Unhindered parade graces national holiday

The strong presence of police with measures mirroring those of the previous national holiday, on March 25, allowed for the military parade in Thessaloniki to go unhindered in the presence of President Karolos Papoulias on Sunday.

The well-organized parade for the anniversary of Greece?s entry to World War II, a far cry from last year?s event when protesters forced its abandonment, took place in the rain and coincided with celebrations for the centenary of Thessaloniki?s liberation from Ottoman rule in October 1912.

After a few years of absence, a fighter jet graced the sky above the parade with an impressive display.

?We must quickly emerge from the crisis, because you cannot possibly ask for more from this nation that has given it all,? stated Papoulias at the end of the parade.

In Athens pupils from 21 schools paraded at the city center, with the biggest cheer reserved for the children from the Special Olympics.

There were some minor incidents by leftists as they tried to break the police blockade of the school parade, leading to a handful of them getting detained for a short period of time, according to reports.

There were some more serious incidents in Albania, though, during the ceremony at the cemetery of Greek soldiers who died in 1940-41 at the town of Premeti.

Skai reported that members of nationalist Albanian parties such as the Red and Black Alliance hurled stones that the coach carrying Greek parliamentary deputies and relatives of soldiers. Albanian police intervened, but the nationalists stayed at the site and kept shouting anti-Greek slogans during the ceremony.

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