Saturday, August 14, 2004

The Olympian divide

So the Athens Olympics have begun with half the tickets still unsold? The threat of terror has been blamed but the spiralling cost of tourist accommodation couldn't have helped. My local radio station reported this morning that one hotel (a Bed and Breakfast) was charging 800 Euros (£536; US $988) a night - even though it was 50 miles from Athens.

Inevitably, many of the city's hoteliers and merchants are angry at the lack of tourism, and feel the much touted regeneration of Athens will pass them by and could even lead to higher taxes.

Meanwhile, Greek activist group Anti-2004, continues to assert that the Games have intensified the violation of Athenian civil and environmental rights:

"The democratic rights and the civil freedoms are shrinked. A new terror legislation comes to complete the existing one. The streets are full of cameras supervising and following up the citizens.

"The working relations get worse and unpaid overtime and intensive work are established. There have been already 13 victims who died during the Olympic works' performance.

"The natural environment in Attiki is plundered. Free, public, mountaineous and coastal areas are filled with buildings and they are given to individuals for their own benefit.

"The public debts have been inflated. For the irrational cost of Olympic Games the working class is called to pay, while the current, as well as the previous government, promotes new measures of frugality."

Other Olympian links:

Gene doping: Genetically engineered athletes
Sex at the Olympics
Olympics' digital security unprecedented
Olympian struggle: Fans face boot for eating or drinking wrong brands at games
Office Olympics: Lift waiting, staple chase, diskus throw, chair rowing and 4 minute sandwich challenge

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