Greece to curb right to protest

Public sector workers walked off their jobs last Wednesday in defence of Greeks' right to protest, as parliament began debating a government bill to place restrictions on the country's frequent street demonstrations, news wires reported. During long debt crisis, which began in late 2009 and led to three international bailouts, Syntagma Square outside parliament became the scene of massive anti-austerity protests.

The draft legislation mandates the appointment of a liaison officer, restrictions on demonstrations or outright bans if authorities deem they threatens public safety. It also holds organisers responsible for any harm or damage caused by protesters. Civil Protection Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis told MPs that there were nearly two protests a day in May and June, and that most Greeks wanted them regulated.

But the issue is a sensitive one in a country where the right to protest is enshrined in the constitution, and where many believe abuse of power by the political elite was largely responsible for the debt crisis.

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