ATHENS – Unable to work almost a year because of COVID-19 lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the Coronavirus, artists and performers in Greece – also locked out of giving concerts – want state assistance.
They demonstrated on the streets of the capital on Feb. 11, demanding that the New Democracy government, which has been subsidizing laid-off workers and closed businesses, help them too.
The protesters, which included representatives from several unions and associations, gathered outside the University of Athens’ central building before marching to Parliament, said Kathimerini.
They have been cut off from relief measures for the arts industry and its professionals although the government has allowed other gatherings, including in churches, before a third lockdown was brought.
They wanted continued income support by the government to professional artists for the duration of the new lockdown, complaining that they and the arts sector has been almost abandoned.
They’re also upset with the existing system for the disbursement of support payments, calling for improved efficiency, since many have not received aid support as far back as November, 2020 when a second lockdown was imposed.
The protesters called for employees in the arts industry to receive the same benefits afforded to other industries, including rent subsidies, a ban on utility companies cutting off their services, and bar on evictions.
They said they’re also upset with a regulation on audiovisual services, claiming that it will lead to a stifling of expression and to censorship. The sector has been essentially shut down by the pandemic.