Government ire at Acropolis stunt

A protest on the sacred rock of the Acropolis yesterday by a few dozen Communist Party (KKE) supporters caused the government to hit out at the leftists, accusing them of undermining Greece’s tourism industry. Some 200 protesters entered the Acropolis site early yesterday and draped two banners from its walls. One read «Peoples of Europe rise up» and the other carried the same message in Greek. The group left the Acropolis several hours later, after a prosecutor arrived and threatened them with arrest and criminal charges. The incident led to government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis hitting out at KKE and its union, PAME, which last week prevented hundreds of tourists from boarding their cruise ship. «Unfortunately, PAME has taken on a contract to undermine tourism and KKE is responsible for this,» said Petalotis, who argued that the Communist Party should be held accountable for the losses to the tourism industry. «Instead of us all working together to help our country out of the crisis, some people are exploiting the situation for personal and party political gain,» said the Culture Ministry. The incident came ahead of a general strike today, during which unions will voice their opposition to the austerity measures. All public services will be closed, as will schools. Hospitals will be operating on skeleton staff. There will be no air travel as air-traffic controllers will take part in the protest. Workers at the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) and the Proastiakos suburban railway will walk off the job but employees on the metro, the electric railway, buses and trams will work only between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Trolley buses will be on the road between 8.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. There will be no ferry sailings. Many shops will also be closed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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