INTRODUCTION: The policies of the United States government have come in for criticism in Greece this week.
SV Communist party members waving red flags and chanting
SCU Mr. Charilaos Florakis, party leader, addressing crowd
SV Florakis continues speaking and crowd applauds and chants (2 shots)
SCU Florakis continues speaking
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: The policies of the United States government have come in for criticism in Greece this week. On Tuesday (11 August), thousands of left-wing students demonstrated in Athens to protest against Washington's decision to produce neutron warheads. The previous day (10 August), hundreds at a Communist rally in Crete heard accusations of imperialism levelled at the United States.
SYNOPSIS: The crowd at the rally was small, but vociferous.
The main speaker was the leader of the Greek Communist party, Mr. Charilaos Florakis. He told his audience that "peace in the Balkans and the Mediterranean demands the withdrawal of Greece from NATO and the removal of all American military bases from Greek soil." He accused NATO, and what he called the "imperialist Americans", of supporting the right-wing Greek government and undermining democratic change in Greece.
His audience roared their approval.
Greece was re-integrated into the military command structure of NATO last year. It had withdrawn in 1974 in protest against the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and the Communists have always believed that Greece was better off out of the NATO alliance.
Mr. Florakis has maintained that line in his party's lead up to the November elections. Observers believe at coalition government is a possibility, and the prospect of power sharing has stirred the Communists to a renewed effort of greater activity and visibility in recent weeks.