NEWS

Nafplion security and nonsense

As a 2,000-strong police force prepared to confront the first anti-globalization protests of the Greek presidency during a European Union ministerial meeting that opens today in Nafplion, on the lighter side yesterday the government issued a puzzling message to foreign officials expected in the northeastern Peloponnesian town. Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas, who is hosting the two-day informal meeting of EU labor ministers, sent a letter to his colleagues in English using words of Greek origin – or transliterations. «The Hellenic Presidency has synchronized its program, enthusiasm and idiosyncrasy with the European Commission to organize this semantic and not ephemeral synod of European politicians in the philoxenous Nafplion,» the missive read. The location, Reppas said, «is a geographical paradise of archaeological and historical sites with cryptic charismas.» The meeting starts at 3 p.m, at the Nafplia Palace Hotel – the former Xenia – on the city’s medieval citadel of Acronafplia, which will be off limits to members of the public until Saturday. Some 2,000 officers, including riot police contingents, fire brigade rescue teams and explosives experts will be on duty, while tough security measures will be enforced tomorrow, when Greek anti-globalization groups, left-wing parties and unions are planning demonstrations. Although organizers say the protests will be peaceful, Nafplion shopkeepers who fear riots have decided to keep their businesses shut during the conference, with the exception of restaurant and cafeteria owners. The main protest is set for 6 p.m. tomorrow. A separate demonstration will be held by police, coast guard and fire brigade unionists who want higher overtime pay.