The government submitted a bill to Parliament on Monday that aims to restrict outdoor public gatherings, protest rallies and demonstrations in order to avoid the traffic congestion which to date has frequently brought the city center to a standstill.
The bill stipulates that organizers will have to promptly notify police or port authorities about planned gatherings. It provides for restrictions regarding the amount of road space occupied and the location of the demo. It also allows authorities to ban demonstrations under certain conditions, and sees criminal penalties for violators.
“The right of those who wish to express their protest is guaranteed, but without violating the rights of the many,” said government spokesman Stelios Petsas.
However, the draft bill drew a vehement response from leftist SYRIZA, which said the last time legislation was issued on demonstrations was in 1971 during Greece’s military dictatorship.