NEWS

Fines for party at Athens square to stand

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Fines imposed on members of the Pakistani community who gathered at Syntagma Square to celebrate the New Year without wearing masks will not be cancelled, Citizens’ Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos said Monday.

The minister was responding to a letter from the president of the Cultural Community of Greece-Pakistan, Syed Mohammad Jamil, appealing for a write-off of the fines for several reasons, including that the gathering was spontaneous and not organized, participants did not know the City of Athens had cancelled all celebrations at Syntagma, and the members of the community left peacefully after being informed of this by police.

“We will not cancel any fines imposed by the Hellenic Police on members of the Pakistani community during New Year’s Eve on Syntagma for not wearing masks. Laws are laws and apply to all, even if the presence of these people was spontaneous,” the minister said in a social media post.

Footage on social media, mainly TikTok, showed hundreds of people without masks flouting safety protocols.

The Greek Forum of Migrants said that it started informing its members with messages posted on Facebook in Greek, English and Arabic from December 29 about the restrictions introduced last week, stressing that any event or party in a private or public place is prohibited and that masks should be worn outdoors.

“We condemn the non-use of a mask,” Khalid Mughal, president of the Pakistan Journalist Club (Regd.) Greece, told Kathimerini.

He added that there had been no official invitations from migrant unions or organizations, and no organized gathering had been planned to celebrate in Syntagma Square. 

“We are always vigilant and informing our community about the coronavirus,” he said, noting, however, that not all the migrants at Syntagma were from just one country.