Tens of thousands of Greeks have participated in marches through Athens to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the student uprising against the US backed military junta. The blood stained flag that flew over the Athens Polytechnic on the night of November 17th, 1973, was carried at the front of the march in memory of those who had been murdered. “Bread, Education, Freedom” chanted the marchers, just as they had done 40 years ago. 6,000 extra police were deployed around Athens and security stepped up at the US embassy.
Both marches ended outside the US embassy, which is around 2 miles away from the National Technical University, the centre of the 1973 uprising. The uprising was brutally dealt with by the military, using tanks to across the campus, and killing scores of people, with over 1,000 people injured.
One of the marchers, 63 year old farmer, Thodoros Psarras, said that:
“I was a student in France and watched all the events of the uprising on television. Forty years later, no one can separate (these events) from the drama Greeks experience today. The economic crisis has become unbearable. Although 40 years have gone by, we now experience a greater dictatorship and no one is reacting.”
Another marcher said:
“We came to honour those that were killed, that died for freedom and democracy. I want my kids to understand those ideals, to have them in their lives and to try and stand up for them in the future.”
The march passed largely without incident; however, the police used teargas to disperse several hundred protesters who had been throwing rocks and petrol bombs at the Golden Dawn offices. Following the march the police announced that they made over 100 pre-emptive arrests earlier in the day.
The annual march has become a focal point for austerity protesters. Hundreds of people could be seen carrying banners with anti-EU and anti-austerity slogans, with many people drawing parallels between the regime 40 years ago and the current government. Dozens of people set fire to American and Nazi flags outside the US embassy in protest of Washington’s support of the military Junta, and also against the fascist Golden Dawn Party.
Brief news footage of the march
Brief film footage and images of the uprising in 1973