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Tension and arrests during the Athens Polytechnic procession

18 November 2010 / 10:11:50  GRReporter
5784 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Cameraman: Dimitirs Kitsikoudis

Once again the procession on the anniversary of the events in the Athens Polytechnic became a stage of clashes between anarchists and police. Captured were 50 people, 15 of them are expected to be arrested. According to police information, 20,000 people were involved in the procession.

Shortly after 18:30 some of the demonstrators began to throw smoke bombs and bottles against the police surrounding the building of the US Embassy in Athens. Some of them managed to throw light missiles in the courtyard of the diplomatic mission. Police responded with tear gas. According to police sources, anarchists that broke away from the procession attacked the police with stones, wooden sticks, light missiles and other objects. To stop them the police used chemical gases. The clashes occurred in two locations, close to the area around the US Embassy.

A man was taken to hospital after being wounded in the leg by a small bomb in central Athens subway station Ambelokipi. Two photographers even said they were assaulted by police on the Vassilis Sofias Boulevard and the camera of one of them broke in result.

Two hours earlier a group of anarchists attacked student members of the youth organization of the ruling PASOK party near the central Syntagma Square. Tensions between them cooled quickly due to the sudden and torrential rain that poured over the Greek capital. The police arrested 29 people after that incident, which were later released.

The procession, which closed the celebrations on the 37th anniversary of the students revolt against the military dictatorship in Greece, began early in the afternoon with a traditional handing out the Athens Polytechnic flag, stained with the blood of the students who died in the heroic events.

The names of all the slain students were mentioned in a brief ceremony at the historic building. ‘Brothers, you are alive and show us the way,’ cried in response today's students at the Polytechnics and went on their annual procession through downtown Athens, which traditionally will end in front of the US embassy. On their way through central Athens streets they chanted: ‘Americans, murderers of peoples’, ‘Polytechnic is alive and invites us to new struggles’, ‘Polytechnic was not a holiday, but people's revolution and struggle,’ ‘Independence and people’s governance,’ ‘Revolutions are not placed in museums,’ ‘On to the polytechnics of our generation.’

Torrential rain did not stop young people’s march and when they approached the US Embassy they began to shout: ‘You here at the Embassy killed our brothers in 1973.’ The students who waved the flag of the Polytechnic placed a few red carnations on the road, knelt and sang the national anthem. The police allowed five of them to approach the US Embassy building and shout slogans to protest the events that happened 37 years ago.

Then the procession of the Communist Party passed. The organizers followed closely the long lines of demonstrators and ask them to move forward after passing along the US Embassy for fear of provocations.

Over 7 000 policemen guarded the center of Athens, the buildings of government institutions and of the US Embassy. Police helicopter hovered over Athens and followed the course of the procession.

Slight collisions were recorded at the branch of the University of Patras, located in the city center. There was tension in Thessaloniki, where a group of youths with flags sticks in their hands confronted prior to the formal wreaths laying at the monument in the courtyard of the Polytechnic faculty.

Tags: ClashesPoliceAnarchistsNovember 17AthensAmerican Embassy
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