Amidst a raging COVID-19 epidemic in northern Greece, the regional prefecture of Northern Macedonia and the interior ministry are at loggerheads over public health measures for the annual 28 October celebration of OXI day, when Greece refused to surrender and fought the fascist forces of Mussolini.
Early this morning. there were reports that the prefecture decided to greatly limit participation, allowing only the military to parade, so as to avert a superspreading event, and excluding students and many organisations that parade every year from participating. It also decided to limit the duration of the parade to sixty minutes.
An announcement issued by the prefecture stated that, “We are announcing that the government has decided, specifically with an interior ministry document that was issued today, that ‘it is necessary due to existing public health conditions in Thessaloniki, to have only a military parade, the duration of which will be no longer than sixty minutes’ ”.
Interior Ministry: ‘All parades will take place as usual’
The interior ministry then denied that it had issued such instructions. It announced that students’ parades will be held normally (on 27 October) as in the past and that the 28 October parade will not be limited to the armed forces.
It also cited a 13 October encyclical stating that representative groups of students, university students, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, disabled war veterans, divisions of the armed forces, Greek Police, and the Fire Service will parade.
The same encyclical states that due to the pandemic the duration of the parade must not exceed sixty minutes. The ministry is expected to issue a new encyclical clarifying the situation today.
This afternoon, however, Interior Minister Makis Voridis told MEGA television that student parades will be hels as usual and that on 28 October only the armed forces will parade.
Those marching in the parades and those observing them must wear masks and observe social distancing rules.