Greek global village in a victory dance

Greece’s victory over the Czech Republic in their Euro soccer semifinal match in Porto on Thursday triggered celebrations by Greeks across the world. From neighboring Albania to the Greek communities of distant Australia, Canada and the United States, Greeks wrapped themselves in the blue-and-white flag, fired off guns and flares and took the streets on foot or in their cars and trucks. In New York’s Astoria, Flushing Meadows, Brooklyn and other areas where Greeks live, the Greek flag was raised at hundreds of stores. As the match ended, with Traianos Dellas’s goal giving Greece the 1-0 victory, thousands of Greek-Americans of all ages left their homes and stores, where they had been watching the game, and took to the streets, chanting and singing. The Athens News Agency reported that police were taken by surprise and sent a helicopter to monitor the celebrations in Astoria. In Melbourne, thousands of flag-waving Greek-Australians brought the city center to a standstill as they celebrated Greece’s triumph. Melbourne has the largest population of Greeks anywhere after Athens and Thessaloniki and they made their presence felt, dancing in the street, setting off flares and fireworks. «This is so important for Greeks in Australia, it makes us so proud of our homeland, especially since the Olympics are coming up,» Ignatios Karasavvidis, a restaurateur in the city’s Lonsdale Street Greek precinct told Agence France-Presse. City authorities have decided to close off the district to cars tomorrow and set up a giant video screen so people can watch the final between Greece and Portugal tomorrow. In Albania, many Greeks and Albanians celebrated Greece’s victory. The 30 kilometers from the town of Gjirokaster to the Greek border filled up with cars honking in celebration. On Cyprus, thousands of people took to the streets, waving Greek flags and singing the Greek national anthem. There were huge traffic jams as cars, with horns honking, followed.