Police are bracing for more violence at a rally in Athens on Thursday against the Prespes agreement in the wake of serious clashes at a similar demonstration last Sunday, as far-right extremists have been making public appeals for a dynamic turnout.
“We call all Greeks on Thursday to a relentless and unceasing battle,” one far-right website said in a post yesterday. It also referred to the leftist-led administration as a “giant with glass legs,” suggesting that “one crack is enough” to bring it down.
Another website called on people opposed to the name deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to act “as one fist outside Parliament when They will be inside planning Treason,” referring to lawmakers who are to vote on whether to ratify the deal on Thursday night.
The aggressive rhetoric comes in the wake of violence last Sunday that left more than 25 police officers with injuries after they were attacked by mobs of extremists in the forecourt of Parliament.
At Greek Police (ELAS) headquarters on Wednesday, authorities were planning much tighter measures for this evening’s rally, similar to the security plan that was implemented for the 2010-12 anti-austerity protests.
Responding to accusations that it used excessive force to disperse rioters at Sunday’s rally, meanwhile, ELAS said that its officers were reacting to a “direct threat of an invasion of Parliament.”
Its officers were defending themselves against “constant, intense and, in several cases, extremely dangerous attacks against them by large groups of people,” ELAS said.