04 May 2010

Greeks Beseige Acropolis

Louisa Gouliamaki/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images (via NY Times)

AOL News has the archaeopop headline of the day: "Greeks Beseige Acropolis". Some Communist protesters against the Greek government's austerity plan decided to get themselves some unforgettable media via a banner drop below the Parthenon. Reactions were mixed:
ATHENS, Greece (May 4) -- As thousands of workers spilled onto the streets of the Greek capital to protest new austerity measures, some 200 communist supporters swarmed the Acropolis, Greece's most sacrosanct archaeological site, and unfurled banners reading: "People of Europe -- Rise up."

The scene at the most important symbol of ancient Athenian democracy didn't leave just onlooking tourists aghast. "I'm a communist, but this is a disgrace," said Aliki Rizopoulou, phoning in to a radio talk show early today. "There's nothing catchy about having foreigners seeing us as wacky on top of being considered liars and cheaters."

Minutes after protesters lined up along the defensive walls of the Acropolis, they began picketing before the Parthenon, wielding red flags and shouting anti-government slogans for more than three hours before a state prosecutor ordered them to leave and riot police escorted them off the grounds.
Interesting reactions - the Parthenon has such a religious character in contemporary Greek identity that even some Communists are uncomfortable with the gesture. Happily, no tourists were interfered with. The AP has a short video with more on the context of the protests, with lots of loving closeups of booze, cigarettes, and gasoline!

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