, after the construction of the international airpot at Spata (2001), and also Lavrion and Rafina ports development to unburdain Piraeus’ heavy traffic, eastern Attica suffered a sort of gentrification with Athens recreational, turistic and construction firms moving eastern (this mouvement can be tracked by almost annual forest fires, taking care of what’s left of Attica’s “unexploited” space). Ofcourse, infrastructure and any kind of social services (even proper sewage systems) remain significantly unadequate. The suggested creation of a huge open dump would be the top of the iceberg -or the mountain of garbage- to the complete subjugation of the territory and the people to private profit, as a dangerous and typically illegal “solution” to the garbage disposal problem of all Attica is proclaimed against the will of those that will have to suffer it, and once they make clear their disagreement, they are violently repressed. No time for the old days’ “negotiations” in the socialist government’s “fast track” capitalism. The issue of dump constractions and garbage disposal in general has given birth to diverse militant struggles held in different parts of Greece these last years, with most significant the ones in Grammatiko (northern Attica), Neraida-Serres, Varnavas, Naxos island, Karvounari, Elliniko-Ioannina, and ofcourse Leukimmi, Corfu, where a small village manages to block the construction works and confront the police by all means for 3 years now, having one woman dead to the police violence, and many facing charges.
“We are Arbanites here, got it? We ‘ll take care of this on our own, they don’t get it. It’s gonna take an army to stop us, the riot cops are no match for us”. -A local resident to “Eleutherotypia” newspaper.
The residents are argueing that creating an open dump (a large hole where all garbage is simply burried, a practice even the EU officialy condemns) in Keratea is a major environmental crime threatening the residents health and well-being, as well as the nearby archaeological sites (Ovriokastro, submitted for UNESCO protected historical monuments and sites), the Mouzaki stream as well as underground waters and minerals. Its construction serves only certain private interests, while even a state jury has decided it should be outlawed. Instead of that, the state has responded to the residents challenge with heavy repression and media slander (Since most mass-media are typically bankrupt, they are now totally dependent on state funds and publications to survive, not to mention the “normal” state-media-contractors capitalist complex).
11/12: 4:30 am: More than 700 cops (riot pigs, plain clothes ruffians, special forces) taking place inside the archaeological site and private properties, fields of the locals to scare them off. After a few hours, they decide to leave, once the district attorney suggests the work is typically illegal. On their way out, they managed to set a few fires (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_fJ81Ao4zT9M/TQO3l0r46hI/AAAAAAAABhc/zJthzmQKZJU/s1600/DSC00171.JPG) on the mountain and destroy the community’s festival site, and harass elder people, women and schoolkids.
12/12: 5 arrestees at Lavrion, for a street blockade in solidarity. Hundreds of people in the blockade, force the cops to retreat (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_J4i5JXPz8p0/TQT3mYrl5tI/AAAAAAAAABY/vkn-LK5Sj-8/s320/P1050675.JPG). The riot cops are outrageous. Extensive, massive use of molotov cocktails by the residents. journalists speaking of “groups from Athens coming to Keratea for the riots” kicked out of the blockade by residents. Another journalist gets beaten by the cops. Video from the day’s clashes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTEZmG_zGko&feature=related
The minister mr. Ragkouses, announces through the media that it is not about an open dump but a processed garbage disposal center (though the work’s permit clearly states it is an open dump), and that its purpose is to help with the area’s garbage (though the area produces around 350 tonnes of garbage a year and the dump is planned to hold 127.000 tonnes a year: They plan to turn Keratea-Lavrio into the garbage dump of the whole Attica). The residents had filed a plan to self-manage through their communities recycling etc the garbage of the whole Lavrion area, but while the government initialy accepted it, then declined it: apparently it is better to sub-contract the work to some of their contraction business mates and turn it into a money-dump.
During the night, street lights are off where the residents stand and only work on the cops’ side. The helicopter is still on.
13/12: The local students occupy/shut down their school and join their families and friends in the blockades. (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_fJ81Ao4zT9M/TQaJYl9cDLI/AAAAAAAABi0/X5UQQ8z6hB4/s1600/162723_1783871840831_1360531010_2911131_4376699_n.jpg) Also anarchists and people of the movement gather from all over Athens. All day clashes with the cops. Massive use of molotov cocktails of local production. Urban guerilla by hundreds of small, friendly groups attacking the police forces and retreating to the village. A police bus set on fire. Many cops inured.
Hundreds of people in the blockades. 6 arrestees after the riot police attacks, 4 of them severely beaten, supported by a police helicopter tracking down the residents on their way back. A riot police brigade targeted, surrounded and beated the mayor of Keratea (https://actforfreedomnow.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/p10506901.jpg). The cops only back up so that people and medics can take him once he’s beaten senseless on the ground. During the morning, the district attorney decided the work had to be temporarily stopped, but instead of ordering the police to do so, as it would be expected according to their laws, he handled the decision over, as a suggestion, to the police and the work contractor, claiming he need to get a political aprovement from the government! The media continue to slander the residents resistance as backwards and reactionary, claiming they “merely want the garbage to gather in some other town” while praising the work that would end the illegal status of 96 (a fictituous number repeated by many mass-media parrots) illegal dumps around western Attica. Athens district attorney Elene Raikou orders a police investigation on the “attempted murder” against police officers by resistant residents of Keratea, as use of firearms was reported by the cops.
“We inform you that all residents are in the streets against the riot police and we are at war!” -message from the town hall’s phone machine.
14/12: More than 50 people injured up to now. 2.000 riot cops mobilized in Keratea, according to the Panattican network of urban movements. The police helicopter uses a thermal camera to spot smaller groups attacking the police lines from the sides, during the night. A riot cop brigade is sent to arrest them, turns out it was a herd of sheep. Around 300 residents and solidarians remain at the blockades during the night. Cops take over the nearby fields. In their attacks, the cops yell “run, the junta is here!”. Later on the same day, the police union publish a complaint to the minister of environment, claiming they are made into boxing sacks for “irrational” reasons. Daily report from occupied london blog: http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2010/12/14/444-third-day-of-rioting-in-keratea-attica-against-waste-burial-site-construction-sees-riot-police-van-and-policeman-set-alight-court-orders-temporary-halt-to-the-works-greece-counts-hours-to-it/ Report from contrainfo site: http://en.contrainfo.espiv.net/2010/12/13/keratea-atticagreece-no-more-trash-in-our-lives-residents-against-landfill-constructions/
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bOd-fiXT_w&feature=player_embedded . First use of a water canon in Greece, since the military junta of 1967-74: http://antixyta.blogspot.com/2010/12/blog-post_7714.html
“We ‘re now heading towards the end of our lives, don’t make us go back to the battlefields in times of peace” -from the call of senior citizens of Keratea to the prime minister.
15/12: The police attack during the night. More than 1.500 residents and solidarians (Mainly people from the movement and also some youth). 2 residents arrested and much more beaten. 3 taken to a hospital. The police chased down people inside the olive tree fields. Second night of water canon use.
“Late at night a group of elders sit around and wonder: where are the anarchists to help us? -There in Athens grandpa, but they’ll come. Someone reassured them. It might be a myth born through the residents’ mobilizations. But dozens of residents affirm that a group of local women, of an advanced age, complained to the mayor and the city council, that they are running out of molotovs” -from an “Eleutherotypia” newspaper report
16/12: Larissa jury certifies the dump construction in Keratea is illegal and need to stop all works. The residents celebrate with a feast at the blockade. Daily report from occupied london blog: http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2010/12/16/453-residents-of-keratea-attica-continue-their-struggle-with-riot-police-against-the-construction-of-a-landfill-for-a-sixth-consecutive-day/
17/12: Early in the morning, policemen vandalise the local community vehicles, on the pretext of them being used in the blockades. The police also took over a community first aid office, causing damages to the space and taking fingerprints. On their way back, they burnt down the schoolkids christmas tree. Heavy police forces around the blockades, asking passerbyers to show their IDs and allowing only neighborhood residents to pass.
An open call from Lavrion anarchists/antiauthoritarians to defend the blockades. Heavy rain and judicial procedures set many locals back.(http://antixyta.blogspot.com/2010/12/blog-post_1747.html)
“The heroic resistance of the residents of Keratea, Lavrion and solidarians from all other places give the proper answer to all recipients. If they consider everything is for sale, we reply that a people’s dignity is not for sale” -from Lavrion anarchists/antiauthoritarians call.
18/12: Riot police and residents face to face at the blockade. Clashes errupt. The pigs are forced to retreat to Ovriokastro. the pigs beat to bleeding an elder resident. He appears shocked in a video saying: “Oh you guys, help me heal now and then we take the arms and show them” (http://antixyta.blogspot.com/2010/12/blog-post_1747.html)
The municipal council of nearby Kalyvia, together with many politicians (from Socialdemocratic SYN to neofascist LAOS) announces its support to Keratea residents struggle, and asks for the creation of a local committe to play an intermediate role.
19/12: Unprovoked police attack, one 65 year old woman and a girl beaten to the ground. The residents gather again and chase the cops, 2 arrests. Negotiations to let them free. Popular assembly in the main town square. The mayor and the town’s priest announce their support to the struggle… Daily report at occupied london blog: http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2010/12/19/keratea-struggle-continues/
20/12: Gathering in solidarity in front of Athens jury, where the prosecuted residents will be presented Monday morning.
Some photos from the official community’s page: http://www.keratea.gr/dimos/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=483&Itemid=1
From for Keratea blog: http://forkeratea.blogspot.com/2010/12/blog-post_3550.html
XYTA (open dump) means resistance blog: http://xytasimaineiantistasi.blogspot.com/2010/12/blog-post_7843.html
Map of the blockade: http://athens.indymedia.org/local/webcast/uploads/untitled-1drdoel.jpg