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Mayor and actor is the star of the series against tolls

12 January 2011 / 16:01:28  GRReporter
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The court in Lamia released the Mayor of Stilida Apostolos Gletsos who was arrested yesterday for stopping public transport and damaging other people’s property. As it became clear the case on the second charge will be held in April.  

Hundreds of residents and supporters of the movement against toll payments gathered today in front of the Courthouse in Lamia to support the mayor.

Their shouts, slogans and applause greeted and congratulated Gletsos Apostolos. He was taken to court to give evidence before the prosecutor in connection with the allegations filed against him yesterday. Some of the people were excited so much that they lit smoke bombs. The mayor who wasn’t handcuffed greeted the people that had gathered to support him with the words "I love you." Shops as well as municipal and public offices in Stilida remained closed today as a sign of solidarity with the mayor.

The police arrested Apostolos Gletsos yesterday after the protest against toll payments in the region of Stilida he had personally headed. He spent the night in custody as it was impossible to be brought before the prosecutor yesterday afternoon because of the huge rally in his support held in front of the Courthouse in Lamia.

About 50 residents of Stilida raised the barriers at the tills of tolls to Pelasgia and left the area very late last night. Municipal Council held an emergency meeting and issued a protest resolution later in the afternoon.

As it became clear, the mayor was in his office in the municipality where he informed his associates that he would go home to change his clothes and would come back. According to his neighbours, he was arrested at 3:15 pm near his house where four police patrol cars awaited him.  

The mayor together with municipal officials from Stilida dismantled on Monday the road railings the concessionaire company had mounted to force the people from the region to use the highway instead of the side municipal roads. Residents said that tills of tolls split the municipality in two and they are forced to pay a fee of 2.60 euros a few times a day, even when they go to their fields from home and back.

The reaction of the mayor and the residents did not prevent the company to mount the road railings late at night, referring to the safety of drivers moving along this road section.

On Tuesday morning Apostolos Gletsos and a group of municipal officials restored the access to municipal roads. Several hours later the police arrested the mayor following "the orders of the prosecutor."

Until recently, residents of Stilida used cards supplied by the concessionaire company to pass through the tills of tolls for free. However, they expired yesterday and nothing was done for their renewal. The protests against the arrest of the mayor, however, had effect and the Ministry of Transport announced late last night that the concessionaire will provide the municipality 1000 cards to be allocated to the residents of the city.

At the same time, no steps are being taken for the obligatory construction of side roads for the residents to move freely without being forced to use the highway. According to experts from the Ministry of Transport, the conditions of some of the expropriations that have to be made are not beneficial to the state.

The mayor, however, argues that the construction of side roads is an obligation included in the concession contract. "The fact that expropriations are unprofitable is just an excuse because there are municipal roads," he said and insisted on the construction of junction because the particular road section was very dangerous.

Until his election as mayor of his hometown Stilida few months ago Apostolos Gletsos was known to Greek audience as an actor and in most cases he played the absolute male. He ran and was elected councilor with the bulletin of the Communist Party four years ago but his mandate was revoked due to frequent absences from the meetings of the municipal council. He was elected mayor the last November as an independant candidate and took over his new duties on January 1st.

Tags: PoliticsSocietyMayorToll feesStilidaProtestApostolos GletsosHighways
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