Greek police clashed with protesters in Athens on Saturday evening following a demonstration against the mandatory vaccination of certain professional groups as well as the division of Greek citizens to vaccinated and unvaccinated in certain social environments.
According to a statement issued by the Greek Police, approximately four thousand people gathered in Athens’ Omonoia and then Syntagma squares in front of the nation’s Parliament building to express their protest against the government’s intention to impose mandatory vaccinations to certain crucial professions, such as care workers and medical professionals.
The police made use of tear gas and water cannons to disperse the gathered crowd.
According to the police statement, their forces were prompted to respond, as some protesters initiated the clashes by throwing petrol bombs and stones against the police officers present there.
Second Anti Vaccination Protest in Athens
Earlier this month, thousands of people protested against mandatory vaccinations and other measures imposed by the Greek government to tackle the pandemic in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities around Greece.
Alongside the around 4,000 that turned out in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens, police had said several hundred people also took to the streets in the cities of Thessaloniki, Ioannina and Heraklion for the same reason.
The coronavirus vaccine is mandatory for all Greek healthcare workers, according to a recent announcement by Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The statement was part of a series of new measures regarding Covid-19 and the country’s continuing plan for vaccinations.
Although Mitsotakis admitted that Greece would likely be hit hard by the fast-spreading Delta variant, the PM affirmed that he would not place the country under strict lockdown measures again.
“Greece is not in danger (of the virus), but unvaccinated Greeks are,” Mitsotakis has said, hoping to persuade those who had not yet received the shot to do so in order to protect themselves.
“Immune-Only” Venues for the Fully Vaccinated in Greece
Greece has given more freedom to those who are fully vaccinated by creating “immune-only” venues and spaces.
Everyone must also have the corresponding certificate to prove their status to gain access to the venues.
The plan also allows for “mixed” venues which also grant access to the unvaccinated — but only if they have a negative rapid or PCR test for COVID.
The measures can apply to either indoor areas or open spaces that are likely to be crowded.
As the Minister of State had pointed out earlier this summer, it is up to business owners to choose the model they prefer and apply the respective conditions.
He had noted that the presence and validity of certificates will be checked in the first case, while minimum distancing rules and other protection measures will also apply in the second scenario.
Restaurants, cinemas and theaters in Greece that opt for the immune-only model will be allowed to increase capacity to 85 percent (with the use of masks in theaters and cinemas) while so-called mixed areas are restricted to 50 percent of their normal capacity.
For seating outdoors, immune-only areas will be allowed to reach 85 percent capacity while for mixed areas this will be 75 percent or lower.