Back-to-back protests and demonstrations are planned in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki during the launch of the 76th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) this weekend, reaching their peak on Saturday afternoon when the fair is inaugurated by Prime Minister George Papandreou.
Starting on Friday, there will be a rally by policemen, firemen, coast guard officers and ambulance workers at 5:30 the statue of Evangelos Venizelos, followed by a march up to the TIF site. They will be followed by the 'Indignant Citizens Movement' rally at 8:00 p.m., with a concert outside the city's White Tower.
From 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, when police are scheduled to set up a security cordon outside the I.Vellidis conference centre, the 'Indigant Citizens' will attempt to carry out a 'blockade' of TIF. They will hold three 'pre-rallies' at various locations, after which the protestors will converge onto the Vellidis conference centre.
Half an hour later, taxi owners from various Greek cities are expected to gather at a building on Agiou Dimitriou street and at 6:00 p.m. will hold a march on foot up to the conference centre.
Also at 6:00 p.m. there will be rallies organised by the country's two largest trade union organisations, the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the public-sector staff union federation ADEDY, as well as the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) political party, in front of the Venizelos statue.
At the same time, students from Thessaloniki University technical school and Iraklis soccer club supporters will gather at the Katsanio sports centre and anti-establishment groups at Kamara. The PAME trade union faction affiliated to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) will hold its own rally at the city's Aristotelous Square at 6:30 p.m.
At around 7:00 p.m. the above rallies will begin to march toward the Vellidis conference centre from the various locations in the city.