Greek police use tear gasoline to interrupt up march marking 1973 rebellion

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Athens, Greece – Police in Athens have fired tear gasoline and sprayed water cannon to disperse peaceable demonstrators who defied a coronavirus-related ban to participate in a rally to commemorate a 1973 scholar rebellion towards Greece’s then-military rulers.
The November 17 anniversary holds a extremely symbolic worth for Greeks, with tens of hundreds of individuals marching every year to honour these killed when the safety forces moved in to crush the days-long revolt at Athens Polytechnic University. The rebellion set into movement a sequence of occasions that in 1974 led to the downfall of the seven-year, United States-backed dictatorship.
This 12 months, demonstrators pledged to additionally take to the streets on Tuesday regardless of a ban on gatherings introduced by the police citing well being considerations because of a surge within the variety of COVID-19 instances that earlier this month pressured the federal government to re-introduce lockdown restrictions.
Tensions mounted within the early afternoon as greater than 2,000 individuals in central Athens – carrying masks, sustaining bodily distancing and chanting slogans corresponding to “The Polytechnic lives, out with the Americans” – rallied underneath an overcast sky as navy helicopters flew overhead.
Police, numbering within the hundreds, used tear gasoline and water cannon to interrupt up the demonstration, prompting condemnation from opposition events and different teams.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the nation’s fourth-biggest parliamentary pressure, mentioned police attacked its parliamentary spokesman, whereas 5 members of the party-affiliated PAME union had been detained.
Police spokesperson Theodoros Chronopoulos mentioned greater than 20 individuals had been detained, with at the least one particular person arrested after police discovered gasoline masks and wood sticks in his automobile.
Protesters flee tear gasoline and a water cannon throughout clashes with riot police, because the Greek authorities banned the annual march to mark the anniversary of a 1973 scholar revolt as a result of coronavirus illness (COVID-19) pandemic, in Athens, Greece, November 17, 2020 [Costas Baltas/Reuters]Earlier within the day, KKE members marched from the Polytechnic to the US embassy whereas the primary opposition Syriza social gathering despatched a delegation to a wreath-laying ceremony at a website the place the navy authorities used to interrogate individuals.
“Democracy and historical memory cannot be placed under quarantine,” Alexis Tsipras, Syriza chief and former prime minister, mentioned after attending the bodily distanced gathering.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Katerina Sakellaropoulou additionally laid wreaths on the Polytechnic.
‘Reminds of me dark days’
Critics decried the ban as a “slip towards authoritarianism”, with left-wing opposition events difficult its constitutionality at Greece’s highest administrative courtroom, the Council of State. The declare was, nonetheless, rejected.
“The protection of health and life justify the decision to take these measures,” mentioned Nikos Alivizatos, an historian and professor of Constitutional Law on the University of Athens.
“Making the excuse that these measures are unconstitutional is ridiculous and irresponsible,” he mentioned.
Protesters apply social distancing throughout a rally marking the anniversary of a 1973 scholar revolt towards the then navy authorities [Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters]Others, nonetheless, disagreed.
“The ban is not about a health issue,” mentioned 21-year-old Elina Feidopiasti who used to work in a espresso store now closed as a result of lockdown. “COVID-19 is real, [and that’s why] we have masks on and we are respecting social distancing,” she added. “We are here to protest against how little the government has done to protect us, its failure cost lives.”
The nation is witnessing report numbers in new COVID-19 instances. On Sunday, officers reported 71 coronavirus-related deaths, the very best quantity for the reason that starting of the pandemic. Overall, it has registered greater than 76,400 confirmed infections and 1,165 deaths.
Greece whose healthcare system has removed from recovered after cutbacks through the nation’s decade-long financial disaster, had managed to maintain a comparatively low and secure epidemic curve through the first approach of the pandemic.
However, the federal government has come underneath hearth for dashing to reopen its weak financial system – projected to be hit the toughest by the consequences of the pandemic than the remainder of the eurozone – by permitting vacationers to enter through the European summer time months. Critics additionally decried what they mentioned was lack of funding in public transportation and educated medical personnel.
“I agree that such public gatherings should not take place at this difficult moment – the healthcare system is collapsing,” mentioned a medical skilled who works in a public hospital however requested for her identify to be withheld for privateness causes.
“But the ban is wrong; it really reminds me of dark times, like those of the Polytechnic [in 73],” she mentioned.

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