Military aircraft perform fly-bys on Greek national holiday

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek military jets and helicopters performed flybys over the capital and other cities, towns and islands Wednesday to mark Greece’s national holiday while traditional military and student parades were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Known as Ohi Day, or “No Day,” the Oct. 28 holiday commemorates the day in 1940 when Greece rejected an ultimatum from fascist Italy to allow Axis troops to enter the country and occupy strategic locations. The refusal marked Greece’s entry into World War II on the Allied side.

Greece has reported a rise in confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in recent weeks, with a record 1,259 new cases and 12 new deaths announced Tuesday. The country’s total number of confirmed cases stands at just over 32,700, with 593 deaths in this country of around 11 million people.

In his address for the national holiday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appealed to Greeks to show the same unity and solidarity they did in 1940.

“Today, our country is facing different challenges than those it faced 80 years earlier,” Mitsotakis said. “But we must marshal the same virtues that made Greece then too: national unity, a high mindset, the sense of solidarity.”

In the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, authorities intervened after about 50 people attempted to hold a march to commemorate Oct. 28 despite the current restrictions on gatherings due to the pandemic.

Emergency lockdown restrictions have been imposed on four regions in Greece with coronavirus outbreaks. Lighter restrictions are in force in many other areas, including in Athens and Thessaloniki, where wearing facemasks is mandatory outdoors, gatherings are restricted to nine people and a night-time curfew runs from 12:30 a.m. until 5 a.m.

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