Last saturday 12 of August, a member of one of the squats we participate, went with another friend migrant* to sell cigarettes on Themistokleous street in exarcheia, as the second worked in this spot on a regural base. At this moment 10 persons, including participants of 58 squat and solidarians ordered them not to sell cigarettes in this street with the excuse that the squat member came to work here with the intention to spy on 58 squat for the interests of the squat he is participating on. Among the threat one of them clearly reclaimed : " Themistokleous street is mine". The following day the regural seller of cigarettes went there, alone, as usual and the same 10 persons violently attacked him with sticks, causing him serious damages and ended it by throwing him in the garbage unconsious telling him that now he is also considered as a snitch of the other squat.
Why this happened?
Months ago a conflict occured between members of 58 squat and comrades of squats and collectives. After some time of conflicts between comrades from Exarheia, squats and collectives try to solve the problem with political conversations and open assemblies. 58 squat never appeared and refused to accept any communication with the body created to solve the problem.They also refused to stop the violence. After the failure of the movement to solve the problem, during the following months no one has provoked a conflict with 58 squat or any of its people. From the other side, people of 58 have continue to attack violently and physically comrades and also individuals that were connected with the past incidents. They exposed their gangster practices through: forbidding a large number of people to pass down themistokleous street by threating and attacking them. They reclaimed the ownership of Themistokleous street. Also, one of the last incidents that occured took place during a postering out of the neighbourhood few weeks ago. In addition to this, their constant behaviour towards the cigarette seller was to ask him cigarettes for free all this time and request him to not wear expensive clothes while he was selling cigarettes.
On wednesday 16 of August the cigarettes seller, injured, went again alone to do his regural job. People of 58 squat and other people went down with covered faces to hit him once more, but this time we were waiting for them.We did not want to play vendetta in the streets, but to attack them strongly with the goal to stop their domination.
Our decision to act was very clear and we targeted specific persons of 58 squat that were on the front line of the attacks in a practical way. We went to this fight with specific agreements that were:
1. Respecting the inner space of the squat by not entenring it.
2. No causing serious damages to migrants to avoid legal problems in case of arrest of hospitalization
3. Using only sticks for attack and defense.
4. No hitting someone that would not fight us back.
5. No causing damages that will lead to death.
We recognize as one of our mistake that during the intensity of the fight we oversuse violence to one person.
We are not proud of the methods we have used against squatters and we dont believe that these methods characterized us. We understand our way of acting as the last solution we could give.We are taking collectively the responsibility of our decision and what happened during the fight. We also explained our choices by the failure of the open procedure that took place several months and the lack of answers and initiatives expressed by the rest of the movement that have stayed away of this problem although they were aware of the situation with 58 squat.
Most of the people participating in our body who attacked were not inside the past conflict and open procedure. But, in front of the increasing of violent attacks, the targeting of everyone as a snitch, the spreading of terror and ganster practices inside the self-organised movement, we chose to act and we are defending our position to solve the problem by ourselves.We refuse to let the opportunity to the state and any kind of organized authority to intefere in a conflict and solve the violence that occured inside our struggling communities and open spaces, as letting the state and any kind of organized authority give its 'solution' to our problem means to give away the autonomy of our communities.
*The specific ''migrant cigarettes seller'' is a person that was help by comrades while he was in jail to find an alternative to survive without offensive means. After 6 months passed to have a stable situation by selling cigarettes, he try to help his friend (our comrade) that came out from the same situation, and this is the only reason why he proposed him to work together on the cigarettes stand in Themistokleous.