Minor Skirmishes as Greece Celebrates Anti-Junta Uprising

Southeast Europe | November 18, 2014, Tuesday // 10:18|  views


Greeks commemorated on November 17 the 41st anniversary of the 1973 Athens Polytechnic Uprising with demonstrations in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and most major cities.

In Athens between 20 000 and 25 000 participated in the annual protest rally in front of the embassy of the USA, showing their disapproval of US support for the Greek military junta (1967-1974).

The demonstrators were guarded by a police force of 7 000 men, which had been deployed in order to prevent repetition of violent incidents that had taken place in previous commemorations.

Security was heightened following last week's clashes between students and the police in the Greek capital, which protested the decision to close down universities in order to prevent sit-ins.

Despite the tightened measures, a minor skirmish occurred in downtown Athens, just a few meters before the US embassy, when anti-establishment parties and anarchists clashed with the police, which necessitated the use of tear gas and stun grenades, with several of the protesters getting arrested.

Further street fights at Athens Tower, the Polytechnic University and the headquarters of Attica's regional police resulted in four demonstrators and one policeman being taken to hospital.

Demonstrators in front of the US embassy included victims of the 7-year military junta, students, anti-establishment parties, anarchists, and communists.

In Thessaloniki demonstrators numbered between 14 000 and 15 000, guarded by 1 000-strong police force.

The crowd made a peaceful rally to the US consulate with some minor incidents occuring on the way.

In recent years the annual commemorations are coupled with protests against the austerity measures imposed on Greece by the troika of international creditors: the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

The 1973 Athens Polytechnic Uprising was a popular rejection of the military junta that escalated into an open revolt after a tank had crashed through the gates of the Polytechnic. The events that unfolded eventually led to the fall of the regime a year later.

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Tags: greece, Athens, Thessaloniki, 1973, Athens Polytechnic Uprising, demonstration, commemoration


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