The massive demo that took place on October 20th was overshadowed by the death of the 53 years old construction worker and communist party unionist, Dimitris Kotzaridis. Dozens of people suffering injuries from clashes that broke out between antiauthoritarians and PAME (communist-backed union) members, received first aid from a volunteer medical group that addresses the immediate needs of protesters, in case the demo turns violent. Unconfirmed rumours of a man dying from head injuries during the riots, quickly spread out and caused confusion. Later on, although the death was verified but the causes remained unclear, there was an ongoing debate inside the parliament, over a fatal injury from clashes. Yet the reality was different…
During the protests, the man felt unwell and was taken aside from his comrades who asked for help by the police. A motorcycle ambulance rushed to the spot, to offer first aid and an ambulance arrived shortly before 17:00pm to bring Dimitris Kotzaridis to Evangelismos Hospital.
Apparently, as “To Vima” newspaper reports: “Dimitris Kotzaridis, the 53 years old secretary of construction workers union in Vironas, was transferred to Evangelismos Hospital with atrial fibrillation and despite doctors’ efforts to keep him alive, he passed away. The deceased had no injuries; it is estimated though that he inhaled high levels of chemicals”
In the same evening, a doctor from Evangelismos Hospital speaks to the media, stressing out that the man’s death may stem from inhaling chemicals (teargas). The Chief Attorney orders preliminary investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal incident, mandating prosecutors to visit the hospital for further interrogation and collect relevant video footage from TV stations, in order to verify the causes of the man’s death.
Autopsy results show that D. Kotzaridis did actually die from inhaling chemicals, while their exact synthesis and levels are pending until next week. Meanwhile the police, denies any allegations that the man collapsed after being tear gassed in Syntagma Square, claiming there was no use of chemicals at that point of time where the clashes occurred.
Relatives of the deceased spoke to “Ethnos” newspaper which publishes the following piece:
"They’ve killed him in cold blood. He was unarmed and assaulted by various mechanisms”. The family of the 53 years old construction worker, Dimitris Kotzaridis from Vyronas, who tragically died during last Thursday’s rally bursts out: “they took him away from us; they should not take away our rights on top of that” says Nicky Katsani, the sister-in-law of the deceased. “We were altogether in Syntagma square, Dimitris, his wife, me and his daughter. Unarmed. I left with my sister to go back home and we were chatting with Dimitris on the phone. When the attack happened, Dimitris rang Heleni and told her “Eleni we've been assaulted” and she replied back “Dimitri be careful, be careful!”. It was the last time the 52 years old woman heard her husband’s voice. Later on she received a phone call to rush to Evangelismos Hospital.
"If this isn’t a cold-blooded murder, then what is it? What’s meant to be throwing smoke bombs and whatever over the crowd?”, Mrs Katsani wonders, "we didn’t have chemicals with us, we were unarmed. Dimitris was not a passer-by. He was fighting for people to have a job and live with dignity. He didn’t have any income, his wife is also unemployed and in debt, paying off €750 per month and with two daughters, 22 and 29 years old. What we were supposed to do? Worship? We went out to fight". Mrs Katsanis is brimming with anger, "we want to be justified. Those who brought us into this state, should leave. We are unable to pay back our loans and raise our families. Those who rule this country and the world, have treated us as animals under experiments. This must stop".
Athens Medical Association officially called minister of Citizen Protection, to ban chemicals use. The Antiauthoritarian Movement of Athens, placed sole responsibility on the Communist party of Greece, whose representative blamed masked Anarcho-fascists’ tactics aimed with fire bombs, stun grenades and stones use, to split the massive demonstration of workers in Syntagma square, having especially on target PAME members.
It should be noted that Radiobubble News has showed restraint while covering the protests, to avoid spreading unverified information over fatal injuries during clashes in Syntagma square. The same applies to the demonstrators that used #rbnews hashtag on Twitter while reporting from the area. We’ll keep monitoring D. Kotzaridis issue tactfully and with the same degree of responsibility.