Some 20,000 people marched peacefully through Athens on Wednesday to mark the 48th anniversary of a bloody anti-dictatorship uprising in 1973, according to AP News.
More than 5,000 police were deployed to keep order. They were supported by drones, a helicopter and water cannons as violence regularly breaks out during the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens.
A similar demonstration was held in Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki, with about 14,000 participants. The march ended peacefully, but afterwards masked youths threw petrol bombs at police who responded with tear gas and a water cannon. No injuries or arrests were reported.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said the 1973 uprising reinforced the country’s “daily commitment to a secure democracy.”
“48 years since the historic uprising of the Polytechnic, we remember and honour. We inspire and dare. We think and move on! The messages of those great moments are being transformed, today, into a daily orientation towards a secure democracy,” Mitsotakis wrote.
Elsewhere, Greek President, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, laid a wreath at a memorial to the victims of the uprising.
“We honour the victims, the students and all the fighters who stood up against violence and anomy. Their sacrifices, just like their love for freedom and democracy, continue to inspire us,” Sakellaroupoulou said on the day.
The Greek president also stressed the importance of supporting young people and their “expectations for a better future.”
“The young men and women of today, who after the economic crisis are also having to deal with the pandemic, are required to make their way in a world full of challenges and uncertainties,” she said.
“It is our duty to stand by them and to support their expectations for a better future, in the context of an open society that includes as all.”
The anniversary commemorates the 1973 student-led pro-democracy protests at the Athens Polytechnic which were crushed by police and troops sent by the military regime. Officers opened fire on unarmed demonstrators and bystanders near the Polytechnic, and an army tank smashed in the gates of the university complex behind which many students were gathered.
At least 20 are thought to have been killed, though the precise death toll of the November 1973 events remains unknown.
Source: AP News.