The Perils of Syntagma

8 Nov

GREECE/Not to draw too crude of a comparison with an American election free of violence, but Athens looks – and smells – plain ugly.

Earlier on Wednesday, thousands of people gathered in front of the Parliament building to protest against new cuts to the country’s budget. Demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at security forces. At least 100 people have been arrested in Athens following the protest.

A bus stop and kiosk were set on fire, according to RT correspondent Peter Oliver, who was at the scene. A deluge of water was used to douse the flames.

At least 100,000 protesters are estimated to be gathered in front of the Parliament building.

“Protesters are fighting a running battle… It’s an Athens urban warzone… I can barely see,” Oliver said.

"There are huge flash bangs near Syntagma Square. Protesters are chanting for bread and freedom – they’re accusing Greece of being a dictatorship," he continued.



The second day of the nationwide strike, which is expected to last for the rest of the week, has seen most of the country brought to a standstill. Hospitals are working with skeleton crews, while media broadcasts and publications were halted until further notice after journalists joined the strikers.

Public sector employees are supporting the protests, with some malodorous results.

Public transport in Athens was out of service for a second day, although the metro was running partial services to ferry protesters into the city centre. Pharmacies were closed and rubbish collectors joined other civil servants including post office and museum workers on the strike, leaving the streets of Athens littered with garbage bags.

I have a friend who’s planning to leave on a junket to Athens and Istanbul next week. He should stay in Turkey.


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