Indignants set to block Parliament
Thousands of protesters from a grassroots movement dubbed the “Indignants” – after a Spanish movement of the same name – have threatened to block MPs from entering Parliament early this morning in a bid to stop a planned review of the government’s midterm fiscal program which foresees a raft of new tax hikes and public sector spending cuts.
The protesters have said that they will form a human chain around the broader area of Parliament, citing three key gathering points for early-bird protesters: Parliament, Evangelismos metro station and the Panathenaic Stadium. The aim of the organizers, who today enter the 22nd day in a row of protests that have seen regular crowds in Syntagma Square, is to stop MPs getting close to Parliament. Later in the day, at 6 p.m., protesters are to meet in the north- ern suburb of Kifissia and march to the home of Prime Minister George Papandreou in nearby Kastri.
Some 3,500 police officers will be on duty in and around Athens today in a bid to stop protests from turning violent. In three weeks of Indignant rallies, there have been no reports of violent incidents – a first for Greek demonstrations, which are often marred by outbreaks of violence. The hard core of the Indignants – a few dozen of whom have set up tents in Syntagma Square and have been organizing public debates – have preached against violence.
According to a poll conducted by Public Issue for Skai, 81 percent of Greeks believe the Indignant protests will continue and 52 percent think they will have an impact. According to the poll, 31 percent said they would take part in upcoming rallies and 39 percent said they would probably not.