Thousands of protesters have gathered in the Greek capital of Athens to protest against what regard as war-mongering policies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Demonstrators representing leftist, anti-racism and peace groups marched from central Athens to the Greek Parliament, the EU Commission offices and finally the United States Embassy on Thursday.
They chanted slogans against NATO such as “EU and NATO are war syndicates” and held placards against the US-led military alliance. They also expressed support for the tens of thousands of refugees in Greece, criticizing the European Union for its refugee policies, which have led to a deal with Turkey to have many of the refugees deported. The protesters also denounced EU and US stances on the ongoing conflict in Syria. Many of the refugees coming to Europe hail from Syria and other countries plagued by foreign-sponsored militancy.
“We can see refugees that are stuck on Greek islands on the Aegean Sea waiting for what? And also we can see that there is no future in the camps,” said Petros Constantinou, the head of the Movement against Racism and Fascist Threat. “So people are demanding the opening of the border, the opening of the cities and the European Union is delivering nothing of that, just promises. But the reality is the war in the Middle East and the war means more refugees.”
More than 60,000 refugees are currently in Greece; most of them seek to reach Germany, their ideal destination, as well as other wealthy European countries. But they are stuck in Greece as several eastern European and Balkan states, including Hungary, have shut their borders with Greece.