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Disabled Stage Protest in Athens

April 23, 2002

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ About 150 disabled Athenians held a protest rally on Tuesday, demanding better accessibility.

They came as International Paralympic Committee Vice President Francois Terranova and his team of inspectors held a second day of meetings with 2004 organizers.

Paralympics officials were briefed on accessibility, sports, transport, medical services and progress on the construction of Olympic facilities.

``We had a look at all the plans for the competition venues and for the Paralympic village and focused on the accessibility issues there,″ said Susanne Reiff, a spokeswoman for the IPC. She said Paralympics officials were pleased with the progress that has been made.

``There really seems to be good awareness of the disability issues,″ Reiff said.

Disabled Athenians who took part in the rally were protesting their inability to use wheelchairs in the capital and demanded the widening of narrow streets and sidewalks. They said another top priority is access to public transport, including special ramps on buses, and work areas fitted for their needs.

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