Issue 231 of SOCIALIST REVIEW Published June 1999 Copyright © Socialist Review
Anti-war protests took place throughout Greece on May Day. Demonstrators converged on the US embassy in Athens, and in Thessalonika protesters blockaded the port, preventing the transport of military equipment.
Workers have also been involved in strike action against the war. Rail workers have refused to run some trains bound for Skopje in Macedonia carrying armoured vehicles. In Piraeus on 12 May a three hour strike closed down all the hospitals in the city. On the same day many teachers and pupils in Athens held a four hour strike against the war and a 1,000 strong demonstration marched from the Metropolis to the Greek parliament.
Opinion polls consistently show that 95 percent of people are against the war. The opposition includes the trade union of Albanian immigrant workers in Athens, who marched on May Day with a banner against the war.
In Italy demonstrations have been held in most cities since the bombing started. Many MPs in the Italian government have voiced opposition, with 169 MPs voting against Nato bombing last month.
Calls for a general strike against the war have been gaining support. The rank and file trade unions, which define themselves as politically autonomous, have been calling for stoppages. The calls for a general strike have also been backed by Rifondazione Comunista, which left the government coalition last autumn.
Pressure is also mounting on the official trade unions to call a general strike. On 13 May RDB, an autonomous trade union, called for workers to come out against the bombing. Many workers responded and the Italian daily newspaper Il Manifesto reported that over 200,000 workers were involved in demonstrations and many more stayed away from work. In Florence 4,000 marched to the US consulate. Police attacked the crowd with teargas and batons. On 21 May demonstrations across Italy were staged, starting on bridges.
One of the key demands of the anti-war movement has been that warplanes must be stopped from flying from Italian air bases. There have been regular demonstrations at most air bases involved in flying bombing raids. The Aviano base was encircled by a demonstration of 6,000 at the end of April and will be the focus for a national demonstration on 6 June.