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18 March 2006

Put The Bomb Down Slowly

Athens schoolchildren demonstration against the war in Iraq

Passing by Vassilissis Sofias today (on our way to the Parko Eleftherias) we noticed the street being blocked from traffic. Next thing we saw were about 15 light armored police transport busses in front of the american embassy. That's the place where a lot of demonstrations end up these days, and a lot of demonstrations in Athens end with a battle between the cops and some radicals...

police transports in front of
the american embassy

So, time to have a good lookout, no need to get beaten up or chemically attacked. We poked our heads around the corner, and sure enough, to our left was the demonstration coming along. Everything looked peacefull, so we passed them by on the other side of the street.

shoolchildren in Athens demonstrating 
the american war in Iraq

The demonstration was rather small. We estimated around 300 participants (maybe +/- a hundred, I haven't got that much experience in counting crowds). There were some small leftist political groups, some arab groups, and some students. Nobody looked like trouble or wanting to be beaten up. On the other side there must have been about that many policemen around. There were the ones on the picture (in and around their transport busses), then a lot of them in the sidestreets. And another bunch was following the demonstration on the empty avenue. Even a police helicopter was circling the scene. A cop for each participant. I don't want to know what this all must have cost.

The demonstrators carried various posters declaring their stance against the war. Lot's of "Bush is the Number One Terrorist", lot's of "Send Karamanlis to war" (Mr. Karamanlis being the Greek prime minister, therefore expressing their discontent with the close relationship of Greece's government to the USA and the war). Personally I think describing Bush as the Number One Terrorist is wrong, he's more like the doped up sock puppet of the People Who Have The Power. Another poster read "Put The Bomb Down Slowly". For anyone not watching Greek television, we had a TV spot for PayTV that was a huge success and sank deep into current language use. The spot shows a scene in a provincial greek village. A filthy thief just stole two chicken and runs away. The village policeman spots him and runs behind him. At one point the country cop grabs his gun and calls out to the thief to stop, he then proceeds in english with a heavy greek accent: "Put the Cots down slowly!" The main point of the joke being the accent and such a country cop speaking any english at all.

I don't think the anti-war message sunk in with anybody in the US embassy, if there was someone watching at all. To me this little demonstration under a huge police guard showed how ashamed both the american and the greek government should be. The americans should think about the world they are creating. Where they have to ask a country that hosts their diplomatic mission to produce hundreds of policemen with clubs to protect them against some schoolchildren. Where schoolchildren find it necessary to go on the street to protest the situation. The greek government should be ashamed that they have to put as many cops on the street as demonstrators, all for such a theater. But I guess you don't end up in any government if you are easily ashamed.

Posted by betabug at 22:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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