Hope is the only word that can describe the feeling that everyone acquired at yesterday’s protest in the Greek capital. People from all walks of life, young and old, joined their voices and protested peacefully in an unprecendented event. Apart from Athens, protests were also held in Thessaloniki, Zante, Patra, Larissa, Volos, Rethymno and Chania, etc..
Young people, mothers with small children, grandparents, families, people with their pets, thousands of cyclists protested peacefully, danced and chanted slogans in an unique rally for the Greek standards, that included music, chanting, debates and lots of electricity.
More than 70,000 people crowded into and around Syntagma Square closing off the streets of Fillelinon, Amalias, Mitropoleos and others and demonstrated peacefully, chanting, “Thieves, thieves” asking the prime minister to take his mother and run and making hand gestures at the lawmakers in Parliament.
Slogans such as “Greece belongs to the Greeks”, “The people don’t want you so take the memorandum and leave” predominated the gathering along with others, less or more inventive.
The few banners in the crowds showed a black helicopter and say “Out” and the other reads “We have woken up. What time is it? Time for them to leave!”
After yesterday’s protests, thousands of people are due to gather again in city centres again today. Social networking sites have been abuzz with discussions about yesterday’s protest and people have been invited to return to Syntagma Square from 6 p.m. tonight to keep up the pressure on politicians over austerity measures and the quality of life in Greece.
Protests of these are indeed rare for Greece as they are not linked to a particular party or political philosophy and not organized by labor unions.
In fact when workers from the Public Power Coroporation (DEH), (who were also striking in another part of the downtown area) decided to join the march and lift a large canvas citing their opposition to the government’s decision on the privatisation of the company, the people became very angry and began to boo them.
Also and just before 21:00, a group of anarchists tried to “crash” the protest and began to approach the crowd, but again the crowd got angry and began jeering them and they were kept far from penetrating the peaceful event, by simple citizens who formed a human wall.
The protests were organized using social networking sites including Facebook and Tweeter, following the example of the Spanish campaign that has been driven largely by young people.
“The Indignant of Syntagma Square” and “The Indignant of the White Tower,” in a reference to the Thessaloniki landmark, were the names used, adopted Spain’s, Los Indignados. Unlike their Spanish counterparts, though, many of whom have been camping out in central squares for days, most Greek demonstrators did not camp out all night and by 7:00 am Syntagma square was completely empty.
The first gathering of “indignant” people was indeed successful. Just imagine, in less than two days they managed to gather more than 70,000 people to Syntagma and God knows how many others across the country. If there wasn’t a time limit on those facebook announcements then we would be talking about a vigil of hundreds of thousands outside of the Greek parliament yesterday.
This is the beginning… the Greek people have just begun to speak…