The school parade for the anniversary of March 25 passed off without any major incidents in Athens on Saturday, with authorities finalizing plans for Sunday’s main celebration event, the military parade. There were only some isolated cases of pupils who would turn their heads away from the VIP stand where Education Minister Giorgos Babiniotis was seated.
“I wish to congratulate the pupils whom we enjoyed marching in front of the Monument to the Unknown Soldier,” said Babiniotis afterwards.
“We should not forget the role that education played in the Revolution, that began as a spiritual awakening,” added the minister.
There were some clashes reported, though, between protesting schoolteachers and police just before the start of the parade, as protesters tried to reach Syntagma Square where the parade would take place but police prevented them and proceeded to detaining 29 people.
March 25 is a national holiday that marks the start of the Greek Revolution in 1821 and is Greece’s equivalent to an Independence Day. The pupils’ parade takes place on the eve of the holiday in Athens every year, as the military parade is held on the day.
Some 4,000 police are expected to be deployed on Sunday to safeguard the military parade from any actions of violent protest.