November 17, 1973, Uprising of the Polytechnic
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.
Since April 21, 1967,
Greece had been under the dictatorial rule of the military, a regime which abolished civil rights, dissolved political parties and exiled, imprisoned and tortured politicians and citizens based on their political beliefs.
The Athens Polytechnic uprising occurred in November 1973 as a massive student demonstration of popular rejection of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974. The uprising began on 14 November 1973, escalated to an open anti-junta revolt, and ended in bloodshed in the early morning of 17 November after a series of events starting with a tank crashing through the gates of the Polytechnic.
On 14 November 1973, students at the Athens Polytechnic (Polytechneion) went on strike and started protesting against the military regime. As the authorities stood by, the students were calling themselves the “Free Besieged” (Greek: Ελεύθεροι Πολιορκημένοι, a reference to the poem by Greek poet Dionysios Solomos inspired by the Ottoman siege of Mesolonghi).
Their main demand-slogan was:
During the second day of the occupation (often called celebration day), thousands of people from Athens poured in to support the students. A radio transmitter was set up and Maria Damanaki, then a student and member of A-EFEE, popularized the slogan “Bread-Education-Freedom”. The demands of the occupation were anti-imperialistic and anti-NATO.
A proclamation was announced on Friday, 16 November by the CCO that the students were aiming to bring down the Junta. During the afternoon, demonstrations and attacks against neighbouring ministries took place. Central roads closed, fires erupted and Molotov cocktails were thrown for the first time in Athens. The Junta decided to reply firmly, by repressing the riots. Snipers were placed at buildings next to the Polytechnic and assassinated 24 people in total. Students barricaded themselves in and constructed a radio station (using laboratory equipment) that repeatedly broadcast across Athens:
Polytechneion here! Polytechneion here! People of Greece, the Polytechneion is the flag bearer of our struggle and your struggle, our common struggle against the dictatorship and for democracy!
Soon thousands of workers and youngsters joined them protesting inside and outside of the “Athens Polytechnic”. In the early hours of November 17, 1973, the transitional government sent a tank crashing through the gates of the Athens Polytechnic. Soon after that, Spyros Markezinis himself had the task to request Papadopoulos to reimpose martial law. Prior to the crackdown, the city lights had been shut down, and the area was only lit by the campus lights, powered by the university generators. An AMX 30 Tank (still kept in a small armored unit museum in a military camp in Avlonas, not open to the public) crashed the rail gate of the Athens Polytechnic at around 03:00 am.
17 November is currently observed as a holiday in Greece for all educational establishments,
commemorative services are held and students attend school only for these, while some schools and all universities stay closed during the day. The central location for the commemoration is the campus of the Polytechneio. Students and politicians lay wreaths on a monument within the Polytechneio on which the names of Polytechneio students killed during the Greek Resistance in the 1940s are inscribed.
πηγή : el.wikipedia.org