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Greeks mark anniversary of 1973 uprising against junta

Athens, Nov 17 (EFE).- Thousands of people marched here Thursday to commemorate the anniversary of a 1973 student rebellion against the military junta that then ruled Greece.

Police confirmed to EFE that at least 20,000 people took part in the procession from Athens Polytechnic university to the Embassy of the United States, which supported the 1967-1974 “Regime of the Colonels.”

Marchers chanted “the youth don’t forget that November” and the slogan of the 1973 uprising: “bread, education, freedom.”

The commemoration also featured songs by Mikis Theodorakis (1925-2021), a political prisoner during the military regime whose more than 1,000 works included the scores for “Zorba the Greek,” “Z” and “Serpico.”

Some 5,000 police were deployed along the route and the march was monitored from the air by drones and helicopters.

The event unfolded peacefully, unlike another commemorative march in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where hooded protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with stun grenades.

In Athens, the mainly young crowd was joined for the occasion by the Greek Communist Party chief Dimitris Kutsubas and by former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, leader of the main opposition Syriza party.

“The message of the Polytechnic revolt is today more relevant than ever,” Tsipras said, alluding to the scandal over revelations that the current conservative government has been spying on journalists and political opponents.

On Nov. 17, 1973, the fourth consecutive day of pro-democracy rallies at Athens Polytechnic, army tanks rolled in to crush the protest.

Anywhere from two-dozen to 55 people were killed and a photograph of the first tank crashing through the university gate and dragging students in its wake has become iconic.

Though the junta would remain in power for another eight months, the Athens Polytechnic protests catalyzed resistance to army rule.

The colonels were forced out in July 1974 after their attempt to unify Cyprus with the Greek mainland collapsed in the face of a Turkish invasion of the island. EFE


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