Greece: Bitter celebration of the independence

Outside of Greek parliament ahead of 200th anniversary. (Photo: Katja Lihtenvalner)

More than 3,500 new cases of infections were recorded in Greece yesterday, 700 patients in intensive care, 51 lost their battle with the virus.

Athens empty, elite prepares for party

Athens streets empty cause of lockdown. (Photo: Katja Lihtenvalner)

Traffic jams in Athens are a fixture. As we drive on the great avenues in the centre of the Greek capital these days, we don’t even feel like it’s been standing here for a year. The epidemic became part of life and life adapted to the epidemic. Schools, shops and bars remain closed. People have embraced the new reality: they no longer eat in restaurants, but they order food at home. Athens streets are teeming with delivery people. It’s the only way taverns survive. Many have locked their doors forever.

On the shopping and popular Ermu street from the Greek parliament we encounter rare walkers. The Monastiraki platform, which offers a pleasant tour of the Acropolis, is almost empty. Homeless, street musicians of red cheeks and sours and rare societies of teenagers are the only ones who are the only ones who are ershing around an otherwise tourist-very popular centre.

Preparations for luxury national fiesta with guests from abroad. (Photo credit: Katja Lihtenvalner)

The townspeople, who want a walk and air during the lockdown, are poaging in rare parks, some sitting on wooden benches and quietly looking reality in the eye. Police officers are in a tumultuous state, but after mass protests sparked by police harassment of citizens during the epidemic a few weeks ago, they appear to have calmed down. The increased police presence has become part of everyday life, their powers have expanded. The epidemic has become an alibi for surveillance and repression.
“There are reports of a state of war from all hospitals,” reports the blonde on a television screen as we walk through the few open cafes that offer the possibility of take-away coffee. Greek media report alarming conditions in hospitals across the country and use exclusively war terminology: “crime against humanity,” “battle for life,” “front lines” etc.
In front of the Greek Parliament, a bunch of soldiers dressed in uniform are stepping on the instructions of their superiors and rehearsing: despite the epidemic, the Greek authorities will carry out a pompous military parade today and tomorrow (24 and 25.3) by celebrating the “great dimensions” as they predict. Blue-and-white flags are already hanging from every corner.
Greece is celebrating 200 years since its liberation from the Turkish empire. The celebrations at the fore day of modern Greece are also expected to be attended in Athens by The British Heir to the Throne, Prince Charles, and some other international political leaders.

The luxury of celebrating at a lavish dinner for the elite during an epidemic seems like a political move by those who have no contact with reality.

Tick layer of the cement cover the path towards Parthenon. Greeks believe their precious moment was vandalized by the “culture of cement” enforced by Mitsotakis’ government. (Photo: Katja Lihtenvalner)

More: Grčija: Grenka obletnica neodvisnosti ( and Grčija: Grenka obletnica neodvisnosti (



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Katja Lihtenvalner

Katja Lihtenvalner

Journalist. Greece, Western Balkans #PoliticalExtremism #HateSpeech #FakeNews Head of Research at RusaalkaFilms Monitored #GDtrial I train #MuayThai