by Aggelos Skordas
Demonstrators, which were mostly Greek university students and school pupils attempted to demolish the statue of former US President Harry Truman in downtown Athens on Monday after an anti-war protest against the recent air strikes on Syria were carried out by the United States, Great Britain and France. The protestors rally started from the Athens University main building and moved towards the US Embassy, where they clashed with riot police squads.
A small group of protestors approached the statue of Harry Truman on central Vassileos Konstantinou Avenue and tried to cut it off its base using a motorised cutting tool and attempted to tug it down with ropes. Riot police squads intervened and tension escalated. During the clashes police used tear gas and repelled demonstrators with batons. Three people were injured while two protestors were detained.
The statue, which has been repeatedly targeted in the past and toppled twice, suffered minor damages. Monday’s protest was organised by the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and is the third to take place in the Greek capital since last Saturday’s US-led air strikes against war-torn Syria.
The bronze statue of United States’ 33rd President stands at around 12-feet in Greece’s capital in a central square near the US Embassy. Erected in 1963 and funded by Greek-American organisations, it was built to pay tribute to the so-called Truman Doctrine the purpose of which was to counter Soviet expansion during the Cold War. It was first announced to Congress by President Truman on March 1947 and saw Greece receiving financial aid to combat the Greek Communist Party-led Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) during the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949. In 1968 the statue was bombed and had to be replaced.