This morning in Athens, an American anarchist has pressed attempted murder charges against Delta and Dias motorcycle police, as well as the relevant commanding officers, for a beating she suffered at the intersection of Patision and Stournari streets, while demonstrating against the IMF on November 15th, 2010. Meanwhile, over 170 members of the American and European scholarly community, including Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, and Immanuel Wallerstein, have denounced the behavior of the Delta police towards demonstrations and specifically the beating of the American demonstrator, calling the attack on her “nearly fatal”.
The November 15th Beating
On the night of the 15th of November, the 27 year old, 48 kilo protester was rushed bleeding and semi-conscious to the Erythros Stavros emergency room, where she was diagnosed as multiply- injured and having been brutally beaten by S. Marianou, a forensic surgeon. She was released after three days. Among multiple injuries to her head, neck, back, and abdomen, she suffered from a skull fracture, blood hemorrhaging, and permanent damage to her inner ear. She also received stitches on the side of her head where she was injured by the first blow from the police by what surgeons in the hospital called a “blunt object”- the impact of which had rendered her immediately unconscious.
The demonstration took place on the first day of anniversary celebrations of the historic 1973 Polytechnio uprising, and was attended by thousands of people ranging from base unions to student organizations to left parties and anarchists, protesting the arrival of IMF officials in Athens that day.
Eye-witness say that as the demonstration was coming to end at Polytechnio at approximately 8pm, up to 15 Delta police on motorcycles charged a student block at the back of the demonstration on Patision street, throwing concussion grenades into the crowd and sending people into a panic.
According to eye-witness accounts, one of the Delta police ran towards the American woman and hit her from behind with a blunt object, immediately knocking her unconscious and causing her head to gush blood. Then multiple officers beat her with batons and kicked her before dragging her to an adjacent sidewalk, where she was beaten again by multiple officers. The officers attempted to handcuff her, but because of her condition they decided to leave her. She later recovered her consciousness. – “When I woke up I was surprised because I was in a different place than I had last remembered when the police first hit me. I could not hear anything from my right ear, and I could not turn my head or move my right arm- I thought my neck was broken. I saw blood on the sidewalk all around me and on the column in front of me. I was incredibly dizzy and it was difficult to remain conscious.”
The American demonstrator was brought to the hospital by ambulance after being given first aid in the Alpha theater on Patision by members of EEK(Workers Revolutionary Party).
Eleytherotypia reported, “We saw her in the ambulance full of blood. She was bleeding from her head, her ear, and her nose.”
The doctors said that she had multiple injuries and admitted her for care. She was also screened for internal bleeding, as she had lost urine during the beating as a result of being kicked directly in the kidneys. Four police officers had followed her to the hospital, where they repeatedly tried to intimidate her and interrogate her throughout the night despite her debilitated condition. However, people who showed up in solidarity as well as the doctors prevented them from approaching her bed well into the late hours of the night.
Attempted Homicide Charges Against the Delta
Her lawyer, Giota Massouridou, claims that the police’s actions were intentionally lethal given that she was beaten for a prolonged amount of time while clearly bleeding from the head and unconscious, and that the medical reports show that the police targeted the most vulnerable parts of her body- repeatedly beating her on the head, neck, and mid-section. The fact that the officers dragged her limp body several meters to the sidewalk evidences that they were aware that she was completely unconscious and unresponsive, and yet they continued the beating on the sidewalk- as witnesses say- for up to two minutes. Massouridou also says that given the American woman’s petite size, it obviously would have been difficult for her to sustain such an attack from multiple policemen, and that it is by pure luck she is alive.
Additionally, the officers left her unconscious on the sidewalk, indicating that they wanted to avoid responsibility for the extent of her injuries, especially in the case that she would not survive.
Along with attempted murder, the American woman is also charging the police with continuous and collective use of illegal violence, breach of duty, and abuse of authority.
In light of the beating of the American anarchist, an international denouncement of Delta police was made by over 170 professors, journalists, legal scholars, and university students from the United States and Europe, including several well-known academics and writers such as Noam Chomsky and Judith Butler.
“There is a long history of complaints against Delta police for physical brutality, as there are several other cases of demonstrators being hospitalized with severe injuries after receiving beatings from Delta police, ” the statement reads. “We urge a full disclosure of information regarding the identity of the Delta unit responsible for the excessive attack on the night of the 15th of November. ”
There are other indicative charges which have been brought against the Delta police for brutality towards demonstrations. Charges were brought by Professor Aggeliki Koutsoumpou, who was seriously injured on the 6th of December 2009, when a Delta police officer rammed her with his motorcycles during a demonstration. On January 4th, the political organization ‘Dikaioma’ sued the DELTA and DIAS for an assault on their block during a December 15, 2010 general strike demonstration.
In a press conference the lawyer for Dikaioma, Kostas Papadakis, said, “It is only a matter of time before the Delta police kill someone.”
The american anarchist, who still suffers from a fractured skull and permanent hearing loss, said in reference to the actions of the police: “What happened to me is not an isolated incident, it is a daily occurrence because it is the very role of the police in co-operation with state and capital. This beating will not make me afraid, it does not stop me or anyone else from going to demonstrations – although it’s true that the police came close to killing me that night, we go into the streets because capitalism murders us everyday.”