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Thessaloniki Solidarity Demo

gdm | 05.10.2003 12:18 | Thessaloniki EU | Repression | Social Struggles | London

This morning a successful action - in solidarity with the Thessaloniki Prison Hunger Strike - was carried out on Tower Bridge, opposite the box containing the starving man (more fool him...)

A banner stating "Free Simon Chapman, Free the Thessaloniki 7" was strung between two uprights on the southern part of the bridge, facing out towards the west across the river Thames. Below, another banner saying "Hungry for Justice - Free the Thessaloniki 7" was hung from the bridge - this was rapidly snatched by the cops and taken away to be "used as evidence" [not sure what for - as there had been no crime committed].

Meanwhile, outside Blaine's compound (security guards being particularly twitched and not knowing how to respond to the rumours coming over their radios), another banner was held up which said "Free the Saloniki 7!" Press releases were handed out to the reporters who are present 24 hours-a-day while others were contacted by phone. A number of television stations subsequently came down to record the demonstration.

The demonstration attracted large crowds of people - at times equalling and even surpassing the side show on the river banks. Views from the south bank of the Thames showed the two climbers and the banner against crystal clear, blue skies; further grace to the spectacle was added at 10:35 when the bridge was raised in order to let a steamboat through.

Today, Sunday October 5th, was chosen to mark the beginning of the third week of hunger strike by Suleiman "Kastro" Dakdouk, a Syrian political refugee. Kastro has lived in Greece for the past 18 years following persecution by his own government when he was still a teenager. He has been told by the Greek authorities that he will be deported - despite the threat of torture and imprisonment by the totalitarian regime in Syria - and despite the fact that he was not actually involved in any of the demonstrations at the time he was arrested.

Simon Chapman, meanwhile, is keeping pretty well and is well aware of the [legal] situation he is in but remains positive despite the failure of two appeals (against both the charges and the refusal of bail) so far. Today, along with the remaining 5 prisoners (/a>), Simon commenced a hunger strike in protest at the continued detention of the Thessaloniki 7.

Demonstration pictures: 1 | 2

Press Release



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