EU Summit in Thessaloniki, 19-20 June 2003: Legal help team set up

Legal team 2003 consists of lawyers who wish to assist demonstrators in order to exert their right to demonstrate freely, as long as their manifestations have no racist or xenophobe content. Part of our aim is to offer legal support to whoever may need it, as well as the provision of consultative-informative material to all those who will demonstrate in Thessaloniki on the occasion of the Summit Meeting (Conference) of EEC, which will take place in June 2003.

During the days of demonstrations (13-21/06/2003) you can contact us in tel. 2310 24310 (5 lines)Thessaloniki: Legal advice team

The Legal Team's website carries information and advice in Greek, German, French, Italian, Turkish and English.


Basic principles / objectives

In view of the Thessalonica EU Summit of 2003 and fully aware of the intensity of demonstrator repression in international rallies, we have created LEGAL TEAM 2003 the objective of which is to cover the practical legal needs of the demonstrators that will arise from the rallies. We are also fully aware that the legal needs of the aforesaid demonstrators will end long after the conclusion of the demonstrations.


(A) In the first place, we offer legal assistance to all the victims of repression, during the stage of arrest and detention at the police station (prior to legal action with an attorney's representation), as preliminary proceedings can often involve a brutal violation of fundamental rights, physical integrity, and human dignity. The legal assistance is addressed to whoever is in need of it, with the exception of those who demonstrate with a racist or xenophobic attitude.

(B) Secondly, legal assistance can be offered during the preliminary hearing, main hearing and Court hearing procedures. At this point, some limits should be set: we are not willing to defend all those involved in criminal justice processes. [though we do not subscribe to an established set of political beliefs or orientation, we are entitled to set certain conditions for the supply of legal aid. We have, therefore, concluded that the demonstrators' defence should meet the following criteria:

B1. The adoption of a basic political stance in Court by the accused, in the sense that they should not disparage political and social rights. According to the principles of this text, legal aid is also provided to non-participants, who have been victims of the violence and repression of the State (for example, in cases of forcing immigrants and homeless people out of certain areas, prior to such summits, have been recorded).

B2. The accused should not denounce or aggravate the position of other demonstrators involved in criminal offences. Legal assistance will be provided if the aggravating testimony is held under coercive practices and the defendant evokes this when he gets an attorney. Any member of the legal team can ask, during the defence procedure, to be replaced by another member, for personal or conscientious reasons.


Our domain of operation can and should cover the following areas:

- Supply of information on the Greek legal system before and during demonstrations
- Supply of information on the Greek legal system, both to native and foreign demonstrators (preparation of leaflets and websites, organizing events for the demonstrators, briefings before the Summit).
- Assistance to foreign demonstrators who may face problems when crossing the border.
- Presence at police stations: spotting those arrested, escorting them to the prosecutor
- Defending those arrested according to the conditions aforementioned
- Considering potential legal action against repression forces (e.g. lodging complaints, claiming compensations).


The initial concern is the prompt creation of the necessary infrastructure for the success of the project. The first step is the development of a bilingual website (or multilingual, according to the translating capacities). That will provide general information, legal advice and information on the measures taken against demonstrations.

We have also set up an office in the center of the City. The office will constitute a fully equipped headquarters (call center - 5 lines, fax machine, internet connection, photocopier etc.).


The participation of legal advisors (lawyers, trainee lawyers and law students) is of primary importance. Participants can creatively exchange their knowledge and experience, which could take the form of self-educational workshops.

Furthermore, everyone who believes in the necessity of such coordinated action is welcome to offer all kinds of assistance. Our needs include translation services for the website and the printed materials, interpreters and during the days of the demonstrations, people taking shifts at the call center and keeping records of arrests will also be needed. Moreover, this kind of cooperation could remove divisions caused by status.


We are not willing to let this process be used as a means of creating "media stars". Our role and actions need to be motivated by earnestness and lack of self-interest. Furthermore, we should keep in mind the statement of the Bar Association of Athens, which disapproves the interference of practitioners with the Media. Its clear position is that attorneys should abstain from TV shows and programmes, for the protection of ethics.

We should maintain the same position with regards to our defensive attitude towards the Media. In case we are slandered or our intentions misunderstood, the ways of managing these "crisis situations" will be open to discussion.

Consequently, we suggest the prior commitment of participants to abstain from interviews, statements and appearances in the media, as far as the operation of the team is concerned.

Should the intensity of repression demand it, the possibility to send out press releases remains open.


We consider the possibility of associating with the Bar Association of Thessaloniki, as well as with associations of leftwing European lawyers.


We consider our services to be part of the whole mobilization and not as independent specialist assistance provided to participants of the demonstrations.

The adoption of this stand along with our political commitment to the project dictates us to self-finance the preparatory expenses and to agree that there will be no profit for whoever offers their services.

If you have any further questions about Legal Team please feel free to call (+44) 6976-099161

Website: Legal advice team


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