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(en) Greek protest against Olympic surveillance

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 23 Jan 2004 21:35:15 +0100 (CET)


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22 January 2004, Athens, Greece: Angry at Security Plans, Protesters
March Against Athens Olympics by Derek Gatopoulos.
Several hundred demonstrators marched through central Athens in
freezing weather Thursday against the Olympics and massive security
measures planned for the Aug. 13-29 Games. Led by a black banner
reading "Destroy Olympics" in English, about 400 people from
anti-globalization and anarchist groups marched to near Greece's
parliament building before dispersing peacefully. Police and riot squads
maintained a low profile during the first such demonstration of its kind.

"We are facing Olympic terrorism," Nikos Yiannopoulos, a protest
organizer, told The Associated Press. "Our fundamental rights are
being trampled on in the name of security," said Yiannopoulos,
speaking during a rare snow shower. "We won't stop our action, not
even in August."

The demonstrators chanted "not one spectator, not one volunteer at the
repression Olympics," and unfurled colorful banners. One displayed the
cartoon-like 2004 mascots, Phevos and Athena, wearing riot police
gear and with the logos of the U.S. companies Coca Cola and
McDonald's on their shields.

Greece, rattled by terrorist attacks in neighboring Turkey last
December, has budgeted more than US$750 million for Olympic
security and will deploy 10,000 soldiers and 40,000 police for the
games. Athens is receiving assistance on security planning from seven
countries, including the United States and Israel, and is working with
the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to gather information on potential
threats around the world. Police insist the measures are vital stop to
Athens becoming a target for international terrorist groups like
al-Qaida and have launched a publicity campaign to win the support of
ordinary Greeks who are traditionally wary of the security services.

Increasingly vocal critics of the measures say surveillance cameras
currently being installed around Athens are unlikely to come down after
the Olympics, and are angry at restrictions planned on street protests
during the games.

"We will be living in a police-run city. The military is being given a new
role ... Athens will look like a war zone, with exclusion areas,
helicopters. We don't want this," said Panos Totsikas, another
organizer. "We want to express our opinions freely. . . . We won't let
our rights be taken away under the pretext of our protection."
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Copied from infoshop.org


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