NEWS

Thousands gather to protest in central Athens

Thousands of protestors have gathered in Athens?s main Syntagma Square for a demonstration, along the lines of similar rallies being held in Spain, against austerity measures.

Protestors gathered from about 6 p.m. in Athens and the crowd had swelled to several thousand people by early evening. The protest remained peaceful, as participants demonstrated against the country?s politicians in front of Parliament.

Demonstrators held up a banner in front of the House reading: «We are awake! What time is it? It’s time for them to go!”

Similar protests are being held in Thessaloniki and Patra.

Imitating a successful anti-austerity campaign by Spanish demonstrators – chiefly young people – that has filled Madrid?s main Puerta del Sol Square with crowds for more than a week, the Greek groups used social networking sites such as Facebook to drum up support.

One of the groups, called ?The Indignant of Syntagma,? called on Athenians to gather in central Syntagma Square between 6 and 11.30 p.m. on Wednesday.

?We want to rally peacefully and spontaneously, simply to declare our peaceful protest,? the organizers said in a statement.

Another group, ?The Indignant of the White Tower,? appealed to residents of Thessaloniki to gather under the city landmark on Wednesday.

A third group, with the more rousing name of ?Patras Greek Revolution,? called for demonstrators to gather in the western port?s central Georgiou Square. This group, too, has declared its opposition to violence and has held up the ongoing Spanish protest as a model for Greeks to emulate.

?Let us start a peaceful revolution in our city, beyond political parties, without upheaval, masks and violence, following the footsteps of our Spanish brothers and sisters,? a statement by the group said.