Greek police issued an order on Sunday banning the public gathering of more than four people, from Sunday until the evening of Nov. 18, ostensibly to prevent annual protest marches held on the Nov. 17 anniversary of a students' uprising in 1973.
The order came after top Greek government ministers, including PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said annual public observations and a march through central Athens would be prohibited due to restrictions in place to prevent exposure to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision caused a firestorm of reaction on the part of the political opposition on the left, especially by the Communist Party and out-of-Parliament far-leftist groupings. A union of justices and prosecutors called the order unconstitutional, although a handful of noted constitutional experts disagreed. The same order had been issued several times during the previous SYRIZA government's tenure, including during a visit by then US President Barack Obama to Athens, also in November.
Authorities threatened to fine legal entities organizing marches and outdoor observations with 5,000 euros.