Thousands of people marched through the streets of Athens on Monday to mark the anniversary of the 1973 student uprising that led to the fall of Greece’s dictatorship.
On November 17, 1973, scores of students were killed when the army opened fire around the campus of the Athens Polytechnic University.The protest contributed to the fall of the military junta the following year.
Every year, Greeks gather at the university where they lay flowers and pay their respects at the gate which was brought down by a tank. They then move on to the United States embassy, as many Greeks believe the US supported the dictatorship.
“We must be united in keeping the fighting spirit of this event alive and not commemorate it with a partisan attitude,” said one demonstrator.
Another said: “The 1973 events are timeless. They taught us that the only fights that were lost were those that were never fought.”
Euronews correspondent in Athens, Stamatis Giannisis, explains that it is something of a tradition that the memorial march of the 1973 student uprising turns into a protest against the policies of the government of the day. He adds that after almost five years of severe austerity and high unemployment, the marchers have seized the opportunity in order to voice their protest against the economic and social policies of the current conservative/socialist coalition government.