May 13th saw the grand re-opening of a rejuvenated square in central Athens that had become the most forlorn and forgotten part of town.
The re-opening comes in an attempt to restore Omonia Square to its former glory.
Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyiannis didn’t want to miss a good opportunity to celebrate the opening of the square, which now features an illuminated fountain and trimmed, new green grass.
Bakoyiannis showcased the restored square via YouTube where he shared a timelapse video produced by award-winning Greek photographer and filmmaker Alexandros Maragos.
But the celebration came in the middle of a massive social distancing media campaign sponsored by the Greek government. The campaign includes videos, television commercials and statements by officials and even uses celebrities to discourage the public from gathering in large numbers.
Only days prior to Omonia Square re-opening the government had used riot police to break up large gatherings throughout Athens as locals emerged from two months of lockdown.
The Omonia Quare celebration attracted criticism from thousands of users on social media where videos of the gathering circulated.
One video showed a large gathering of perhaps thousands, many circulating freely among themselves, interacting and not social distancing.
Thousands of Facebook users have written comments criticizing the mayor and accusing him of acting hypocritically by violating the government’s own policies.
Watch the video of the gathering in Omonia Square
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