Seeking to put an end to mass disruptions in the Greek capital and other large cities whenever a march or demonstration is held with a small number of participants, the government has drafted legislation that will be tabled to Parliament imminently. The draft bill also aims to protect cities from violence caused by groups gatecrashing otherwise peaceful rallies.
The bill, seen by Kathimerini and expected to trigger political confrontations, stipulates that marches comprising a small number of people must take place on a designated section of the road, instead of blocking entire avenues and causing major traffic disruptions. It will also allow police to designate an alternate route or area for a march if it threatens to disrupt social and economic activity in a given area.
In addition, each march will be assigned an “organizer” who will also be responsible for ensuring it is peaceful and will, to this end, cooperate with police. The organizer will be held responsible for any damages caused by the march but will be cleared if he or she has taken all the necessary precautions.
Moreover, the bill foresees a police liaison between the authority overseeing the demonstration and the organizer to ensure the march proceeds smoothly.
A digital platform will also be created to provide citizens with real-time information on march routes and traffic arrangements.
Finally, the bill states that it will be a criminal offense for anyone to participate in a demonstration that has been prohibited by police.
At the same time, it seeks to criminalize the act of disrupting a demonstration by intrusions or acts of violence and gives police the right to stop a march in its tracks if it is being conducted illegally or if participants do not comply with the rules set beforehand.