August 9, 2020

Thousands of Greeks protest on anniversary of the student revolt of 1973

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated this Sunday in the center of Athens to commemorate the anniversary of the student revolt of the Polytechnic University in 1973, symbol of the end of the colonel's dictatorship in Greece.

According to the Police confirmed to Efe, about 20,000 people, mostly young people, made the traditional journey from the vicinity of the Polytechnic and Syntagma Square to the United States embassy.

While the march was taking place, six people were arrested and two were arrested after a search in the central neighborhood of Exarjia, known for its marked anarchist and anti-system character, where the Polytechnic is located and clashes normally occur with the Police every November 17 .

According to local media, the detainees were on the roof of a building and had Molotov cocktails, gas masks, stones, gloves and other objects that were confiscated.

The motto "The Polytechnic is not a museum" was chanted throughout the march (in reference to the Government's plan to transfer the building to the adjoining National Archaeological Museum), "Bread, education and freedom" (the slogan intoned by opponents of the regime ) and many slogans against the Police and the elimination of the so-called "university asylum", the prohibition of police intervention on campuses without the explicit permission of the university authorities.

This year, the anniversary of the revolt was marked by a greater police presence in Exarjia and by being the first after the repeal of the university asylum by the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, shortly after taking office.

This same Monday the first confrontations between agents and students were recorded on a campus for the elimination of asylum, which was established by law some years after the revolt to avoid new tragedies such as November 1973.

Between November 14 and 17, 1973, the Polytechnic University of Athens hosted a student uprising that was crushed by the eruption of tanks on campus, an event that marked the beginning of the end of the Colonel's dictatorship, which fell on 1974 after seven years in power.

In the list of deaths in the Polytechnic of Athens drawn up after the fall of the dictatorship were the names of 55 people, although the official count only speaks of 24 dead.

Today the massive demonstration, which lasted about four hours, was as usual headed by the association of prisoners and exiles during the dictatorship.

In addition, groups of students and professors, anarchist, anti-fascist, anti-racist movements, left-wing political parties and unions participated.

In the streets of the center of the Greek capital, cut off to traffic, more than 5,000 police officers were deployed to reinforce security along the course of the march.

In addition, several drones and a helicopter watched the protest from the air.

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