FROM NICK AXARLIS IN ATHENS
TRULY unprecedented spontaneous mass demonstrations of thousands of furious workers and students have forced the cancellation of the official military parade in Salonica, northern Greece, on the anniversary of fascist Italy’s attack on Greece in 1940. It is the first time that the military parade has been cancelled.
The President of the Greek Republic, and nominal Head of State, Karolos Papoulias, and ministers were forced to flee the officials’ stand as thousands shouted ‘traitors, traitors!’ A shaken Papoulias stated: ‘I’m not a traitor, as a young man I fought against fascism.’
But the Greek Resistance national hero 89-year-old Manolis Glezos, who took down the Nazi flag from the Acropolis in 1941, enthusiastically saluted the Salonica demonstrators and stated that ‘today the people of Salonica said No to a new occupation of Greece as we said No in 1940.’
The crowds staged an anti-government demonstration instead. Several riot police squads present were withdrawn.
In Athens and in all major Greek cities the Anniversary parades of only school students went ahead but Ministers and government officials were mercilessly attacked by workers and youth with a barrage of eggs and fruit.
As in Salonica, the crowds held up banners against the government and the transformation of Greece into an EC dominion following the decisions of Wednesday’s summit that imposed an EC ‘overseer’ on Greece.
The Athens Municipal Band musicians were threatened by the Mayor for wearing black ties and playing a steady rhythm instead of march music. The musicians just ignored him and carried on their protest to the protracted applause of the crowds.
In the cities of Heraklio, Volos and Patras, with a large working class, massive protests cancelled the parades while officials were attacked.