The Organising Committee for the Celebration of the Greek National Day in Victoria has officially announced the cancellation of the Greek Independence Day March for 2021.
The march was scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 21 at the Shrine of Remembrance in Victoria.
The Organising Committee said it was in the “unpleasant position” to cancel the march as it had been working hard to make this year’s 200th anniversary event perfect for Melbourne’s Greek community.
On Wednesday, January 27, the Committee held its first meeting for the year 2021. Reference was made to the community’s rich program to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the start of the Greek Revolution. The General Secretary, Antonis Tsourdalakis, congratulated and thanked the organisations, schools and parishes that showed interest in organising an anniversary event and declared their participation so that their event was included in the official program of Victoria for 2021, but also in the national program of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.
After referring to the program, Mr Tsourdalakis told the members of the Committee that due to the restrictive measures of the pandemic that still prevail in the state of Victoria and the measures imposed by the Guardians of the Shrine, they should be especially careful with the handling of this year’s parade.
The biggest problem the Committee had to deal with was the gathering of a large number of people. According to the regulations that prevail at this time, the Guardians of the Shrine informed Mr Tsourdalakis that only 500 people are allowed to gather and it is strictly forbidden to exceed that number, explaining that if this happens there will be consequences and sanctions to individuals, as well as the officials of the Organising Committee, which may include not allowing the march to be held in the future at the Shrine of Remembrance.
Many views were exchanged on the issue with all members agreeing that their priority was the safety of their fellow human beings, without endangering the wider Victorian society, but also securing the parade for the future. The members present unanimously agreed to cancel this year’s parade.
Mr Tsourdalakis closed the meeting by emphasising that the Greek community will have the opportunity to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Greek Revolution through a variety of anniversary ceremonies organised by expatriates and citizens.
Although the parade will not take place for the second year in a row due for public health reasons, in Melbourne where the “heart” of Hellenism beats, the rest of the emblematic actions and events will continue in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Revolution of 1821 and the personalities who marked the liberation struggle.