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COVID-19: No parade on National Day as Greece fights coronavirus

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Municipal workers install Greek flags in front of the Greek parliament as Presidential guards are on duty at the empty Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Athens on March 24, 2020.
Municipal workers install Greek flags in front of the Greek parliament as Presidential guards are on duty at the empty Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Athens on March 24, 2020.   -   Copyright  AP/Thanassis Stavrakis
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On March 25, Greece and Cyprus mark the start of a 1821 war of independence against the Ottoman Empire. But in 2020, festivities were considerably more muted than in previous years.

Gone was the military march as well as a traditional parade of schoolchildren carrying Greek flags.

Instead, a flyover by F16 military aircraft and a small parade, held in the Turkish border town of Kastanies, was shown on TV.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou also placed a wreath of flowers at the foot of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier in Syntagma Square in Athens.

In a TV address, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the lack of celebration did not mean that Greece was not commemorating its national day.

"We do not celebrate March, 25 in the streets and in squares. But we honor this day from our homes with our waving flags and our thoughts are turned today to the fight of our ancestors for freedom", Mitsotakis said.

He also paid tribute to "the heroes in white and green gowns", meaning the medical staff dealing with coronavirus cases in the country.

"Today we are giving them strength, and we are listening to their recommendations: we are not going out, we stay at home!".

According to the last official data, Greece counts 743 confirmed cases and twenty deaths from the coronavirus, out of a population of nearly 11 million inhabitants.

Since Monday, the country is under general lockdown and residents have to justify their reasons for leaving the house.

The Greek War of Independence took place between 1821 and 1830, following the conflict Greece, backed by Britain, France and Russia, became an independent state.

Yannis Kolesidis/Pool via AP
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou lays a wreath during a ceremony marking Greece's Independence Day, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens, March 25, 2020.Yannis Kolesidis/Pool via AP
AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis
A formation of Greek military jets fly over the Acropolis on Greece's Independence Day, in Athens on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis
AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis
A man jogs during a circulation ban, which allows certain outdoor activities with special permission, in front of the Greek parliament, in Athens on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis
AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
A municipal worker wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant outside Acropolis museum as the Parthenon temple is seen in the background in Athens, Tuesday, March 24, 2020.AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis