President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos watched the military parade held in Athens, for the March 25 celebrations, marking the anniversary of Greece's 1821 War of Independence against Ottoman rule, from the officials' stand in Syntagma Square outside Parliament.
In a speech after the end of the parade, President Pavlopoulos emphasised the need to defend freedom against populism, racism and Nazism, noting that it was the duty of every "thinking European" to resist the populist and racist formations that "openly seek to undermine the European edifice and thus European democracy and European culture."
In the upcoming European elections, he added, every European and especially the Greeks must send the message: "They shall not pass".
Pavlopoulos also emphasised unity and Greece's determination to defend its borders and Exclusive Economic Zone, pointing out that these were also the borders and EEZ of the European Union.
"During the National Anniversary of March 25, 1821, we send a message in every direction that we, the Greeks, having in mind Andreas' Kalvos' verse "Freedom needs Virtue and Daring", will defend our freedom, determined, relentless and in conditions of seamless unity against all that think to attack it."
He noted that the 1821 anniversary was an endless source of inspiration for Greeks throughout the world concerning Greece's national ideals and course through the ages, of the debt owed to country and history.
"The fighters of 1821 and their sacrifice teach us that, above all else, we are a people of and nation of freedom. In the sense that for Greeks, freedom is not only a right but a literally existential principle and value, since only when free can we live, defend our worth and develop our personality."