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Protesters Barred From Greek Student Parade

Ahead of the March 25 Independence Day celebrations,  students paraded on March 24 in downtown Athens although police pushed away protesters from the Spitha (Spark) movement created by composer Mikis Theodorakis who wanted to show their disdain for austerity measures and support for Cyprus as that country is dealing with an economic crisis as well.

Protesters at the lower end of Syntagma Square carried a banner that read United Hellenism: Brothers Greece and Cyprus together but police wouldn’t let them into the march. The demonstrators said they were angry that police blocked off the square in front of the Parliament so no dissension against the government would be voiced.

The Athens city center was sealed off by police and squads of riot police were at the ready to stop any attempt at protesting. Last year, the Independence Day parade was similarly blocked off downtown and by invitation only for VIP’s and officials as the government didn’t want images of protests being seen. The main metro station was closed and will be as well on March 25 to make it difficult for protesters to reach the area.

spitha_rally_390_2403The municipal band was placed where students couldn’t it, or the students so they wouldn’t be able to report on any trouble. When journalists threatened to leave and provide no coverage for the event, the police relented and gave them a more advantageous position. There were reports that even the parents of the children marching weren’t allowed to attend.

The school parade, with the participation of selected schools and colleges, began, in the absence of the Minister of Education, Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos. The government was represented by the Deputy Minister of Education, Theodoros Papatheodorou. The official excuse of the Minister for his absence was that he was at Korytsa for an official visit.

source: greek reporter

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