An unprecedented thing took place today in Greece’s second biggest city, Thessaloniki. For the first time a military parade was cancelled. It was the military parade for the celebration of the 28th of October National Day (the so-called Ohi Day that signalled Greece’s resistance to the Axis in WW II). Hundreds of people gathered near the VIP stand, where the Head of State President Karolos Papoulias and the Minister of Defense Panos Beglitis were seated, and booed them. Among other slogans they were called as traitors, a political manifestation that becomes more and more popular in the past couple of years.
This is a short video of the moment when the Greek President decided to leave the VIP stand.
Moments before he departed from the VIP stand, Karolos Papoulias said “Who can call me a traitor? I fought the Nazis when I was 15 years old. I regret that they chose such a day to demonstrate. They should be ashamed”.
The group of protesters was composed by public employees, members of Syriza political party and other leftist groups, indignant Greeks and several fans of Iraklis FC (who have been protesting for weeks against the relegation of their team to the Fourth Division).
Some parts of the parade managed to walk through the gathered crowd but the military part of the parade was cancelled.
In Athens, the High School students’ parade was also a target of civil irritation. The City of Athens’ Brass Band paraded with black ribbon on their instruments whilst some students decided to turn their head opposite from the VIP stand when they were passing by it. The Mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, said that he will take disciplinary action against the members of the municipality’s band.
In the central Greek city of Trikala one man managed to evade the policemen, approached the local PASOK MP Christos Magoufis and punched him.
According to cretalive.gr, similar reactions took place in cities of the island of Crete. In the island’s capital, Heraklion, citizens threw eggs towards the VIP stand and the local MPs were escorted to the nearby building of the Prefecture.
Greece is one of the last countries in the European Union that is still holding military parades during its National Days of 25 March (Independence from the Ottoman Empire) and 28 October (Resistance against the Axis powers). Last year the Ministry of Defense has estimated the cost of such events. Here’s the analysis:Cost of the 25th March parade: 840.000€ Cost of the 28th October parade: 430.000€