Athens Polytechnic uprising a "timeless lesson that KKE is prerequisite for workers' movements"

Athens Polytechnic Uprising

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the historic Polytechnic Uprising in 1973.

"The 1973 Polytechnic Uprising was "the culmination of an effort to organise the anti-dictatorship struggle, which began the day after its imposition on April 21, 1967."

To this effort, it was added, "the KKE members and cadres devoted all of their energies in conditions of brutal state repression and demanding sacrifices."

It is "a timeless lesson that the ideological, political and organisational formation and development of KKE is a prerequisite for the recovery and counter-attack of the workers' and the people's movement in all circumstances," emphasised.

Kasselakis to lay wreath at EAT-ESA memorial on Friday

SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Stefanos Kasselakis will lay a wreath at the memorial in the grounds of the former Special Interrogation Section-Hellenic Military Police (EAT-ESA), at Parko Eleftherias (Freedom Park), at 12:30 on Friday afternoon.

At the historical site one finds the bust of late military officer Spiros Moustaklis, who was arrested by the military junta for his anti-dictatorial struggle and was left paralyzed as a result of continued torturing at EAT-ESA for 47 days.

November 17, 1973: Athens Polytechnic uprising

November 17, 1973: Athens Polytechnic uprising

November 17 commemorates the Athens Polytechnic Uprising in 1973, which was a massive demonstration of popular rejection of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974.

The uprising actually began on November 14, 1973, and escalated to an open anti-junta revolt and ended in bloodshed in the early morning of November 17, after a series of events starting with a tank crashing through the gates of the Polytechnic.

Since April 21, 1967, Greece had been under the dictatorial rule of the military, a regime that abolished civil rights, dissolved political parties and exiled, imprisoned and tortured politicians and citizens based on their political beliefs.

The junta, trying to control every aspect of politics, had interfered with student syndicalism since 1967 by banning student elections in universities, forcibly drafting students and imposing non-elected student union leaders in the national student’s union.

These actions eventually created anti-junta sentiments among students, such as geology student Kostas Georgakis who committed suicide in 1970 in Genoa, Italy as an act of protest against the junta. With that exception, the first massive public action against the junta came from students on February 21, 1973.

November 17, 1973: Athens Polytechnic uprising

On February 21, 1973, law students went on strike. They barricaded themselves inside the buildings of the Law School of the University of Athens in the centre of Athens, demanding repeal of the law that imposed forcible drafting of “subversive youths”, as 88 of their peers had been forcibly drafted.

The police were ordered to intervene, and many students were reportedly subjected to police brutality. The events at the Law School are often cited as the prelude to the Polytechnic uprising.

On November 14th, 1973, students gathered at the Athens Polytechnic to demonstrate against the Junta. This demonstration, coordinated with occupations of campuses in Patras and Thessaloniki, turned into a student rebellion that gathered strength every day as more and more people joined.

On the 16th of November, the students and other demonstrators attempted to march from the Polytechnic to Syntagma Square, but the police halted them.

November 17, 1973: Athens Polytechnic uprising

At 2 am on November 17th, tanks were ordered to crush the student rebellion at the Polytechnic. At 2:15, a group of students came out to negotiate a surrender asking for half an hour to evacuate the campus.

The officers in charge said they would only give them fifteen minutes but didn’t even wait for ten. At 3 am, a tank crashed through the polytechnic gate, and police and military stormed the campus.

As the gate crashed to the ground, students rushed out to escape and were beaten with clubs and arrested. At least 34 demonstrators were killed though many reports claim that the number is much higher.

November 17 is marked as a holiday in Greece for all educational establishments.

November 17, 1973: Athens Polytechnic uprising

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