Setting some rules for protests

Downtown Athens has been hit not just by the deepening recession, but also by the numerous problems created by street closures during protest marches, regardless of the size of the demonstration.

For years now, a succession of governments have attempted to impose some restrictions on the leeway granted to protesters, but their plans have been thwarted by the reactions of opposition parties, who, regardless of their politics, try to earn points with the protesting parties at the expense of whichever government is in power.

Maybe the time has come for opposition parties to start thinking about their reaction in a more responsible manner and to put doing their duty before earning favor.

The mayor of Athens who no one can accuse of insensitivity to human rights yesterday decided to put this issue on the table. Now the political leadership must take a stand.

The right to protest is non-negotiable in a democracy, but society also needs to be protected from a handful of demonstrators being allowed to shut down the center of the city whenever they want to.

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