16 November, 2009

Polytechnio One Day Before 17th November

Tomorrow is 17 November, 36 years since the Polytechnio uprising.

On 17 November 1973, the military dictator Georgios Papadopoulos decided to send an army and armed police, including one tank, to suppress the students and other civilians who were protesting against the dictatorship in and around the Polytechnio. In the course of military action, 24 civilians were killed and many more injured. This event lead to the fall of Papadopoulos. Although the dictatorship did not collapse immediately, those students and civilians who fought for democracy and freedom were known as the Heros of Polytechnio.

So, I went to check out Polytechnio today. There will be a march and demonstration tomorrow from Polytechnio to the American Embassy (because, back then, the US was backing the Greek junta), but it is expected that some destructive/anarchist elements will join it and consequently I was advised not to go there on 17 November.


This is the monument commemorating the incident. Many people were coming to dedicate flowers on it. Later, I saw on TV Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou putting flower.

I presume this is the gate destroyed by the army tank in 1973.

Damage made by it.

I look forward to see documentaries on this incident on TV and also to follow how the demonstration will go tomorrow. In 1973, the students were unarmed and had clear causes (democracy, freedom as civil rights, against foreign influence etc.) to advocate. Their slogan was "Bread-Education-Freedom (Ψωμί-Παιδεία-Ελευθερία)". On the other hand a part of recent demonstrators is just destructive (smashing shop and car windows and throwing molotov cocktails) without any clear reason. It will be sad if this day to commemorate democracy and freedom is made to turn into just a day of violence and destruction.

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