November 17 commemoration up in air amid anarchist occupation

November 17 commemoration up in air amid anarchist occupation

Just two days before the annual protest march marking the anniversary of the November 17, 1973 student uprising that precipitated the fall of the Greek junta, some 70 self-styled anarchists, including several from Albania and Central European countries, occupied the building housing the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), which used to be the Athens Polytechnic, in the city center on Wednesday. 

Despite the efforts of Education Minister Costas Gavroglou and Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas, anarchists continued their occupation on Wednesday night, prompting concerns that commemorative events at the NTUA could be up in the air for the first time in 44 years. 

In a statement posted on an anti-establishment website, the occupiers called for an “uprising here and now” and for the state to meet the demands of jailed members of the Revolutionary Struggle terror group who are on hunger strike.

They also announced they would hold a meeting last night to discuss their plans “to clash with police forces.”

For their part, police are on high alert and said on Wednesday that more than 5,000 officers would be on duty for the march.

The occupiers of the Athens Polytechnic, where events unfolded 44 years ago, also refused entry to youth wings of political parties, as they said in their post that their action was also meant to stop their exploitation of the anniversary.

Most of the occupiers took part in the so-called “Uprising Festival” held on the NTUA premises on November 12-14. The festival program included sabotage training, interviews with convicted anarchists/terrorists, and a tribute to the 2007 uprising in Greece’s Malandrino prison.

Meanwhile, another group of self-styled anarchists briefly occupied the building of the Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) on Wednesday to pledge solidarity with the suspect arrested on charges of sending a letter bomb to former prime minister Lucas Papademos in May and similar devices to top European officials.

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