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Thousands Protest In Greece Over Biometric ID Cards

Officials are rolling out the new identification as part of an EU treaty signed in 2019

Thousands of people took to the streets in Athens, Greece over the weekend to protest the introduction of biometric ID cards, which many consider to be pushing the country toward being a surveillance state.

“We don’t want our personal data to be used,” one marcher, Dionysis Alexopoulos, is quoted by TRT World as saying. “Perhaps with this new card they’ll be able to control our access to hospitals or other public places if for example we aren’t vaccinated.”

According to police estimates, 2,500 people attended the protest.

Greece officials announced last week that the procedure for obtaining the new ID cards will start on Sept. 25.

The new identification document is in line with a 2019 treaty signed by European Union member nations to pivot toward biometric IDs by the year 2026. The regulation will impact roughly 450 million citizens and about 20 million non-EU citizens who reside or work in member states.

Under the new ID requirements, citizens aged 12 and older will be required to provide a facial image and two fingerprints that will be used to identify them.

EU officials say that biometric ID cards will increase speed through security for travelers, will provide convenience, as well as offer advanced security and fraud detection.

The European Commission says biometric IDs will benefit people professionally, in online retail, in financial services, and when opening bank accounts.

While officials see convenience and safety in the new policy, opponents worry that biometric IDs could put nations on a pathway toward totalitarianism.

“This serious subject should be put to a referendum and not decided anti-democratically by the government,” Sofia Kanelopoulou, another protestor, told TRT.

A week before, more than 2,000 people showed up to a protest in Thessaloniki.

Many of those who showed up to protest are members of the Greek Orthodox Church who voiced strong opposition to the biometric IDs on religious grounds.

Some signs read: “You’re bringing out an ID for eternal hell. This satanic ID card is biometric, electronic, engraved on the forehead and hand. There is the darkroom in Satan’s police station who will do the endoscopy, iris engraving, forehead engraving and scanner engraving, palm, finger and hand.”

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