Athens: marchers remember 1973

Tony Gosling tony at
Wed Nov 17 20:57:18 GMT 2010

Athens: marchers remember 1973
Wednesday 17 November 2010 by Tom Mellen

Around 15,000 demonstrators marched through 
central Athens to the US embassy today to mark 
the anniversary of a 1973 student uprising that 
heralded the end of the US-backed military dictatorship then ruling Greece.

More than 6,000 police were deployed and roads 
along the demonstration route were blocked off.

Minor clashes broke out when riot police 
prevented youths from entering the Athens Polytechnic campus.

Black-clad protesters threw stones and at least 
one flare, while police fired stun grenades and tear gas.

No injuries or arrests were immediately reported.

The November 17 demonstration is held to 
commemorate the uprising at the Athens 
Polytechnic, which was crushed by the junta, and 
to protest at US backing for the 1967-74 regime.

The exact death toll from the events in November 
1973 has never been definitively established, but 
dozens were killed when tanks smashed through the polytechic's gates.

Thousands of people - many of them students - 
entered the Polytechnic campus this morning to 
lay flowers in memory of the democracy activists.

With Greece in the midst of a severe market 
meltdown that has seen the government impose 
deeply regressive cost-cutting measures under 
pressure from the EU and the International 
Monetary Fund (IMF), this year's demonstration targeted the "IMF junta."

"Stand up to the IMF junta," read banners, while 
demonstrators chanted: "We want work, not reforms 
and unemployment" and "No IMF, no EU, let's take our fate into our hands."

Greece's social democratic government has all but 
handed control of the country's finances to the 
unelected officials at the IMF and the EU in 
return for a three-year €110 billion (£93.5bn) 
loan that helped it to avoid defaulting on its debts earlier this year.

Under the tutelage of the two neoliberal 
organisations the Pasok administration has 
slashed public-sector pay and pensions, while ramping up taxes.

The government will submit its full 2011 budget to parliament tomorrow.

The document is widely expected to include 
additional attacks on the working class, although 
the prime minister has pledged that new reforms 
will not involve further pay cuts or new taxes.
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