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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-07-24

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece marks anniversary of 1974 return to democracy
  • [02] Police, firefighters and coastguards stage protest march to parliament
  • [03] Gov't sees solution in sight for ethnic Greeks in Georgia

  • [01] Greece marks anniversary of 1974 return to democracy

    Greece at the weekend marked the anniversary of the country's return to democracy on July 24, 1974 after the fall of a seven-year military dictatorship.

    "Each year on this day the Greek state returns to the point at which democracy began in the form we know today," the president of the republic, Karolos Papoulias, told a reception. "Its significance does not fade with time."

    The country's new president said that the time was also one of commemoration for Cyprus, and would remain so as long as the island republic was divided.

    He noted that poverty, social inequality, unemployment and social exclusion lowered the quality of democracy.

    Setting a precedent, Papoulias for the first time in the annual reception's history invited ordinary people from all walks of life who actively resisted the junta.

    "The state is still endebted to heroes of resistance to the junta, especially the ones who did not end up in public life, who did not gain recognition, or enjoy any privileges, or obtain anything for what they had lost," the president said.

    In a message, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis underlined that the return to democracy had been a collective endeavour that included the entire political spectrum.

    "Today, our (democratic) state is well-grounded and strong. It knows no fear and lies in no jeopardy," Karamanlis said.

    The leader of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement, George Papandreou, noted the social importance of the anniversary in a message on Saturday.

    "We are thinking of the people who fought the junta, the people who stood their ground despite hardship, imprisonment and exile, or even gave their lives for freedom and democracy. They deserve to be honoured as an example to all eras in all struggles for ideals," Papandreou said in a statement.

    The Communist Party of Greece claimed that this year's anniversary found the working class facing a new concerted offensive against their rights that was engineered by the government, the European Union and capitalist bosses while what it called a US-led military dictatorship was waning.

    The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology paid their dues to anonymous opponents of the dictatorship, noting that the political left had taken a leading role in fighting the junta, which eventually led to the restoration of democracy.

    Parliament speaker Anna Benaki-Psarouda said Greece had shown major progress since the return of democracy, but complacency should be avoided.

    [02] Police, firefighters and coastguards stage protest march to parliament

    Police, firefighters and coastguards from all ranks staged a protest march to parliament on Sunday, complaining of poor treatment at the hands of the state.

    The marchers left a resolution in parliament that called for improvement in the workings of the three services so that new European Union and government rules on security could be implemented.

    Among demands were a restructuring of the three forces, a return to their jobs of sacked trade unionists, new recruitment, a hazard to health and safety bonus, a new pay scale, and a hike of 140-euro hike in base pay.

    [03] Gov't sees solution in sight for ethnic Greeks in Georgia

    Greece has made repeated complaints to Georgian authorities about the plight of ethnic Greeks in the country who fear armed assault and destruction or loss of their property by marauding gangs but the situation appears to be improving, Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis said at the weekend.

    "We are moving towards an appropriate solution," Skandalakis told a meeting of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) in Thessaloniki.

    A total of 1,700 ethnic Greek families concentrated in 24 villages in Tsalka have stepped up calls for protection for their persons and property since eight of their number were killed, among them a 19-year-old, in brutal attacks by armed gangs that have gained momemtum over the last two years.

    The SAE's president, Andrew Athens, asked the organisation's board to buy 10 patrol jeeps for the area, saying that he and two deputy presidents would buy the first four.

    The head of the Federation of Hellenic Communities of Georgia, Kyriakos Iordanidis, said that the Georgian government had shown a willingness to help for the first time in eight years of attacks, including replacement of a local police chief and tighter policing.


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