Thessaloniki, Greece – Greek police raided and evicted the Mundo Nuevo squat in Thessaloniki on Nov. 28. The squat began in November 2015 and held various political and cultural events over the last seven years in Greece’s second largest city. This is the fourth squat evacuated in Thessaloniki since the New Democracy government came to power and is among dozens of squats evicted throughout the country.
With the Greek government’s public image in question as it has been lately they’ve turned to attacking autonomous movements and their squats. Squats in Greece are typically abandoned buildings or structures reclaimed by anti-authoritarians and made into living spaces for refugees, meeting spaces, theaters, art and event spaces, etc. for the public.
Unicorn Riot filmed some of the Mundo Nuevo eviction and the community response which featured hundreds marching through Thessaloniki in response.
New Democracy has ruled Greece since July 2019, when Kyriakos Mitsotakis was elected with a neoliberal program. The party quickly transformed into a pure far-right government. The Greek government failed to put much effort into protecting citizens during the pandemic. Instead, its solution to existing problems was adding more police units and committing more police brutality. Lately, the Greek government has been dealing with a spy scandal, which has been noticed globally.
Spy Scandal? – Time for a New Battle
It’s well known through the country that the main reason that the Greek government is focusing on the “squat issue‘‘ again is because of recent negative impacts on its public image. While we are approaching the elections – probably during spring 2023 – Prime Minister Mitsotakis is dealing with an ongoing spy scandal.
According to Greek media, the Prime Minister, along with his nephew and secretary, Grigoris Dimitriadis, purchased “Predator,” spying malware by Intellexa, and began spying on politicians, ministers, and journalists.
The scandal is leaving a stain on the image of the Prime Minister and corporate Greek media is tackling this by sharing new accomplishments of the government. This time the Greek government is once-again asserting the doctrine of “law and order,” trying to persuade its far-right audience that, aside from spying on its ministers, the government is attacking anarchists by evicting their squats.
Three Years After a Failed Ultimatum
Not long after taking power, the New Democracy government evicted several squats that were providing housing and safety for migrants and refugees. Over 500 refugees were evicted from their sanctuaries and placed into closed camps and detention centers from the summer of 2019 until the fall.
On Nov. 20, 2019, Michalis Chrysochoidis, the former minister of Civil Protection, delivered an ultimatum to every squat in Greece. In his press release he stated:
“We call everyone that has illegally squatted public or private buildings to evacuate them. […] If the buildings are private property, in order to stay you need to come to a rent agreement with the owners.‘‘
An ultimatum of 15 days, until the fifth of Dec. 2019, accompanied the end of the announcement. However, the ultimatum was not the end of the battle, but just the beginning of one.
Related Coverage :
Greek Police Raid Squats and Evacuate 269 Refugees, Community Symbolically Reoccupies Spirou Trikoupi 17
Mundo Nuevo and other (Eviction) Squats
In general, recent Greek governments – both of the leftist SYRIZA and the rightist New Democracy – have shown extreme zest for squat evictions.
A week before the Mundo Nuevo eviction, the Greek government raided Prosfygika, a big house-squat that served as a safe living space for refugees in Athens. During the raid of Prosfygika, police made 80 arrests. Οne of them was a Greek journalist, Nikos Pilos who also published a mini documentary on Profsygika:
The SYRIZA-ANEL government was the first to evict squats in Thessaloniki. On July 27, 2016, police raided and evicted three squats in Thessaloniki, all of them providing refugees with a safe space during the unprecedented refugee crisis, mostly from the war in Syria. The squats evicted early in the morning were: Orfanotrofeio (meaning: orphanage), Hurriya and Mandalidio. It is worth mentioning that none of the buildings housing the squats above were put to use until this summer when Mandalidio became a hotel.
Four years later in August 2020, the New Democracy government started evicting squats in Thessaloniki with Terra Incognita, continuing in 2021 with squat 111, and on the last day of the year they evicted the Biologiko squat inside the campus of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, which had been alive for 33 years. After the eviction of Biologiko, tensions erupted between protesters and the police as riot police were newly established inside the campus on a permanent basis.
This year Mundo Nuevo was evicted on Nov. 28. The town of Thessaloniki is still hosting two squats: School, Yfanet and the recuperated factory of VIOME.
See Unicorn Riot’s special on Viome: Occupy, Resist, Produce: Inside the Self-Managed Factory of Vio.Me.
The squat Yfanet was targeted by the municipality for eviction, while “School” was attacked twice by fascists during nationalist demonstrations, while the police were present and watching the incident.
Fascists Burned Libertatia Squat
On Jan. 21, 2018, a group of 30 fascists heading to a nationalist demo attacked the squat Libertatia, a neoclassical building close to the center of Thessaloniki. Some of them managed to get in and 20 minutes later the building was burned. While attacking, the group chanted a famous fascist chant saying: “Anarchists and Bolseviks, this land is not yours.”
Although the squat was burned down, the anarchist collective running the squat managed to rebuild it and published a video showing the work they did. Police made several arrests, not for the ones that attacked the building, but for the ones that were rebuilding the structure, for illegal construction.
For more media from Greece, see our Greece archive page.