President Papoulias Booed at Assumption Church in ArtaGreek President Karolos Papoulias – as he was at other Greek holidays as the government is cutting back people’s pay, raising taxes and slashing pensions during an economic crisis – was booed again at a public appearance, this time at the religious ceremonies at the Koimisis tis Theotokou (Assumption) Church in Theotokio, Arta, on Aug. 15, where churchgoers had gathered to celebrate Virgin Mary’s Day.
They reacted furiously when they saw Papoulias enter and verbally assaulted him, and police had to arrest one elderly person who would not stop shouting at him. One yelled: “You convicted the people to death!” The President remained calm and did not react and stayed until the end of the service.
Speaking to reporters later, he ignored what had happened and said only that, “It’s a great day for Orthodox Christianity. It’s a day of faith and hope that we can – in unity – overcome this crisis and better days will come for the tested Greek people.” Although his office is mostly symbolic and he has no real powers, he made no mention of plans by the new coalition government headed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to impose another wave of austerity measures on beleaguered Greeks, including a 50% reduction in the lump sum retirees are supposed to receive and further pension cuts and measures against the poor.