U.S. Embassy Athens
Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Demonstrations and strikes
May 6, 2016
U.S. Embassy Athens informs U.S. citizens that the following demonstrations and strikes are going to take place today, Friday, May 6, tomorrow Saturday May 7 and on Sunday, May 8. 

The headlines read, “Strike Paralyzes Athens.”  Fortunately our apartment is in the heart of Athens and we did not need to use buses or the subway. Thus, we were able to walk to the Temple of Zeus, the Arch of Hadrian, and the Acropolis. Our first stop was the Temple of Zeus.  Surprise, gates locked and no one in the ticket booth.  Apparently, civil servants were out on strike too.

Marcia talking with two women when flew in from Australia for a friend’s wedding.  They had hoped to visit the Temple of Zeus, but like us they were locked out.
Temple of Zeus in Athens during the strike.  This was shot by Rachel as her dad steadier her reaching over the top of the fence.  It is unclear whether the woman on the shot was security or someone who jumped the fence.  At a number of Greek archaeological sites we visited we observed security guards wearing plain clothes. Ironically, this shot would have been filled with crowds of people had it not been for the strike.

Since the Temple of Zeus was closed we headed toward Plaka.  On the way, we came across the Arch of Hadrian.  Similar to Temples of Zeus, there are many Arches of Hadrian across the Roman world.

Marcia at the Arch of Hadrian. I was not the only one who wanted to take her picture.
Looking through the Arch of Hadrian, the Pantheon is on top of the wall.  It was also closed on this day
We made our way to Plaka and had a pleasant lunch.  We ate around 12:30.  By the time we finished our meal every seat was full.  Everyone had a camera and a cell phone.

Below is a picture of our apartment, we are on the fifth floor (sixth floor-the we count in the US).  Our balcony is the second from the top.  To the right is a pedestrian walkway that bisects our street.

On Sunday morning we heard noise coming from our balcony doors.  It sounded like a matching band.  All five us went to the balcony and looked in the direction of the beating drums. There was no traffic on the street, and the police had blocked a side street, so no cars could enter our street.  We did not have to wait long till the demonstrators arrived complete with a band leading the march.

The following warning was at the US Embassy,

“Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.”

What we saw was extremely peaceful.  If you looked at the video on a large screen, you see demonstrators nonchalantly talking to each other, as well as mothers and a few children.  It seemed more like a thanksgiving parade than an angry protest march.