Statement regarding the unanimously co-decided action against the “Policemen’s Action Against Racism” by “Queer Decapage and Comrades”, the “Initiative for a Self-organized Pride based on our Needs and Desires” and individuals at the Athens Pride.
The initiatives and individuals mentioned above, recognize that Athens Pride (AP) is the only event in Athens that gives the opportunity to the lgbtqia+ community to gather in a safe public space. This makes obvious why we chose to act in AP, even though we do not support it politically.
In Saturday 10/6, we had been at the AP’s premises since the festival opened (12.00) and we were handing our documents to other people visiting the Festival. One hour before the march began (18.30), we formed a group holding our banners. When the march began, we (approximately 100 people) moved towards the group of cops and demanded from them to leave from the march. We also told them that they can continue marching with us only if they do it individually without wearing t-shirts showing their police identity). They disagreed on that. While we were against them, there had been an intense discussion without physical violence. Regarding our group, there was no intention in using any kind of violence. Our action was unanimously decided to be peaceful.
Later, the SYRIZA youth, headed by government officials, encircled our groups in order to protect the cops by us. (We note, at this point, that our groups didn’t have any kind of safeguard.) They insulted mainly feminine, non-binary and trans people in a sexist and abusive way both verbally and physically. They hit us, they kicked and threatened members of our initiatives and they tried to destroy our banners. We should note here that amongst these Syriza members who attacked us, we recognized a fair number whom we know to have reproduced sexist and misogynist discourse and behaviors in the past as well. At the same time, some cops and some AP volunteers who were close to the affray made sexist insults towards us. (There has been also a published video showing who practiced violence.) They demanded from us to let them continue marching. Obviously, we never drew back until we managed to throw out the governmental party and the cops. Afterwards, we continued marching at the head of the parade.
All things mentioned above have been terribly misrepresented by many media and NGOs. On the other hand, other things like the neonazi attack that happened at the Festival never got public until the incident with the cops gets utilized politically. The systemic propaganda by the NGOs and the media condemned our action and hushed up its political cause. The Athens Pride, Color Youth, lgbtq ANTARSYA, EF.SYN. , Lifo, Antivirus are some of examples of the organizations and the media which followed the cops’ order as stated in their official statement:
“Tomorrow, all lgbt+ collectivities must make statements that will condemn the racist and fascist groups who didn’t let us and the lgbt+ police men to take part in the march. ALL OF THEM. There is no racist violence that should be allowed to exist.”
We never anticipated anything more by a uniform body which is based on oppression and racism and protects the state and the capital against the oppressed social groups. It’s pure political audacity that we are called fascists and racists by those who chose to serve a mechanism such as the police. They are fascists and racists! The incidents set clearly who is fascist and who’s not. When refugees, lgbtqia+, prisoners, sexworkers, anarchists, communists, roma etc are continuously targeted by the police it’s clear who is fascist. The civil democracy, that police serves, is working properly only if there are oppressed people.
We would not disagree if the lgbtqia+ cops would march as proud individuals about their lgbtqia+ identity. But marching in clothes and banners with nationalistic images is outrageous. Police pride in unacceptable. It’s pink washing that offends groups that have solidarity towards us. It offends the Stonewall history against the police violence and it makes the Athens Pride not political. By pink washing the police, they try neoliberaly to democratize the police. This effort, which is also made by SYRIZA’s government, is pointless.
Via systemic media and some lgbtqia+ people, SYRIZA tried to condemn violence, even though SYRIZA practiced violence. They exploited the incident in order to show themselves as humanists, but they did not have in mind that their policies cannot be forgotten just by pink washing. The memorandums, poverty, the refugee crisis, the war against squats, the fascist violence, racism, sexism etc cannot be laundered just by participating in Athens Pride. The government’s position on the topic of our civil rights proves that they do not really care about us. They just want to use us and we have not been surprised about it. We know that the state and its mechanisms believe that we are their enemies and we believe the same about them.
That’s why we do not regret our action. On the contrary, we keep supporting it. We hold the fact that the cops and the government left from the march as a collective win. We are proud about the fact that we managed to rally alongside with other people, initiatives and groups. We have to continue taking actions against all systemic oppressions continuing the Stonewall tradition.
We will continue our actions and our practices through open assemblies because it’s our commitment towards our sisters. We want to create a self-organized pride based on our needs and desires.
We salute the activists in Washington D.C. that posed similar criticism to ours and protested against the cops and the sponsors at the Capital Pride exactly on the same day with our action. We, also, salute the activists in Toronto who managed to throw the cops out of the Pride Toronto officially.
We, also, salute all the people who cannot express themselves and protest because of the police oppression in other countries.
We make an open call for an open discussion organized by the “Initiative for a Self-organized Pride based on our Needs and Desires” on Saturday 17/6 at 18.00 at Polytechneion (Gini building).
We make an open invitation for an open discussion and documentary screening (“Stonewall Uprising”) organized by “Queer Decapage” on Friday 23/6 at 20.00 at Nauarinou Park.
There will be also a more analytic text by us in the near future.
“Queer Decapage & Comrades”
“Initiative for a Self-organized Pride based on our Needs and Desires”
(“Queer Decapage” is a queer feminist initiative created in 2016 with a text criticizing Athens Pride by a non binary position and “The Initiative for a Self-organized Pride based on our Needs and Desires” is an open initiative by lgbtqia+ people from different groups and political views with comrades in order to organize an intersectional and demanding Pride)