- Title: GREECE: Greek leftists protest against Condeleezza Rice visit
- Date: 25th April 2006
- Summary: POLICE AND RIOT POLICE BLOCKING ROAD (3 SHOTS) POLICE AND PROTESTORS
- Embargoed: 10th May 2006 13:00
- Location: Greece
- Country: Greece
- Reuters ID: LVA9ZCB06NK2ZUN8K94UQOKODUTS
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Hundreds of Greek leftists marched through central Athens on Monday (April 24) chanting slogans against a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in what may be a foretaste of mass action planned for Tuesday.
The Greek Communist Party (KKE) managed to hoist a giant poster reading "Contoleezza Rice Go Home" from the central Athens Music Hall, right next to the American embassy and in one of the most heavily guarded areas of the Greek capital.
About 300 protesters marched towards the embassy shouting anti-American slogans but were blocked by police from reaching the building.
Police, including riot police units, blocked off demonstrators who had attempted to march towards Greece's parliament and did not allow them to pass. Another small group of anti-war activists under a 'Stop The War' banner, went to the U.S. embassy in central Athens and staged a protest where many of the anti-war campaigners had painted their hands red, symbolising blood on the Americans' hands. "We don't want them to come here because they are coming for war," said Petros Constantinou, a Stop the War activist.
Rice is due to meet Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and her Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyanni on Tuesday as part of a five-day trip to Europe that also includes Turkey and Bulgaria.
Greek leftists and peace activists often protest visits by senior U.S. officials. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell cancelled a visit to the Athens 2004 Olympics for fear of violent protests. Although NATO allies for decades, many Greeks are still angry at Washington for backing the far-right military junta that ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974.
The KKE has planned a mass rally in central Athens for 0700 GMT on Tuesday, followed by a march to the U.S. embassy to protest against Rice and threatened sanctions against Iran for its nuclear programme. Iran is embroiled in a dispute with the West over its nuclear programme, which the United States says is designed to build bombs. Tehran says it only wants to generate electricity. Washington has not ruled out military action against Iran.
Anti-war groups, opposed to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, also said they planned protests.
Police said they were determined not to allow protesters to come near the embassy.
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