AS a result of the huge austerity rocking the Greek economy, this year’s march to commemorate the Athens Polytechnic student uprising was the biggest since the event started.
Some 60,000 students, workers and unemployed marched on Sunday from the Athens city centre to the American Embassy in the annual demonstration commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic Uprising that led to the overthrow of the military junta that ruled Greece in 1974.
Huge students’ contingents from all Athens universities carried large banners calling for the overthrow of the coalition government and their overlords, the troika of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank who have imposed the barbaric Accords of 60 per cent youth unemployment and £300 monthly wages as hospitals, schools, university department and social security services are being shut down.
Several soldiers in uniform marched with the students shouting slogans such as: ‘Rage of people, uprising everywhere to kick out the government, the EU and the IMF’, ‘No sackings no unemployment, make the plutocracy pay for the crisis’, ‘No to the IMF, no to the EU, people take the situation into your own hands’, ‘Bread, education, freedom – the junta did not end in 1973’.
According to the Greek police, over 5,000 armed riot police and ‘security officers’ were positioned throughout the course of the march, while luxury hotels, embassies, the Vouli (Greek parliament), state building and the USA Embassy were surrounded by police buses and scores of riot police at the ready.
At the end of the Athens march riot police attacked with tear-gas contingents who wanted to carry on past the USA Embassy. Greek police announced that some 200 people were arrested throughout the day released later and only three were charged.
Mass demonstrations took place in all Greek cities and in Corfu, Patras and Salonica riot police attacked marches.
In Athens large contingents of workers currently in strike action, such as university administrative workers and hospital workers, took part in the march as well as sacked teachers and Athens Metro workers still, for 11 months now, ‘under civil conscription’ of emergency dictatorial laws which prohibit any strike action.
In the front section of the march were the sacked ERT (state TV and radio corporation) workers.
A delegation of the Revolutionary Marxist League (Greek Section of the Fourth International) participated in the march with placards calling for victory to the strikers and for a united front of all workers to organise an indefinite political general strike, for the kicking out of the treacherous trades union bureaucracy, and for the overthrow of capitalism and for a socialist workers’ and small farmers’ government.