ATHENS – A contentious law that put restrictions on protests in Greece's capital worked to prevent traffic jams that had often resulted from hundreds or thousands of people walking in Athens' streets.
There were 83 demonstrations in September so far but traffic had to be temporarily stopped only 16 times, according to Kathimerini, authorities attributing it to the law which requires organizers to notify police of protests.
The data were presented by Citizen Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos who said marches in the center of Athens will be regulated although some of them haven't been.
The New Democracy government said the legislation wasn't aimed at deterring the right to protest but that demonstrators didn't have the right to clog up traffic and hurt businesses.
“This measure will be strictly observed, because this is what the vast majority of Greek citizens want and this is what democratic legitimacy dictates,” Theodorikakos said.
“I remember being criticized by some fellow citizens in the first days because I insisted on implementing the measure as 100, 200 and 300 people can’t just block the streets with marches and rallies, either in Athens or in any other city,” he said.
“Citizens have the right, an inalienable democratic right to hold rallies, to mobilize, but this cannot be to the detriment of the order and security of all other citizens who should not suffer from such situations,” he added, the paper also said.