An attempt to criminalize antifascist protest

November 27, 2013

Sotiris Martalis reports from Greece on the case of Thanasis Kourkoulas, an antifascist who will go on trial in December as a result of a lawsuit filed by Golden Dawn.

ON DECEMBER 16, Thanasis Kourkoulas, a member of the "Εxpel Racism" movement and an activist in the antifascist and antiracist movement, will go on trial in a court in Athens as a result of a provocative and slanderous lawsuit filed by a supporter of the Agios Panteleimonas Residents' Committee--who are essentially a group of members and supporters of the fascist Golden Dawn party.

The plaintiff accuses Kourkoulas of "giving orders to a group of men bearing bats," who the plaintiff claims attacked him on the evening of May 25, 2009. This is a completely unfounded and slanderous prosecution, but part of a general strategy of intimidating and targeting people and organizations which were openly and collectively organizing to prevent the Agios Panteleimonas square, and the center of Athens generally, from coming under Golden Dawn's control.

Since Kourkoulas was not even present at the incident the plaintiff is referring to--which will be proven beyond doubt in court--nor is there any other testimony against him, we will only put forward the following points:

Antifascist protesters in the streets in Athens
Antifascist protesters in the streets in Athens

The plaintiff only "recalled" the alleged "leader" of the incident one month after filing the lawsuit and submitted a supplementary complaint. Although he says he is a resident of Brahami, he accidentally found himself in Agios Panteleimonas on May 25--the day when the fascists were celebrating in the square after Golden Dawn supporters the day before had attacked an event featuring the writer Gasmet Kaplani and beaten local residents, immigrants and members of the antiracist movement.

This trial is part of a whole series of lawsuits by the neonazis and their supporters dating from that period, including a notorious one against a long list of organizations--including the Expel Racism movement and local organizations of SYRIZA, the Coalition of the Radical Left--which led to the triumphant acquittal of Savvas Michael-Matsas and Konstantinos Moutzouris.

The case of Thanasis Kourkoulas, though, represents a further escalation by the neo-Nazis, because it sets out to "prove" that there is a direct relationship between members of the mass movement and the left with violence against fascists.

Those who refuse to take a stand against the prosecution of Kourkoulas--or the recent prosecution against Petros Constantinou and Workers' Solidarity newspaper--are accepting the equation of the mass movement against the fascists with the crimes of the neo-Nazis. On this basis, militants from Skouries and workers who are on strike in the mines are taken to court or even to prison; antifascists are tortured in Police headquarters; and immigrants in the concentration camps face prosecutions.

Answering this attack must be a matter for every part of the working class movement and the left, and every progressive person. We call on unions, city councils, social institutions, movement of resistance and solidarity, and parties and organizations of the left to take a stand, with statements demanding the acquittal of Thanasis Kourkoulas. We invite people to a solidarity demonstration at Evelpidon courts on December 16 at 9 a.m., in the 4th Single Judge Misdemeanor Court of Athens in Building 9.

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