Sporadic violence was reported in front of Greece’s Parliament, on Syntagma Square, on Wednesday afternoon after another rally-protest by “anti-vaxers” and pandemic-skeptics in the country.
Greek police used tear gas, shock grenades and even a water cannon when protesters attempted to charged towards the Parliament building, resulting in the break-up of the demonstration and scattering protesters into side streets.
This specific group of demonstrators included self-styled monks carrying icons and Crosses. Earlier, on the other side of the extreme political spectrum, Athens’ ubiquitous anti-state and self-styled anarchists held a separate protest.
The incidents come a day after the permanent Holy Synod of the Church of Greece officially accepted experts’ advice that vaccinations for Covid-19 are effective against the virus but otherwise harmless for the injected individual. In fact, an encyclical issued by the influential and powerful Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece, stating this position, will be read out at all parish churches in the country on Sunday.
According to reports from the scene, many of the protesters in front of parliament were members of the small, unrecognized and non-canonical Old Calendarist Orthodox churches in the country, as well as far right-wing activists.
The impetus for Wednesday’s protest was the tabling in Parliament of a draft bill that includes a provision for the mandatory vaccination of healthcare staff employed in the private and public sector.