Saturday morning in Syntagma Square the tent people are slowly waking up. The night before they attended the popular Assembly which ended at half past one in the morning. The cleaning group is up and trying to collect cigarette stubs – a vain battle. The loud speakers announce that the fairy tale reading for the children is starting up at the artists’area. The young performers are there, the children are there but the microphones are not. A 60 year old revolutionary, well known and respected by all for his individual political thinking, solves the problem instantly.
The cooperative kitchen accepts everything from cooked food to water to ingredients to smiles but not money!
A sign reminiscent of the hippies era advertises free reike and meditation lessons. There are work groups for cleaning, logistics, translation, communication and many others.
The banners vary from the very serious to the very witty: “Ridiculed rats!! Greek and European politicians how many billions do you think you can fit in your graves?” “Even the maid resisted!!” “There is nothing without us – let us take our lives back” and so on. An elderly gentleman is speaking to no one in particular on a loud speaker. Small groups of people discuss the situation and whether this gathering can help solve the financial crisis.
Peddlers are everywhere and of all colours.
The atmosphere is almost that of a village fair; one way of going back to our roots.
I walk up to Klathmonos Square where the gay parade is getting ready but things are very quiet. On my way back to Syntagma I realize that the traffic has stopped. Looking back I see a group of people with banners, pickets and flags. It is the march that followed the rally organized by the General Confederation of Greek workers – private and public sector. They are not that many but there is a stirring in the Square. The “enraged “ of Syntagma have stated that they are not affiliated to any party and the unions are organized according to the party system. The tension eases as soon as the flags disappear and the marchers join the protesters.
To be noted – the police presence is absolutely subdued and discreet. There is talk of provocation being planned for tomorrow but it remains to be seen. The other remarkable thing is that the Greek television shows the minimum possible of what is going on in Syntagma Square! It shows so little that a Cypriot journalist reporting from Greece on Cypriot channels could not help but mention it in his report.
Tomorrow Sunday there is one more all European mobilization – let us hope that the politicians of Brussels will listen this time. In any case a new culture is taking roots in Syntagma Square – or not so new but certainly a culture of tolerance, solidarity and democracy.