Athens fears anti-American image abroad

The government is seriously concerned that the Communist Party-led demonstration tonight against the US campaign against international terrorism will harm Greece’s image in the international community and suggest that the country is tolerant of terrorism. Other parties also condemned tonight’s rally. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stressed that the rally in Athens was being organized by only one party. The demonstration is being organized by the Communist Party and will be within the framework of legality, obviously. What has to be clear is this: The Greek government, the political parties, the Greek people have placed themselves squarely and irrevocably in the position of being enemies of terrorism and the terrorists, Reppas said. Reppas also commented on the jeers and disrespectful actions of some soccer fans last week during a minute’s silence at a UEFA cup match in honor of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in America. We are witnesses to these lamentable incidents. We condemn this behavior, which shows our country in a bad light internationally. It is sad that some fire their accusations unjustly at a people, and especially in their time of difficulty, Reppas said. As for the rest, Greece is a country in which everyone is allowed to express his opinion freely. This must always be within the framework of the Constitution and the law. Commenting on a report on the Fox News network in America stating that there was an anti-American climate in Greece, Reppas, said: This is not true. But it confirms the responsibility that we must all show – especially at this critical time – all of us, political parties, organizations and citizens, because our initiatives may harm the country. The Left Coalition said yesterday that it would not take part in tonight’s protest and condemned the Communist Party, saying that the rally was likely to move toward the US Embassy and that this was an irresponsible and adventurist act at a delicate political time for the country and international developments, as politburo member Thanassis Margaritis put it. The Liberals commented that seeing as there is no current invasion of Afghanistan, we must assume that the Communist Party is condemning the Soviet Union 23 years after the event. Rogge departed last night, while Oswald and the commission are continuing a three-day inspection tour that will also focus on delays in building Olympic Games venues.

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