The Municipality of Athens is destroying one of the most colorful areas in the historical center of the Greek capital. The 300 artists who sell their homemade handicraft in the area of Thissio should be removed and relocated outside three metro stations in Keramikos and Victoria squares quite far from where they have been now and where thousands of tourists pass by each and every day.
Police officers went to the area Sunday morning and told the remaining street vendors to go away.
A dispute broke out between vendors, protesters and police with the latter telling a man was sat here sewing some handicraft to go away.
Vendors and citizens had gathered to protest the Municipality decision is effects since October 8 2018.
The artists street vendors have been in the area outside the Ancient Greek Agora, along the train track and part of the pedestrian road leading to Acropolis for the last ten years.
For many the open bazaar was the only possibility to survive the economic crisis as they had to close their shops.
“Due to our presence the area has been cleaned from drug addicts,” the vendors told media
“We are part of the historical center,” they said.
For many of the vendors the municipality decision means the end of their existence as there are only 100 licenses available in the new locations.
The Municipality of Athens apparently follows a broader overhaul of the street markets by the Ministry of Commerce. Reforms in the traditional Laiki – open market – will also restricts the number of licenses.
Austerity also in the distribution of licenses, practically for no logical reason other than the usual neo-liberal efforts to destroy small traders.
Protest banner: The street is our life and stands our survival – We want to stay here with dignity.
The protest and the dispute with police on Sunday took place in front of tourists walking through. when they asked whether they could buy the few handicrafts the answer they received was a clear and loud “No!”
If you want to support the Handicrafts Artists of Thissio you can sign their petition here.
Pictures from the group Facebook Page.