Greece in mourning

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Political leaders expressed their shock and grief on Wednesday in the wake of a bank torching in central Athens that left three bank employees dead.

News of the abhorrent attack found Parliament in session to debate the latest round of government-announced austerity measures – the reason unions were holding protests outside the House.

» President of the Hellenic Republic

Referring to the current financial situation and the frustration many people are feeling with the political system, President Karolos Papoulias stated the following:
“Our country has reached the edge of the abyss. It is everybody’s responsibility that we do not take the fatal step. Responsibility is proven through action, not in words. History will judge us all.”

» Prime Minister

Prime Minister George Papandreou rebuked a murderous attack, while promising that “the perpetrators will be located and will stand trial.” Moreover, the premier called on all Parliament-represented parties to unequivocally condemn the violence.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are a free and democratic country. We fight, and have fought, for the right to live in a democratic Greece. And each citizen has a right to demonstrate.
But no one has the right to resort to violence, especially violence leading to the murder of fellow citizens. And we know that violence breeds violence. Protest is different from murder.”

» Opposition Leaders

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras stressed that the country is going through “critical moments,” while expressing his grief for the innocent victims of fanaticism, and random violence.
The leaders of the remaining opposition parties – the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary group Chief Alexis Tsipras and Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis – each condemned the violence and expressed their condolences to the victims’ families.

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Hijacking Democracy in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   An article by Secretary General of Information Panp-leivadas-1os Livadas titled “Hijacking Democracy” appears in Huffingtonpost.com (16.12.2008), where he addresses the recent incidents of violence that occurred in parallel with demonstrations in Athens and other cities in Greece, and what lies behind the unrest.

Greek Prime Minister Confers with State Leadership

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Following further acts of vandalism by small groups, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met  with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias early morning yesterday, and briefed him on the latest upheaval triggered by the loss of the 15 year-old pupil. Following their meeting, the premier held  successive meetings with all leaders of the opposition parties who vehemently condemned the acts of violence perpetrated in the echo of the events. Yesterday, Minister of Interior Pavlopoulos clarified that there is no need for emergency measures to be taken and that law enforcement is being carried out through standard procedure. He further stressed that the government will not tolerate the manipulation of the lost adolescent’s memory and its use as an excuse for delinquency.  Secretary General of Information, Panos Livadas was invited yesterday to participate in BBC World Radio’s Newshour, during which, he reiterated the Prime Minister’s commitment on behalf of the government to indemnify the people whose property was destroyed or damaged. He further stressed that the government is determined to safeguard the right to freedom of expression in a peaceful way, without allowing minorities to infiltrate, creating violent unrest.