NOVEMBER 17 2012 Athens, Greece.
39 years ago on this day the Greek Military Junta sent a tank into the Polytechnic University to quell a student uprising that had already been going on for 3 days. After breaking down the gates of the university soldiers opened fire on those inside. Officially the government claimed only some 40 people were killed, while more accurate estimations are closer to 150 dead. Martial law was declared and military units patrolled Athens all night beating, torturing, and meting out summary executions. However the students and Greek civil society would have the last laugh. The polytechnic uprising signalled the beginning of the end of the Military Junta. Years later an underground armed struggle group would take on the name November 17th in memory of the democracy movement’s martyrs.
This year thousands of students, and members of the general population marched from the Polytechnic University through downtown Athens, and Syntagma Square and in front of Parliament. As is the tradition the march continued on to the American Embassy, the historic destination. The American government supported the Junta both logistically and publicly as part of it’s broader Cold War strategy. This year the march didn’t stop at the American embassy, instead it moved on to the Israeli Embassy in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian population and as a show of protest to the recent escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip.