Sabtu, 24 Maret 2012

Today's protests a warm up for Sunday......

All not quiet on the 25th of March parade front
by Makis Papasimakopoulos24 Mar 2012
Just as expected, the student parade segment of the 25th of March Revolution day celebrations, did not go down without the presence of much anticipated incidents of public unrest.
Leading up to the celebrations, much had been written and said about state efforts to nullify any protests and protect the celebrations from any form of rioting.
Despite the very strong police presence however, there was plenty of incident, echoing what was seen on the 28th of October and setting a dark cloud over Sunday’s main celebrations and the upcoming military parade.
School and university teachers marched from Stadiou street, shouting slogans reminiscent of the junta era, of course making the connection between the then Papadopoulos regime and today’s Lucas Papademos government.
Riot police formed ranks on the corner of Voukourestiou street, in order to stop them heading closer to Parliament and disrupting the student parade and scuffles ensued.
Numerous complaints were also lodged by members of the public, who accused police of not allowing parents to come close to the parade and watch their children march with their respective schools.
In what has slowly become a fad since the 28th of October parades, numerous school bodies taking part in the parade averted their gaze from the main stand when marching in front of it, as a way of protest.
Minister for Education Yiorgos Babiniotis refused to comment on the incidents, as well as the mass police presence – which greatly exceeded the total amount of students taking part in the parade – choosing instead to focus on the historic significance of the 1821 Greek uprising against Ottoman rule and the role that education played in that.
Tomorrow’s military parade is expected to have the same, if not a larger police presence, with most of the city centre cordoned off, in fear of extensive unrest.
In total, nearly 29 people were led to central police processing for interrogation, but as yet no arrests have been officially announced.


Disabled veterans pull out of parade
22 Mar 2012
Veterans pass by the reviewing stand at an independence day parade in 2007 (Eurokinissi)
Veterans pass by the reviewing stand at an independence day parade in 2007 (Eurokinissi)
Disabled military veterans will not take part in Sunday's annual parade in Athens commemorating the 1821 War of Independence, to protest the government's austerity measures.
"We have decided not to march for the first time, reacting to the harsh measures taken by the government against our people," a statement from the Federation of the Disabled War Victims of Greece said.
Police are planning heightened security measures for the independence day parade, after protesters forced the cancellation of the October 28 annual military parade in Thessaloniki last year. (Athens News/gw)

Heavy police presence at student parades
24 Mar 2012
File photo showing policemen taking their positions around the parliament during an anti-austerity rally in Athens (Reuters)
File photo showing policemen taking their positions around the parliament during an anti-austerity rally in Athens (Reuters)
School parades commemorating the symbolic outbreak of the war of independence in 1821 took place on Saturday in central Athens amid an unprecidented police presence in order to prevent a repeat of the angry scenes that disrupted the Ochi day parades in October in Thessaloniki.
Syntagma Square was effectively closed off to the public, with only accredited journalists being allowed access to cover the student parades.
The authorities shut down Syntagma, Acropolis and Evangelismos metro stations at 8am and there are extensive traffic restrictions in place around Syntagma Square and surrounding throughfares.
Earlier on Saturday, a group of people attempted to enter Syntagma Square but were pushed back by riot police.
On Sunday, some 4,000 police officers will be on duty at parades in Athens and other towns to prevent politicians being attacked by protest groups, in a show of strength by the government.
The parade commemorating 1821-32 war of independence is seen as a target by groups which have hounded politicians since harsh austerity measures were introduced.
Police are expected to set up cordons around the podium for officials outside parliament, to search attending members of the public.
The Panhellenic Federation of Police Officers (Poasy) criticised the heavy security measures. "This is not our mission," a statement said. "Societal problems and the anger of an entire nation cannot be faced with suppressive measures."(Athens News/gw)

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