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Greece's student heroes remembered

Greece's student heroes remembered
By Robert Hackwill
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The 1973 student uprising in Athens that was crushed with tanks and heavy loss of life was not the end of Greece's military dictatorship, but it marked the beginning of the end.


Every year on November 17 a bloodied Greek flag is carried through the streets of the Greek capital, Athens.

It is in memory of the Polytechnic students who, in 1973, died for democracy at the hands of the country's military dictatorship.

"The Polytechnic University Uprising was not the one to overthrow Greece’s military junta. However, it helped reveal its relentless face. During the unprecedented crackdown before and just after the campus occupation, according to the latest studies, 40 people were killed and over 1,100 injured," reports euronews' panos Kitsikopoulos.

The flag is carried to the US embassy where there are noisy, sometimes violent protests every year, as America was seen as a sponsor of the 1967-74 military junta, and a supporter.

Forty-five-year-old banners reading USA OUT and NATO OUT are brought out and repainted for the event.

The army used tanks to break into the occupation. the crushed campus gate is still here, now a shrine for floral tributes.

"This commemoration is not a museum anniversary, it’s something dynamic. Nowadays there’s a grave need to fight for certain things, which a few years back were obvious," said history teacher Stefanos Ganotis.

Many Greeks are still disgusted at what they see as allied betrayal after they had fought the Nazis together, with the British and Americans, post World War Two, obsessed with stopping the strong Greek Communist party, that eventually led to Washington backing the army takeover.

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