After the protest-ridden year of 2012 – there were 5,600 demonstrations, most against austerity measures – the Greek government wants to control them and limit their influence to prevent disruption to the city’s center by small-scale organizings.
Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias is due to meet union representatives on May 28 to discuss plans to reduce the impact of small protests and has proposed a plan in which demonstrations with 100-150 people wouldn’t lead to roads being closed.
Massive protests that had drawn as many as 100,000 people angry over pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions have waned and there is little social unrest anymore even though the government is imposing more austerity measures on the orders of international lenders putting up up $325 billion in two bailouts to prop up the floundering economy.
Dendias is to explain the government’s intentions to the heads of the country’s two largest unions, ADEDY and GSEE. Last year, 661 of the protests took place in the center of Athens, drawing complaints from shopowners who had to close their businesses frequently to prevent damage from rioters.
According to police estimates, about 400 of the protest held in the city center had less than 100 participants. Dendias wants to introduce 15 criteria according to which authorities will decide if protesters have a right to block traffic.