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Police guard the Acropolis and tourists come in for free

15 October 2010 / 16:10:53  GRReporter
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All visitors to the archaeological park of the Acropolis could enter for free from 12 pm. Riot police, however, remain on guard at the main entrance of the park where the protest of the employees on fixed-term contracts at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism continues. The decision came a day after the riots in front of the main historical sites of Greece. Citizens and tourists have been allowed to see for free the ancient temple and the ruins around it without having to pay for a ticket.

"We will not impede the free entrance for visitors, but the protests will continue. The political leaders are to be blamed for this," said the union leader of the employees on fixed-term contract at the Ministry of Culture Nikos Hasomeris. He explicitly stated that the riots in the archaeological site are violation condemned by the society, and violation of journalists is a disgrace to the country where democracy was born.

The Acropolis was closed to visitors again between 8 am and 12 at noon. Free entrance was announced after the permanent employees at the State Administration of the Ministry went on a four-hour strike as a sign of commitment to their colleagues on fixed-term contracts. "We will be here until we are paid attention. The police do not scare us," said a representative of the permanent public employees.

"Maybe the barricade to the Acropolis is not the most appropriate way to express your dissatisfaction, but people resort to desperate measures when the knife is resting to the bone," told GRReporter Michalis, who has 20 years of work experience and is permanent employee in the maintenance of the park. He said he did not fully agree with the way the protest was held the previous day, but supports the strike, because his turn may come tomorrow. "When people have families, pay rent, have bank loans and they tell them that they will be out of work at the end of the month, things get tough," said Michalis. He said both parties (ministry and strikers) have to find a satisfactory solution for all. The old worker was unable to formulate what would be the decision but he stressed that the Ministry has invested in the training of current staff in the past two years. If their contracts are terminated, the new employees will also have to go through the relevant training procedures, which is a waste of time and resources.
Meanwhile, tourists came to see the Acropolis and crowded around the main entrance. Asked "What do you think of the situation today?" a middle-aged woman from Portugal said: "We understand workers who are fighting for their survival and their jobs and hope some solution to their problem to be found. I can not hide, however, that it is somewhat disappointing to see such events in the heart of Athens, where democracy and free spirit were born."

Tags: NewsSocietyThe AcropolisStrikeRiotsGreece
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