Bid to fill squares with pro­test­ers

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Sev­eral on­line ini­tia­tives are ap­peal­ing to dis­en­chanted Greeks to flock to the main squares of their cities this af­ter­noon and protest the reper­cus­sions of the gov­ern­ment’s aus­ter­ity drive on jobs and qual­ity of life.

Im­i­tat­ing a suc­cess­ful anti-aus­ter­ity cam­paign by Span­ish demon­stra­tors – chiefly young peo­ple – that has filled Madrid’s main Puerta del Sol Square with crowds for more than a week, the Greek groups are us­ing so­cial net­work­ing sites such as Face­book to drum up sup­port.

One of the groups, called “The Ex­as­per­ated of Syn­tagma,” calls on Athe­ni­ans to gather in cen­tral Syn­tagma Square out­side Par­lia­ment be- tween 6 and 11.30 p.m. to­day. The Span­ish protests have been rather more rad­i­cal, with most pro­test­ers camp­ing overnight in squares where chem­i­cal toi­lets have been set up.

An es­ti­mated 5,000 peo­ple are ex­pected to at­tend the Athens gather­ing and have no in­ten­tion of caus­ing any trou­ble, the or­ga­niz­ers say. “We want to rally peace­fully and spon­ta­neously, sim­ply to de­clare our peace­ful protest,” the or­ga­niz­ers said in a state­ment.

An­other group, “The Ex­as­per­ated of the White Tower,” has ap­pealed to res­i­dents of Thes­sa­loniki to gather un­der the city land­mark to­day. The rally in the north­ern port city is ex­pected to at- tract a larger turnout, in ex­cess of 8,000, ac­cord­ing to con­fir­ma­tions of at­ten­dance on Face­book.

A third group, with the more rous­ing name of “Pa­tras Greek Revo­lu­tion,” plans to gather some 3,000 demon­stra­tors in the west­ern port’s cen­tral Ge­or­giou Square. This group, too, has de­clared its op­po­si­tion to vi­o­lence and has held up the on­go­ing Span­ish protest as a model for Greeks to em­u­late.

“Let us start a peace­ful revo­lu­tion in our city, be­yond po­lit­i­cal par­ties, with­out up­heaval, masks and vi­o­lence, fol­low­ing the foot­steps of our Span­ish brothers and sis­ters,” a state­ment by the group said.

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