Papoulias marks junta anniversary, says democracy was not a ‘gift’

The 1967-1974 junta cost Greece “valuable time” and took the country backwards, President Karolos Papoulias said Monday in a statement marking the 47 years since a group of Greek Army colonels ordered tanks onto the streets and suspended the democratic process.

Papoulias described the dictatorship as a “traumatic national experience that cannot be forgotten or whose impact does not lessen as time goes on.”

Papoulias also stressed the need for democracy to be protected even now.

“On days like this we should remember that democracy was not gifted to us but was won, and that it does not exist without hard work,” he said.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou also issued a statement calling for the “constant” safeguarding of democracy.

SYRIZA said democracy had to be defended because even today there are those who “yearn for the days of fascism and Nazism” and are willing to fight against it.