Defying police deployment, Greeks commemorate 47th anniversary of Polytechnic uprising

The Athens Polytechnic uprising of 1973 was a key moment in the resistance to the right-wing junta that then ruled Greece. This year, the New Democracy government had tried to ban commemorative gatherings citing COVID-19

November 18, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Polytechnic Uprising -Greece
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) led the mobilizations to commemorate the Polytechnic uprising. (Photo: via 902.gr)

On November 17, Tuesday, progressive sections in Greece marched in capital Athens and other cities, marking the 47th anniversary of the Polytechnic Uprising of 1973. The mobilization was carried out despite massive deployment of police forces, and defying the right-wing government’s ban on demonstrations.

In Athens, demonstrations were held in Eleftherias Park and in front of the US embassy, while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocol. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) led the mobilizations. Major demonstrations were also held in the Greek cities of Thessaloniki, Patras, Peristeri, Kavala, and others.

The Athens Polytechnic uprising started as a massive demonstration against the right-wing US-backed military junta that ruled Greece between 1967-1974. On November 14, 1973, a students’ strike in the Athens Polytechnic escalated into an open anti-junta revolt, ending in bloodshed in the early hours of November 17. The student uprising is hailed as a valiant act of resistance against the military dictatorship, and as a symbol of resistance to tyranny.

On Tuesday, secretary general of the central committee of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, paid tribute to the fallen heroes of the Polytechnic uprising. He stated that “the messages of the Polytechnic Uprising are alive, timeless and up-to-date. The slogans against imperialism and the slogans for bread, education, freedom, work, education, and health continue to shake the hearts of the Greek youth, the Greek people, who are fighting today and every day against an anti-popular policy that continues all these years.” 

Koutsoumbas slammed the right-wing New Democracy (ND) government’s attempts to ban demonstrations on November 17 under the pretext of COVID-19 restrictions.

Regarding the mobilization on Tuesday, the KNE stated, “instead of sending armed police to the streets and universities to terrorize the people, the government should send doctors to hospitals, teachers to schools and universities, inspectors to the workplaces to protect the people and the youth. Instead of banning demonstrations, the government  should ban the gambling of the health of the people.”

The KNE also organized an online concert on Tuesday, commemorating the Polytechnic uprising, entitled: “The street has its own history …” 

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