RIC demo against austerity to target Greek consulate

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Hundreds of demonstrators are set to descend on a quiet residential street in the Capital today to march in support of the new Greek government.

The mass rally – organised by left-wing group the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) – will start outside the Scottish Parliament at noon, before making its way to the Greek consulate on Newington’s Queen’s Crescent.

But baffled residents warned the march would “disrupt” the quiet residential street where the consulate is based – and insisted the road would be ­unable to accommodate the numbers expected.

Organisers say the rally – which will finish at around 2pm – is an attempt to boost Scottish support for Syriza and the anti-austerity measures they hope to implement.

And the demonstration is being supported by a variety of left-wing groups, including the Scottish Trades Union Congress, People’s Assembly Scotland and Syriza Scotland.

But one local, who asked not to be named, said the Greek consulate was a private house and “not an official embassy”.

He said: “People are entitled to protest. But it’s just a street of residential houses – in fact, most people can’t even find the consulate. So the main issue the protesters might have is finding it. It’s a very quiet, residential street and I suspect it would be very disruptive to the people who live on the street.”

He added: “There’s a sign at the end of the street saying no cold callers – does that apply to a few hundred protesters?”

Greece’s left-wing Syriza party was voted into government last month amid promises to reverse many of the austerity measures adopted since the country’s 2010 economic crash.

And Jonathon Shafi, RIC co-founder and one of the organisers behind the march, insisted it was crucial Syriza’s policies received international support.

He said: “At the moment the plan is to march to the Greek consulate, but that may well be subject to change – it depends on a number of issues on the day. The rallying point will be at the Scottish Parliament because we think the Scottish Government should be supporting the anti-austerity policies of Syriza.

“One of the key aspects of the Syriza victory is that in isolation it is much weaker than if there is an international response that stands with the people of Greece.”

Yorgos Dardavillas, press counsellor for the Greek Embassy, said: “It is everybody’s right to protest and they are very welcome to do so. Support for Greece is always welcome.”