This act of taking downtown Athens hostage every time the whim seizes some union or interest group really must stop. Take yesterday, for example, when the city center came grinding to halt, yet again, for dozens of unpaid textile workers. While they have every right to demand that they be paid in full what they are due, as do other protesting groups, they should not, however, be allowed to block the streets of Athens while platoons of police just look on. Thousands of city residents, visitors and merchants were inconvenienced by yesterday’s protest rally and, unfortunately, this is not the first or last time that this will be the case. The responsibility for bringing the situation under control lies with the alternate public order minister, the Athens district attorney’s office and the Attica police department. The longer they view this mess with such indifference, the more the situation will spin out of control, the bolder certain protesters known for causing problems and damage to public property will become and the more the people of Athens will suffer.