Clashes mar stu­dent up­ris­ing an­niver­sary

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The an­niver­sary yes­ter­day of the deadly crack­down on a stu­dent up­ris­ing in 1973 by the mil­i­tary junta at the time was marred by clashes be­tween ri­ot­ers and po­lice in the Exarchia area of Athens.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, some 300 self-styled an­ar­chists in hoods pelted riot po­lice units with petrol bombs in and around the Athens Polytech­nic, the site where, 43 years ago, army tanks crashed through the gates to put down a stu­dent re­volt, re­port­edly leav­ing dozens of dead be­hind.

One group of ri­ot­ers, de­scrib­ing them­selves as an­ar­chists, oc­cu­pied one of the Polytech­nic’s build­ings and set up road blocks with bro­ken chairs on sur­round­ing streets. Po­lice, who fired tear gas against the ri­ot­ers, said they ar­rested at least two peo­ple.

An Athens prose­cu­tor had ear­lier given the po­lice the green light to en­ter the premises of the Polytech­nic if the force deemed there was suf­fi­cient cause to do so.

Be­fore the out­break of the clashes, the an­niver­sary was marked by some 16,000 peo­ple who took part in a peace­ful march through Athens, chant­ing slo­gans against rising un­em­ploy­ment, pen­sion and wage cuts, and the left­ist-led govern­ment, which went back on its pre-elec­tion prom­ises to scrap aus­ter­ity. The march ended, as is cus­tom­ary, at the tightly guarded US Em­bassy. The US was blamed for of­fer­ing its sup­port to the dic­ta­tor­ship, which lasted from 1967 to 1974, shortly af­ter the Turk­ish in­va­sion of Cyprus.

In re­cent years the march has served as a plat­form for de­mon­stra­tors to vent anger over the im­po­si­tion of harsh fis­cal mea­sures.

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras marked the an­niver­sary say­ing that rul­ing SYRIZA has held on to the “thread of the stu­dent up­ris­ing in 1973 and is build­ing a new Greece.”

But his com­ments were slammed by op­po­si­tion par­ties who accused him of turn­ing his back on the plight of peo­ple suf­fer­ing un­der harsh aus­ter­ity.

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