The Greek police are preparing themselves for the coming parade just as they do every year for the 17th November Celebration. “Whoever crosses the line will be arrested. If any extreme groups try to ruin the parade the riot police will use violence to push them away. There will be proactive body searches in individuals carrying backpacks for Molotov bombs, and even yogurts, eggs and tomatoes…” explain Greek authorities concerning the forthcoming major parade in Syntagma, Athens.
“The parade must take place at any cost”: that is the precise mandate given to the police officers by generals, according to certain sources. Nobody will be able to harm the podium where the government officials will be standing.
For the first time there will be only journalists and photographers (with invitations and accreditation by the police) allowed near the podium. Approaching the officials will be forbidden for every other citizen. There will be strong police presence along the parade route, and the most troubling fact is that officers will be carrying with them every means of suppression, such as tear gas, batons and stun-flash grenades, all at their disposal.
The meetings are consecutive for the Ministry of Citizen Protection, and what keeps being repeated is that events similar to those in Thessaloniki must not happen. For that reason, more than 7,000 police officers from Attiki with 40 squads of riot police will be operating in the area of Syntagma.
Only the duty officer, the necessary patrols and guards will be available at local police stations, while DI.AS. and Delta teams will be in full deployment, with a Police helicopter coordinating the investigations by air. From the beginning of the week the State Security and anti-terror police have been decoding suspicious signals and information from right-wing groups or anti-authoritarians who may try to creep into the crowd of people to cause trouble and riots.
Finally, it should be noted that there is a specific plan in the event of episodes, booing, object throwing, etc., for the safe escape of the officials, so that disgraceful images will not be recorded this time.
For the first time, disabled military veterans will not take part in Sunday’s annual parade in Athens commemorating the 1821 War of Independence, in order 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.
They feel betrayed and disgraced by the Greek government, and with this decision they wish to send a strong message of disapproval against the foreign economic “invaders” .
The General Secretary of the Federation of the Disabled War Victims of Epirus and Corfu, Niki Theodorika, announced the veterans’ decision to abstain from that year’s parade in Greek national television (NET).
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.