Greeks rise in protest against war

A large crowd, estimated by police at over 150,000 people, marched to the US Embassy in Athens yesterday to protest against the Iraq war, with smaller demonstrations in other Greek cities. More demonstrations are planned for today, when Athens is expected to come to a standstill as transport workers hold stoppages to demonstrate their opposition to the war. Two rallies were held yesterday in central Athens, by a Communist Party-affiliated peace group at the Propylaia and by the independent leftist Greek Social Forum in Syntagma Square, attended by large groups of schoolchildren. The two crowds merged during the march to the US Embassy, where minor scuffles broke out when some demonstrators threw sticks, eggs and oranges at police. A number of people stayed outside the embassy until evening, and dozens of non-governmental organizations met in the city center, lighting candles and flaming torches. In Thessaloniki, about 13,000 people marched to the US Consulate, where they burnt an American flag. Another 2,000 people demonstrated in Hania, on the island of Crete, and a large crowd of 7,000 in Volos had to make do with marching on the local McDonalds fast-food outlet to protest US policy. Other protests were held in Corfu, to the British Consulate, and other towns, including Tripolis, Larissa, Lamia and Florina. Athens Transport will be disrupted today: the Athens-Kifissia will shut down between noon and 4 p.m., buses, trolley buses and taxis will strike between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Stores will close between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) and the civil servants’ union (ADEDY) have called a work stoppage for noon until 3 p.m. Other unions that have called work stoppages are the high school teachers’ federations (including private schools and institutes), civil aviation federations, state hospital doctors and air traffic controllers. Olympic Airways and Aegean Airlines will be making changes to their flight schedules.

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