Friday, March 23, 2012

Greece's government fears an orange revolt

With Greek Independence day almost upon them the country's political elite has decided to put on its bravest face and take part in the military parade that marks the event. However, the rare public appearance by so many government officials is a security nightmare as the authorities are faced with the possibility that enraged voters will take the opportunity to once more attack politicians as happened a few weeks back on the Greek island of Rhodes.

As a result nothing is being taken to chance in the run up to this weekend's parades in Athens. Local media reports on the number of police and secret service personnel on duty vary from 4,500 to 13,000, with anything up to 3000 riot police on standby ready to intervene with tear gas in case of trouble.

Evacuation plans for government officials have been drafted and the orange trees that line boulevards of central Athens are being stripped of their fruit lest they be used to pelt cabinet members. The police have warned that they will be carrying out random bag checks and anyone found in possession of eggs, tomatoes or yogurt could face arrest.

Even the media have come under closer scrutiny as the Greek government has demanded that only those accredited by Athens city council be allowed access to the parades, an unprecedented move.

The draconian security measures are designed to avoid a repetition of the PR debacle suffered by the previous Papandreou government during 28th October military parade in the northern port city of Thessaloniki when the president was forced to flee the VIP stand after angry protesters temporarily shut down the parade.

While no one knows how Sunday will play out the potential for conflict is extremely high as an angry electorate, feeling betrayed by its political rulers comes face to face with those they feel responsible for their present plight. darker voices even talk of deliberate provocation, with the idea that scenes of violent clashes will allow the present government to put off elections and so avoid a humiliating defeat at the polls.

I will be present in Syntagma Square on Sunday and whatever happens I will try my best to record it both on video and in photographs.

1 comment:

ariadne said...

So you are going to the big parade!Bytheway sour oranges make great jam!That's maybe why they gathered them!LOL!AriadnefromGreece!