Heraklion, Greece: Neither 21 nor 100, Squat forever in Evagelismos

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NEITHER 21 NOR 100, SQUAT FOREVER IN EVAGELISMOS

Text of the people arrested during the evacuation of Evagelismos Squat in Heraklion, after 21 years of history

In the early hours of Saturday 30.09.2023, around 5:30 in the morning, cops of various forces overrun the neighborhood of Theotokopoulou. People living in the Evagelismos squat wake up to the sound of broken glasses and metal shaking from the blows. After the very short time during which the police forces managed to enter the building, they find half of the people inside it, and half on the terrace above it. The people inside the building are immobilized in rooms by the intervening forces (OPKE, EKAM), while EKAM proceed to intervene on the terrace. At this point there is tension between the people on the roof and the cops trying to approach them, which ends when the cops manage to reach us, to avoid violence towards us. They lay us on our faces and tie us up, some with handcuffs and others more roughly. In order to gather us in one place, they drag a person for several meters handcuffed, with his face on the ground. Shouts follow both from us and from neighbors against the eviction; a stance met with the threat of automatic weapons, physical violence and gestures by the cops. At that moment, the person who had been dragged escapes their attention and steps out onto the roof ledge, threatening to fall if they approach him. The stance of the repressive forces remains relentless, with eight armed cops rushing directly towards him. In a few tenths of a second, the comrade is falling from the terrace, with the clear responsibility of those who took part at the evacuation operation of Evagelismos, but also of those who ordered it: from the University of Crete and the municipal authorities, up to the high levels of the government. From our side, there was immediate resistance and shouts to the neighborhood, in the face of the event we witnessed. The cops panicked, realizing their responsibilities and trying to silence us, and kicked some of us in the head. When they were informed that the comrade was alive they mocked us, lied to us about his condition, and told us that we would go to find him. They then took out all their anger on us, cursing us, threatening us, hitting us and stomping us on the roof floor.

Their procedures were accelerated, by taking us down and placing us inside the building, in rooms they assumed that were ours, so that we would not have visual contact with the neighborhood, and they start writing down what they find. During this process they discovered clothes, political books, kitchenware, personal things (photos, laptops), material for a bar organised to raise funds for the costs of the restoration works we have been doing in the squat, but also items that had been collected by solidarity people in the neighborhood and the city, to be sent in the following days to the affected areas by the floods in Thessaly. Some objects that seemed useful to them were kept, while the others were thrown here and there, or broken before our eyes, without us being able to react. During our presence, nothing more was found than what is recorded in the arrest report, and anything added subsequently will be considered planted. In addition, a purse with personal belongings and a mobile phone of a comrade were removed, which are not mentioned anywhere in the police documents. Subsequently, we were allowed to get dressed and take a couple of things in a bag, as if your life can fit into a backpack. Also comrades who were outside the building managed to take the dogs of the house, while the cats hid due to the noise, and procedures are being carried out to find and take them. At the same time comrades gathered near the squat for solidarity. Listening to their chants but also the conflicts that took place, gave us incredible strength to continue with our heads high, while the message was conveyed to the cops present, that Evagelismos is not only the 11 people they found inside on a September Saturday. Evagelismos is the relationships, camaraderie, solidarity, movement, it is all of us. Also noteworthy are the anti-cop songs that were heard loudly in the neighborhood when they took us out of the building, not from some organised gathering, but – as we realized later – from a house near the squat.

When we arrived at Heraklion General Police Directorate, the legal proceedings began, during which we refused to cooperate, did not undress, did not provide photographs and fingerprints, and did not sign anything. We were notified of our arrest about three hours later, and from the beginning to the end of our detention the cops were constantly trying to delay the process. Our injured comrade, who had been probably taken irregularly from the Venizelio Hospital to be transferred to the police headquarters, was kept isolated in a separate area from us, while both the police and the prosecutor did not allow him to be transferred to a hospital again. It was only after pressure from the lawyers -who were there the whole time we were detained, and whom we thank from the bottom of our hearts for their attitude- that an order was given for his release at first, and finally after some hour an ambulance came to collect him. At the moment he is in PAGNI hospital, receiving the necessary medical care, we are in contact with him, and he is strong.

The second point that caused tension was the information from the cops that the prosecutor will announce whether we would be detained at 18:00. Under this pretext we had no access to food until 20:00, that is for fourteen hours since the operation. After constant pressure from us and the lawyers, and evasions from the cops, we were finally released at 21:00, after the dynamic afternoon demonstration was over. Even by that time, the comrade’s belongings which had been irregularly taken by the cops had not turned up, except for her ID which was necessary for their procedures. After an intense confrontation with the officers on duty, her purse was miraculously found -among the confiscated items, but without it being registered- but her cell phone was still missing. After verbal and legal pressure, we were called to collect the mobile two days later, with it having almost a full battery. We have every reason to believe that it had been improperly held by the police ranks, at the responsibility of both those in charge of the operation and the officers on duty. Until today (Tuesday, October 3) we have yet to receive our case file, while the charges that we know from the arrest report that we are jointly charged with are: disturbance of peace, weapons law, theft of electricity and disobedience.

This was a record of what happened during the evacuation operation and our detention. We write it for the people of the movement that could not be there, and for future use. After all, it is clear that we are not the only ones who have been subjected to repression. We are at a junction when both the movement and the entire society are under full-frontal attack by the state and the capital. With a purely political decision to attack an active political space, they are once again applying the doctrine of law and order, trying to stifle the voices that still resist their domination, and distract the people from their real problems.

We, for our part, take responsibility for the history of the squat, all these years of its occupation. We stand by our comrades who fought to defend the squat and its history on the streets. We express our solidarity with the Self-managed Political Space in the Polytechnic University in Athens, that was evacuated at the same time, and we stand together with all the political spaces under threat. And just as in all the attacks we have received, we have responded in a clear way that they will bleed to get the occupied places, now is the time to act. Nothing is over, ideas are not evacuated. Now that you’ve taken us out of our house, we’ll go into yours.

We do not forget our dead comrades, we do not forget our political spaces.

Not a step back.

Arrested from the Evagelismos Squat
Residents and guests
Comrades

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Original posted in evagelismos.squat.gr