In the last decade, about 45.000 marches were recorded in the capital, out of a total of 60.000 held throughout the country!
At the same time, during the same period, the general strikes (strikes and work stoppages) reached 65. Of these, 44 were General Strikes and the rest were general strike strikes.
The mobilizations and rallies were carried out by GSEE in coordination with ADEDY, while PAME proceeded to rallies on the same days.
According to the data of the General Police Directorate of Attica, the record number of demonstrations, approximately 11.400, was recorded in the first year of the memorandum. That is, in 2010.
The lowest number of marches is observed in 2017, when they fell in 1920.
Since last year, the mobilizations have increased again, exceeding 3.500, while this year -without total data as the year is not closed- the demonstrations reached 2.540.
Particularly active are the retirees, who since the beginning of 2018 have carried out 160 mobilizations.
However, the issue of demonstrations is not one-dimensional and is a challenge for the government and the local government, the unions and the collective bodies.
On the one hand, it is pointed out that in addition to the right to assemble, there is also the right to traffic and work.
The provocation of a traffic "heart attack" in the city does not have as its only result the suffering of the citizens.
The impact on the economic life of the city is serious, as workers are unable to get to work on time, the turnover of commercial stores is falling, while tourism, which has now risen sharply in the capital, is in danger of being hit.
On the other hand, it is emphasized that employees, retirees, students and socially sensitive groups do not demonstrate out of a hobby.
Especially during the period of painful memorandum measures.
In fact, trade unionists say that even those who express their dissatisfaction with the consequences of the protest rallies, such as small and medium-sized traders and shopkeepers, and even the police, who do not stop working, are holding rallies.
The είχε street had its own story
In 2001, about 20 years ago, the current Minister of Civil Protection and then Minister of Public Order, Michalis Chrysochoidis, promoted a bill for the demarcation of roads, which, however, did not acquire the force of law.
After three years, Byron Polydoras from the same position, reiterated the need for a new law on demonstrations, which -also- was not promoted.
The plan did not provide penalties for violators, ie for those who blocked the road with demonstrations of less than 500 people.
However, it gave the right to those who are financially damaged by demonstrations to go to court by filing lawsuits against organizations or specific protesters for compensation.
In 2013 the issue was raised again by the then Minister of Civil Protection and current Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias.
It was a regulation with restrictions on demonstrations of less than 200 participants in cities with a population of more than 100.000 and would apply throughout the year and not just during the tourist season, as originally considered.
What will apply to the marches
According to information, the government's orientation is to consider various alternative management models of the issue, depending on the volume of demonstrations, as follows:
- The very small demonstrations should take place on the sidewalk, so as not to impede the movement of vehicles.
- Small lanes should be limited to one lane so that traffic on the main arteries is not interrupted.
- Large-scale demonstrations should follow a specific route, in order to make it easier for the Police to manage the traffic of the vehicles or to designate a specific place for the gathering.
The government spokesman, Stelios Petsas, stated that in the coming weeks and certainly before Christmas, there will be a consultation with all stakeholders with the aim that in the next period - either by the end of this year or from the beginning of 2020 - there will be bill, which will establish a new framework for marches "based on the ability of citizens to demonstrate if they wish, without everyone suffering."
The Athenians are divided
Athenians are divided over the government-sponsored regulation to curb protests and marches in the city center. The majority, however, of the citizens with whom Athens 9.84 spoke are against the vandalism and the incidents, talking about unauthorized destruction and hatred of the mobilizations by anarchists. At the same time, those who oppose the introduction of restrictive measures express the fear that their right to claim will be lost in the future and that the right to freedom of speech is being violated.
Respect from all
The commercial world judges the measure of restricting the demonstrations and marches in the center of the city in the right direction.
"Really respecting the rights of all social groups in the strike and the demonstration, we say that they must also respect our right to work," the 9.84 states in Athens. Nikos Kougioumtzis its vice-president Athens Chamber of Commerce.
"2-3 years ago we counted 900 marches and rallies in the center of Athens in a year and a half. We believe that the small marches of 100-150 people should be done in a traffic lane and of course the even smaller ones on the sidewalk "adds Mr. Kougioumtzis. "The commercial world believes that the measure is in the right direction and that its implementation will boost the entrepreneurship of the city, which has been hit by the economic crisis for ten years. It has also been affected by the insecurity that citizens feel in the city center, let alone an additional factor which is the marches and which, to a certain extent, are responsible for reducing consumption in the center of Athens. "All institutions and the police must properly manage the demonstrations and marches."
Dialogue is needed
"We can not talk about restriction of constitutionally guaranteed rights, such as that of protest, of claiming the collective. All these issues are settled and resolved at the table of social dialogue, which has not even begun. "The organized trade union movement is always in a collaboration with the authorities, before any mobilization", stressed Mr. Dimitris Karageorgopoulos, Press and Communication Secretary of GSEE. «We make sure that the necessary measures are taken so that there is no inconvenience because we are also employees and we understand the anguish of traders, small and medium-sized enterprises, and their inconvenience. However, the phenomenon of disproportionate measures of order has been observed, such as the exclusion of entire building blocks for a very small concentration, and this is what worries us. We can not get into business issues, but it is something that worries us, there is no discussion on it. "Possibly in the next period and when this dialogue opens, if the state wants to open it and does not want to bring it with fast track procedures, to the parliament and to bring us before accomplished events, it is something we will put". As stated by Mr. Karageorgopoulos, "It is the obligation of the unions to respond to any call for issues that concern both the competence and the institutional responsibility that we have. I tell you at the outset that we disagree with the way in which this sensitive social issue is being attempted to enter the public debate, and we are also suspicious. "
"There must be respect for the protests and we must respect the struggle of the workers when they are wronged by government measures. The bill should be flexible in terms of the rules it will set. The government must enter into a dialogue before submitting any bill ", the president of the Panhellenic Federation of Police Officers also stressed at our station, Gregory Gerakarakos.
He asked the question: Who will count the number of people gathered to judge if a gathering is small, adding that it is not right for 100 people to block the road. He noted that πmany governments seek the episodes so that society and pοthe demands of the employees. "When you do not guard a demonstration, fair demands are lost and the trade union movement is charged for the incidents," he concluded.
PAME: The government applies the doctrine of law and order
"What is certain is that ND does not intend to become a traffic warden. The government applies the doctrine of law and order, going hand in hand with anti-popular policy. "They are not cut for the interests of small entrepreneurs, the self-employed in the center of Athens, who, after all, experience the consequences of the policy of SYRIZA and ND very well in their own skin," said Mr. Nikos Mavrokefalos, member of Executive Secretariat of PAME and the Administration of EKA. "ND" he continued "wants to slander the workers' popular struggles. He wants to throw the ball on the podium, to say that the struggles of the workers and their demands are to blame and not this anti-popular policy. That is why he is trying to incriminate the workers' and people's struggles as a whole and not just to manage the presence of small or large mobilizations ".
Asked whether PAME will participate in a consultation on the marches, following a government invitation, Mr. Mavrokefalos replied: "The recent experience in January 2018, when SYRIZA passed the law against strikes and the previous period, when its government ND brought the law on trade unions, found interlocutors from the point of view of workers, the "working fathers" we would say, found in GSEE such trade unionists willing to sit at the table to discuss which of the labor and trade union rights will be lost. PAME is not such a force and it is not no because we have some obsession, we are not obsessed with a reality that is taking shape, but we seek to be substantial towards the problems of the employees and what will be the perspective, the way out ". He concludes that "there is an attempt to incriminate workers' struggles and claims against the just demands of workers and this is what must be fought, in our opinion."
Can a march be banned?
The Constitution, the laws and the rights
«First of all, a course can be abductedρis it straight? Greeks have the right to assemble quietly and without weapons. It does not existe restriction in the Constitution in this regard. What is provided by the Constitution, however, is to be able tois by law to be determined, with a reasoned decision of the police not to take a march, if there is a serious danger to public safety ", notes in our station Mr. Giannis Karouzos, labor expert .
Continuing, he emphasizes that "on this, many efforts were made by Mr. Chrysochoid in 2001 and by Mr. Polydoras, when he was Minister of Public Order to amendplegislative decree, which has been in force in our country since 1971, during the junta, that is, where, with the invocation of this legislative decree, even recently it has been invoked and implemented, marches in the center of Athens have been banned, mainly when leaders come. This need to change the legislative decree is a necessity that from time to time legal science highlightsκνύει. It does not mean, however, that today a procession cannot take place in the center.
Which are the issues that arise in such a case? That is, when there are other individual rights, in addition to the right to participate in a course, which is called the right of assembly, the right to go to work, to open my shop as an entrepreneur. So these are the rights that in the same period of time that a course evolves, evolves and develops as well.
There is no priority in defending the rights in the Constitution. So there has to be a balance. I believe that balancing also has to do with the way the course is conducted, it has to do with the principle of proportionality and it has to do with the importance for the employee to participate in a course, as long as there is a legal right to abstain from work, such as the strike "he concludedMr. Karouzos.