Following an initiative on the social networks, an appeal was sent out to surfers to flock to the main squares of their cities in Greece this afternoon and protest over 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 used social networking sites such as Facebook and Tweeter to drum up support for this move.
One of the groups, called “The Exasperated of Syntagma,” on Monday began to call out to Athenians to gather in central Syntagma Square outside Parliament between 18:00 and 23.30 tonight. In less than a few hours after they loaded the event, several thousands of citizens committed to take part, but then for unknown reasons the page was abruptly deleted from Facebook. Nonetheless the administrators apparently uploaded a new page and in less than 30 hours the group was able to amass more than 21,000 new attendees. The removal of the page made headlines on most morning news programs in Greece, and was even rumoured to have been reported on CNN as well.
Thousands are expected to attend the Athens gathering, but there are similar gatherings happening all over the country, in almost every major city, the largest being Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra.
The protest organizers said on their event page in Facebook that they want to rally peacefully and spontaneously.
“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.
They did note, however, that some may try to disorientate the protest and warned participants not to listen. “It necessary to emphasize that this movement is a simple people’s initiative and has nothing to do with members of any kind of organization.”