This is an email sent this morning to my project partners, a leading business school, with whom we are organising a 2-day project meeting plus weekend for 10 people in early June in Athens. Given yesterday's events, my inclination this morning is to cancel and take the business to a more serious country. Let's see.
You will probably have heard that yesterday, 3 banking employees were killed by anarchists throwing Molotov cocktails in the centre of Athens yesterday. While Greek protests are often rowdy, they rarely turn violent to the point where innocent bystanders are killed.
This violence and the entire mind-set of marches, occupations, strikes, and protests is condoned and supported by certain political parties, primarily the Communist Party of Greece and the so-called Coalition of the Left. The trade unions associated with these two parties have, in the past two weeks, prevented tourists from entering their hotels in central Athens and a cruise ship in Piraeus; occupied the Acropolis and hung banners from its walls; and otherwise disrupted the social and economic life of the country. The student unions associated with these two parties have, in the recent past, attacked university professors, occupied university grounds, destroyed or looted university property, and otherwise done everything possible to disrupt and abuse the benefits of the public education system.
The hotel we have chosen for the project meeting is the XXXXXX. It’s in an isolated, quiet spot in Kolonaki, removed from the square, but about 600-800 metres from Parliament. Violence or protests rarely spill over into this area (the politicians would be prevented from drinking their EUR 5 coffees if it did), but as with all things in life, there are no guarantees.
The future is also highly uncertain. While I don’t expect the same intensity of protests, there is nothing to say that they won’t continue, even sporadically.
Unfortunately, neither I, nor my company, nor the hotel can guarantee the public safety of its guests, either within the hotel grounds, or outside it.
I estimate the chances of something untoward happening at less than 1%, I would like to ask, given the circumstances, whether you would prefer to organise the project meeting in another country. If we decide to meet in Athens, an alternative would be to organise the event outside the city centre.
Please let me know what you decide, so I can make timely arrangements.
Thanks and best regards,