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Smoke, loud music and populism for Independent Greeks against a weak meeting but with immigrants for PASOK

05 May 2012 / 00:05:04  GRReporter
5646 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova 

Fiery speeches, smoke bombs, lights, powerful music and strong slogans marked the end of the short but very intense pre-election period in Greece. The centre of Athens became a theatre in which two politicians chose two symbolic places to send their last message to those who had not yet decided for whom they will vote.

Still at the exit of the underground, at least seven people met the passengers and handed them campaign leaflets of the Independent Greeks’ candidates for deputies. After collecting a whole package, half of which fell onto the pavement, they headed to the motley crowd in the pedestrian street Dionisiou Areopagitou at the foothills, and in front of, the new Acropolis Museum.

The majority of them were carrying the Greek national flag in their hands as well as small flags with the logo of the party. A song praising the homeland was sounding, which was occasionally interrupted by the slogan, uttered in an emotional voice by the party member hosting the meeting of the party. People were standing in the street, the most ardent being in front of the rostrum. Some were standing in the nearby gardens so as to be able to see their inspirer from a short distance.

"Now, let's meet the leader of Independent Greeks Panos Kamenos," he shouted into the microphone and his voice was immediately covered by the cheers of several hundred supporters of the party. "Christ is risen," said the leader and the people underneath responded in one voice with the familiar "Truly He is risen." Then, he delivered the slogan, "We are many. We are independent. We are Greeks." and repeated it many times thereafter. It was amazing how many times he used the word "Greeks" in his speech.

Panos Kamenos said that the particular location of the last party meeting was not chosen by coincidence. "Here, Aristotle and Plato talked about morality. Well, we are the ones who will bring it back to the country today. The Acropolis and the Parthenon are the future and the house of one of those who stole public money through offshore companies is the past," he said referring to the luxury property in neoclassical style, which sent former minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and his wife behind bars.

Hoarse because of the continuous speeches, which he usually gives in a rather loud voice, Panos Kamenos accused PASOK and New Democracy of having passed Greece into the hands of "foreigners" and stated emphatically that the country is not for sale.

His words, "On Sunday, Greece will rise" was followed by continuous chanting of the name of the country. "Initially, they said we are communists, then – far left, and then – the "tail" of PASOK, etc. What they should know is that we are just Greeks and even if only one of us lives, our country cannot be put at stake."

"Traitors, traitors," cried the supporters of the party when the leader said that some had called the party dangerous. "Yes, we are dangerous to those who stole, put Greece at stake, and deprived our children of their dreams. Let them prepare their aeroplanes and helicopters, because they will be declared persona non grata in Greece on Sunday night." A wave of applause, approval, whistles and light bombs engulfed the people.

At the same time, the heart of Athens was preparing to host the central election meeting of PASOK. All streets around Syntagma Square were closed and police officers were deployed in every corner. The groups of elderly people with the familiar green flags with the symbol of PASOK - the sun, could not even fill half of the space occupied by participants in a mid-size protest.

Around 1500 participants filled only the middle of the square, where at least two giant screens were placed for all to see the leader, not only to hear his voice.

He appeared at the top of the stairs and went down to the square, greeted by enthusiastic cheers, applause, and a hail of pieces of green tinfoil, torches and lots of smoke.

Evangelos Venizelos addressed the supporters of his party with the phrase "citizens of Athens" and thanked them for the "exciting reception." It was obviously intended to relate him with the grandfather of former Prime Minister George Papandreou and his historic address, "People of Athens." The leader of the green urged all to vote for his party, "not for an independent government but for an independent Greece."

During the speech, some tried to hold up a white panel in protest, but their attempt was very quickly thwarted. Associates of the candidates for deputies were walking among the people, giving then their election cards and brochures. Evangelos Venizelos's predecessor at the helm of the party, George Papandreou, did not attend the meeting. However, there was the Minister of Citizen Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis, whose face expressed strong determination.

Among the surprises of the meeting was a group of dark supporters who were readily waving the party flags. Many of the attending journalists and photographers asked if there was a direct bus route from the detention centre for illegal immigrants in Amigdaleza to Syntagma Square.

When they left following the order of a fellow of theirs, some passers-by took their cameras and phones to video them. "What is there to video?" said irritably a "green" agitator to get the denouncing answer "What? PASOK voters, of course."




Tags: PoliticsPolitical meetingsIndependent GreeksPASOKPopulsmImmigrants
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