ATHENS, March 25 (Xinhua) — Greece marked on Thursday the bicentennial of the start of the Greek War of Independence against Ottoman rule with a grand military parade in the center of Athens.
Events were more muted than originally planned this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only a small group of officials attended the parade in front of the parliament, but the celebratory tone was strong across the Greek capital and the country.
Celebrations started with a gun-salute and the hoisting of the Greek national flag at the Acropolis hill and singing of the national anthem.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and visiting dignitaries representing nations which contributed to the Greek Revolution, laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before members of the Presidential Guard on horses opened the parade.
Among the dignitaries are Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife, French Defense Minister Florence Parly, and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
The City Hall of Athens, the Municipal Theater of Piraeus and many government buildings were illuminated in blue and white this week for the celebrations.
“We are proud as a nation of everything we have achieved. Our homeland is a modern state under rule of law at the core of the European Union and is a factor of stability in the wider region… The protection of public health and social cohesion is, at this juncture, our struggle,” Sakellaropoulou told Greek national broadcaster ERT after the parade.
In his message for the day, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who also attended the parade, voiced optimism for the future.
“At the dawn of the third century of liberty, Greeks kept their heads high, just like their ancestors raised their heads bravely. Today, the challenges are different, but our determination remains the same,” he said. Enditem