Greece: Is it safe to travel to Athens after the political protests this weekend?

Greece: Is it safe to travel to Athens after the political protests this weekend?

Athens was a city swamped in violence as protesters marched through the Greek capital on Sunday. Residents draped in Greek flags stormed the streets to make their opposition agains Greece’s latest political decision, the Prespes agreement over Macedonia, known. With many holidaymakers choosing the home of the Olympics as a short-destination for a weekend break, the unrest has left travellers unsettled. But is it still safe to travel to the city? What is the official advice?

What are the Athens protests?

At least 60,000 people marched through the Greek capital of Athens on Sunday, armed with flares, firebombs and rocks.

They are demonstrating against the Greek Government’s Prespes deal with Macedonia.

Politicians have agreed to change Macedonia’s name.

The deal will end a 28-year dispute on the country’s name, which is set to become the Republic of North Macedonia.

Greek protestors are alarmed the agreement over the mostly Slavic state would recognise a Macedonian nationality, which could ignite claims over Greek history and heritage.

They were said to be heard chanting: “Macedonia is Greek!”

Macedonia is a country in the Balkans, located just north of Greece.

On Sunday, some protesters attempted to storm parliament, before officers were forced to respond and use tear gas.

Greek police said 10 officers were injured in the clashes.

Is it safe to travel to Greece?

The UK Government has issued no warning about travelling to Greece in light of the Athens protests as yet.

Yet it does advise holidaymakers to take “sensible” precautions to protect themselves and their belongings.

The advice also states: “You should avoid all demonstrations and follow the advice given by local security authorities.”

British nationals make more than three million visits to Greece every year.

What have politicians said about the demonstrations?

The country’s conservative former prime minister Antonis Samaras warned of the public dismay, and wrote on Twitter: “Millions of Greeks are, and will continue to be, against the Prespes agreement.

“Whatever provocation they come up with, however much tear gas they spray, people will remain unbowed for Macedonia.”

Meanwhile Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, blamed the clashes on “extremist elements” of the ultra-right Golden Dawn party.

Published at Mon, 21 Jan 2019 09:43:00 +0000

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