OPINION

Violence strains stores

It looks like we will have to go out of business; a family business founded in 1936. Think about that for a moment: In the wider scheme of things, 80 years is the blink of an eye, however our company has since survived so many events, World War II and the Nazi occupation, civil war, dictatorship, economic down and up swings, and now, the continued violence downtown has brought us to our knees. If it were just for myself, it might not be so bad, but what about my hardworking employees and their families who have depended on my business?  How can our government allow these continuous onslaughts of violence in the center of Athens? The majority of public opinion (in both major parties) is against this violence. While I personally believe in freedom of speech, there must be set limits on how this is done. Democracy and anarchy are not one and the same, there must be rules. The rights of working citizens must not be violated to allow anyone to wreak havoc in the streets whenever they desire. Like in any other civilized nation in the Western world, demonstrators must receive a permit, and then they are confined to a specific area, where they can protest to their heart’s content. If the demonstrators do not have a permit, then the police must be given the authority to take serious action, with the government backing the police and appropriate use of force. Enough is enough. The shop owners in central Athens can no longer support this activity. Must we take up arms and take action on our own? Since the police have not been able to make any significant arrests of the hooligans who destroy shops and personal property, will they prevent the shop owners and workers from busting a few heads? No, violence begets violence. I hope the government will hear the cries of the working people of this city, the people who pay their taxes and work for a living.  THEO LEONITIS, Athens.