Greek police ban public gatherings ahead of Polytechnic Uprising anniversary

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A four-day ban throughout Greece was put into effect on Sunday for all public gatherings of more than four people, according to the Greek police.

The ban, which runs from Sunday, November 15, to Wednesday, November 18, comes as Greece prepares to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic Uprising on November 17.

The uprising was a youth revolt that ultimately led to the collapse of the military junta a few months later and the death of at least 24 people.

Every year, a traditional march from the Polytechnic School to the US Embassy takes place to mark the anniversary but there has been widespread political controversy recently about whether the march should take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Stelios Petsas: Annual Athens Polytechnic Uprising march unlikely to go ahead.

The Greek government has urged people not to participate and has threatened with heavy fines those who do not obey the extraordinary rules.

Specifically, organisations which prepare and execute any protest will be fined 5,000 euro, individuals who organise gatherings face fines of 3,000 euro each, and individuals who choose to attend such gatherings face a penalty of 300 euro.

But the Secretary-General of the Greek Communist Party KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, said that the march to the US Embassy will have to take place, even under strict social distancing measures.

“All the measures will be strictly observed with the use of face masks and antiseptics, keeping the necessary distances and of course, we urge people belonging to vulnerable groups or those who are ill to stay at home,” Mr Koutsoumbas said on Saturday when speaking with the public broadcaster ERT.

READ MORE: Tensions at Athens University rise as anniversary of ‘Athens Polytechnic Uprising’ approaches.

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