Waving Greek flags, holding wooden crosses and icons more than 5,000 anti-vaxxers gathered in downtown Athens on Wednesday afternoon to protest vaccines against Covid-19 and the mandatory vaccination of specific groups of professionals. The crowd consisted of far-rights like Golden Dawn and others, religious zealots, Macedonia-is-Greek patriots and supporters of conspiracy theories.
Right in front of the Parliament at Syntagma Square, they chanted slogans like “traitors”, “take your vaccines and get out of here!” and called on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to resign.
Just a few protesters in the crowd wore masks and there was no way or reason for them to keep safety distances.
To the protest had called several mostly unknown organizations and movements, among them one by imprisoned Ilias Kassidiaris, former No 3 of neo-nazi Golden Dawn.
“Every person has the right to choose. We’re choosing that the government does not choose for us,” cardiologist and head of “Free Again” movement told reuters. Vovolis, who has questioned the scientific research around face masks and the vaccine was among those who called for the protest. He said he started the group in response to the government’s “tough measures” to contain the virus.
At some point, protesters reportedly attacked journalists covering the event.
Banner: “We say NO to vaccine poison.”
What was interesting was that despite police presence – rather “discrete” – there was no intervention to protect from spread of Covid-19 as was the pretext when students protested for other reasons or youth crowded in squares to have fun.
Similar anti-vaccines protests were held also in the cities of Thessaloniki, Heraklio, Volos, Patras, Drama, Corinth, Ioannina and else where.
It was the first time protests against the vaccines took place in the country, although a few protests against the compulsory wearing of masks were held last year, when the schools opened.
The majority of Greeks say in polls that they would get the vaccine, and the majority were in favor of the mandatory vaccination for some segments of the population. Yet, some remain reluctant either due to insecurity about side-effects and others, anti-vaxxers, reject the vaccines due to wide-spread conspiracy theories.
Only 42% of the 11-million-population are fully vaccinated in mid-July due to initial delays in the roll out program.
Greece experiences a resurgence of coronavirus infections with the Rt to have reached record 1.38 in the last two weeks. Infections increase by 38% every three days and hospital admission rose by 60% in a week.
Golden dawn supporters, Macedonia is Greek fanatics, religious fanatics, plus anti-vaxxers. In other words, a large gathering of zealots! Personally, it’s hard to take them seriously when they are waving those big crosses. The fanaticism dilutes the message because everyone is going to think they’re insane.
Do these same people wave crosses and protest when their doctors tell them or their loved ones they should take experimental cancer treatment (like immunotherapy) or other medical treatments?
I think they have to shift their focus away from the vaccine and put it on the government. If they yell against the vaccine, no one will take them seriously. I think they have displaced anger against the government telling them how to live their lives. So they should say that. Refocus.
I have no problem at all with people choosing not to take the vaccination. They can sit at the table with me and enjoy a meal. I am vaccinated. I can still contract and spread this virus in exactly the same way that they can. If I contract the virus I will become a little unwell. If they contract the virus they may become seriously ill and require hospitalisation. And that is where our outlook differs. Without thought for others, i.e… doctors and nurses who put their own lives and that of their families at risk, and for entirely selfish reasons they put unecessary strain on an already stretched health service. It is one thing to have freedom of choice…it is entirely another to put at risk the health and lives of your fellow human beings for the glory of doing it “my way”,
Well said! I suspect the Police didn’t try to disperse the crowd as they weren’t breaking the law.
One question: why were there no police? Does that mean the police didn’t want to make themselves a target of zealotry? Or maybe they didn’t want to deal with potential riots which is not good for tourism? Or did they want them all to get Covid as punishment? (joking, but you never know what the govt is thinking)
Just proves you’ll find fools everywhere.
Let’s correct the headline of this article..
“Anti-vaxxers in Greece: Far-rights and religious zealots rally against Covid-vaccines”
“Large number of complete idiots rally against Covid-vaccines”
Thank God some people still have some common sense in the midst of this mass hysteria and global manipulation. Wisdom and courage are in short supply these days.
How can anyone trust blindly the mass media and its narrative is beyond me.
“Wisdom and courage are in short supply these days. ” Plus self control, responsibility, citizenship, and mental capacity.
Good example of Darwin theory..
And there is always one bot brainer that rehashes same tired old phrases from abundant 100 sentence vocabulary.
you said it …clearly and exactly
You’re so biased.. only the brainwashed will agree with your article. These aren’t zealouts.. these are everyday people with common sense protesting and defending their right to choose if they should have an untested chemical injected into their body.
How come my comments never pass moderation?