The Greek leftist militant Dimitiris Koufodinas, one of the leaders of the November 17 (17N) revolutionary organisation, who had been on hunger strike for 66 days as part of his demand for a prison transfer and better conditions in prisons, ended his hunger strike, his lawyer announced.
Sixty-three-year old Koufodinas, who is serving several life sentences, ended his hunger strike which left him gravely ill. He had been admitted to the Lamia Hospital’s intensive care unit near Domokos high-security prison after suffering kidney failure last week. Koufontinas thanked “friends and comrades” – who “stood in solidarity” with him during his hunger strike – in a statement he released through his lawyer on 14 March.
‘Resistance against authoritarianism’
“Thanks to all progressive friends for their support. This solidarity is not just solidarity with a person on hunger strike, it is solidarity with the struggle against a dehumanised government. This solidarity has shown us that there is still hope and resistance against this recklessness, violence and authoritarianism”, he stated.
‘I am there with you on the streets’
In his statement, Koufontinas defined the ongoing protests in Greece as “much more important” than his own “reason for starting a hunger strike. I would like to express my sincere solidarity to everyone on the streets. I am there with you on the streets. The government has shown one more time how reckless they are on taking down the laws and the constitution. The protests on the streets are the people’s judgement of the government”, he said.
The 17 November leader had been on a hunger strike since January, and had refused at one point to take liquids. The leftist leader has been repeatedly demanding a transfer to Korydallos prison in Athens, instead of Domokos prison where he was jailed, but his calls had been rejected. After his health continued to deteriorate, Koufontinas ended his hunger strike on 14 March.
Koufontinas’ hunger strike sparked protest throughout Greece. Riot police in the Greek capital were mobilised and used water cannon and tear gas to disperse one protest in solidarity with Koufontinas.
On the 53rd day of his action, people took to the streets to support Koufontinas. Massive protests have been going on in Greece for about two weeks.
The leaders of the November 17 organization – an armed group that employed urban guerrilla tactics between 1975 and 2002, that was named after the date of a student uprising in 1973 against the junta then in power in Greece – were arrested in 2002.