Thousands of people marched through Athens on Wednesday to commemorate the student uprising against the military junta ruling Greece in 1973 in which at least 24 civilians died.
While the traditional march to the US Embassy, attended by an estimated 15,000-20,000 people, was peaceful, there were limited clashed in the central neighborhood of Exarchia, when masked extremists threw rocks and other projectiles at riot police and set fire to garbage dumpsters. At least two people have been detained, police said.
More extensive clashes took place in Thessaloniki, lasting about two hours. Five rioters were arrested and 20 more people were detained, police say.
The young people of the Athens Polytechnic who stood up against the colonels’ dictatorship “continue to inspire us,” President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said while laying a wreath at a memorial to the victims earlier Wednesday.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called for the “true legacy” of the uprising to be honored without being exploited, while in a swipe against the government, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said “these struggles remain relevant at a time when an extremely conservative policy targets the young generation once again.”
Earlier a delegation of lawmakers led by Deputy Parliament Speaker Haralambos Athanasiou were barred by protesters from laying a wreath.
“When we were fighting this fight, these kids were unborn or still in their cribs,” Athanasiou told reporters.