NEWS

Parade held under heavy police presence

The annual military parade commemorating the start of Greece’s War of Independence against the Ottoman Turks in 1821 was held in Athens Monday under a heavy police presence designed to keep spectators away from President Karolos Papoulias, ministers and other officials.

In a bid to keep costs down, no armored units or aircraft took part in this year’s ceremony.

Tightened security was deemed necessary after protesters disrupted a military parade in October 2010. The metro station at Syntagma Square remained shut on police orders.

However, elsewhere around the country, parades and wreath-laying ceremonies were marred by protests and scuffles. In Corinth, leftists clashed with supporters of neofascist Golden Dawn as party MP Stathis Boukouras prepared to lay a wreath. Police used pepper spray to break up the brawl.

A police officer has been suspended after he symbolically threw a wreath on the ground in front of politicians attending the ceremony.

In the village of Ierissos, near the site of a controversial gold mining project in Halkidiki, northern Greece, students paraded wearing gas masks and black T-shirts with slogans against the project.

On the southeastern island of Rhodes, police arrested an unidentified woman after she attacked a municipal official with a knife. The official, Dimitris Karantzias, was not seriously injured.