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Politicians will participate in the national holiday celebration despite the expectations for acts of "popular anger"

12 March 2012 / 22:03:24  GRReporter
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Parades to celebrate the national holiday of Greece on 25 March will be held as usual, is the decision made by the ministers in the cabinet of Lucas Papademos at an extraordinary meeting. They met to discuss whether it would be necessary to take special measures for the protection of officials present given the frequent expressions of discontent during similar events.

Despite the tension and the angry reactions of some of the Greeks, the ministers have decided that it is necessary to send the message that "the government is not afraid", while at the same time making it clear that illegal activity will not be tolerated. Government sources say the meeting did not discuss operational issues related to the functions of the police, but again according to them, police authorities will be in full readiness during parades.

Ministers have also underlined the need for violence to be condemned by political parties, social organizations and media, because "such events undermine democracy."

Fear of attacks on politicians has been reinforced by the events on the island of Rhodes last week during the celebrations for the accession of the Dodecanese to Greece. Groups of discontented citizens began to mock the politicians and government officials present. They managed to break through police security and throw bottles of water and cups with yoghurt, resulting in the cancellation of the parade. After the attack, politicians withdrew and the discontented took the podium.

Only two days ago, Minister of Finance Evangelos Venizelos was also hit by a cup of yoghurt that an adult member of PASOK threw at him during the meeting of the National Council of the party. The attack happened minutes before the future party leader got on the podium to deliver his speech. After the "incident", the attacker, who was a retired sailor, explained that he had carried the yoghurt with him to consume it. "When I approached him and told him that it was a shame to cut pensions so much, he laughed at me. He said it was not his responsibility and I should address Andreas Loverdos. Everything swam before my eyes and I do not remember how I searched in my bag for the yoghurt. You should see how he turned pale when he saw my movement. He was afraid that I might have a gun," said the pensioner.

A few weeks ago, President Carlos Papoulias surprised everyone with his unexpected verbal attacks against the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. The reason for them was the upcoming celebration of his hometown Ioannina, which he was preparing to attend. Ultimately, Carlos Papoulias did not go, but the celebration did not go quietly either. Students made offensive gestures to official guests, forcing the mayor to leave the rostrum. In his opinion, the students from the particular school did not do it spontaneously but followed the instructions of their teacher. Anna Diamantapoulou, who was Minister of Education until a few days ago, reprehended the students for their behaviour. Indicative of the magnitude of the phenomenon is the fact that a few days later, she said that her attacks were not in the right direction.

Not only politicians are victims of "popular anger". The famous singer George Dalaras, who is abroad, had decided to hold a series of free concerts in some poorer neighbourhoods in Athens, which "challenged" groups of citizens. At the first concert, they threw yoghurt, bottles of water and even a plastic chair at him, while during the second performance, they had already had wild oranges from the trees in the streets. They accused him for being the husband of the former Deputy Minister of Employment Anna Dalaras, "who voted for the memorandum." His other "sin" is that despite his origins, he has managed to make a fortune and now, he is rich, so he had no right to sing to them.

 

The singer said he does not intend to stop the concerts despite the reactions of the audience.

The first manifestation of the "right of the crowd" was on 28 October last year during the military parade in Thessaloniki. Then, groups of enraged residents of Thessaloniki managed to interrupt the parade and forced President Carlos Papoulias to leave their city immediately.

An official message was released after today's meeting, stating the need to emphasize the unifying nature of the holiday. Government sources said that the possibility of cancelling the parades was not open for discussion.

Tags: PoliticsSocietyParadesNational holidayProtestsDiscontentedGeorge DallaraConcerts
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