Greek Police Bust Up Anti-Vaccination Protest With Tear Gas

July 22, 2021

ATHENS – Rabid anti-vaccination protesters who took to the streets of the Greek capital to denounce a program that has worked to slow the spread of COVID-19 were fired on with water cannon and tear gas after clashing with police.

They are fearful that the New Democracy government will make shots mandatory because the so-called Eleftheria (Freedom) program has seen a little less than half the country's population of 10.7 million vaccinated.

Health officials said a benchmark of 70 percent is needed to slow and beat back the pandemic that's surging again because of the contagious Delta Variant from India and the number of those refusing to be vaccinated.

At least five people were arrested during the altercation in Syntagma Square outside the Parliament and in the heart of the city where tourists mingle with residents and shoppers.

An estimated 3,500 people took part in the protests, said Kathimerini, some of them wearing religious clothing like priests, waving icons and crosses and Greek flags while far-right extremists handed out anti-vaccination literature.

Police said the trouble started when protesters were requested to clear Amalias Avenue, where the demonstrators were obstructing traffic, throwing bottles and other objects at the officers.

Outside the University of Athens, there were clashes between anti-authoritarians and anti-vaccination protestors, the paper said, adding that in Greece's second largest city Thessaloniki there was another anti-vaccination march.

They gathered at the iconic White Tower and marched through the main streets of the city, holding banners, Greek flags, crosses and icons and shouting slogans against the government and mandatory vaccination, the report said.

The demonstration in front of the parliament building took place hours after the government submitted legislation to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for employees at nursing homes and care facilities.

Under the draft bill, staff members could be suspended without pay starting in mid-August if they fail to comply, which has drawn the wrath of those who won't be vaccinated and believe the vaccines aren't safe or effective of part of an international conspiracy by governments and drug companies to alter their DNA.

Vaccinations already were made mandatory for rescue personnel employed by the country's Fire Service, which began transferring non-vaccinated members of its rescue service to other departments this week.

The Greek government is worried that slowing vaccination rates will hurt the country’s economic recovery after a steep recession last year caused by lockdowns and the pandemic's impact on the tourism industry.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)


ATHENS - Violence at some Greek universities where a minority of students are protesting plans to allow private colleges to operate has gotten worse, with clashes with police in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — It’s been nearly four months since a judge tossed out the results of a Democratic mayoral primary in Connecticut’s largest city due to allegations of ballot stuffing, sending voters repeatedly back to the polls and thrusting Bridgeport into an unflattering national spotlight.

ATHENS - Greece’s ministries of Foreign Affairs and Digital Governance said it will create a digital platform using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify and rebut fake news spreading lies about the country.

Michigan's presidential primary on Tuesday will offer a serious test of President Joe Biden's ability to navigate dissent within the Democratic Party over his response to Israel's war with Hamas.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation has changed the way many Americans shop.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.