Changing of the guard


Two ceremonial guards stand watch outside the parliament building in Athens. Each pair stands for an hour and they exchange places after 30 minutes. On Sundays at 11am the roads are closed to traffic and a procession and marching band make their way to the parliament building for a grand changing of the guard ceremony.

We went to watch this spectacle and found a place to watch from the paved island in the middle of the busy, three lane road. police were there to redirect traffic and pedestrians – spectators were not allowed on the pavement directly outside the building as the procession would be marching here. We were fairly early so I sat on the curb and sketched the building while we waited for the procession to arrive.

As soon as the band had marched past there was a stampede as all the people gathered on this side of the road rushed across to try and get the best view from right outside the building. Sunglasses and other belongings were dropped and kicked and crushed under the weight and speed of people. I stayed where I was as I wasn’t really sure what was happening at first. I was happy to just finish my sketch as the band played on.


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