Shops in the downtown Athens area rolled down their metal shutters on Friday afternoon amid fears of violence breaking out during the annual march commemorating the 1973 uprising against the 1967-74 military dictatorship.
Starting at the historic Athens Polytechnic building in the neighborhood of Exarchia at 3 p.m. – where hundreds of citizens and politicians lay down flowers and wreaths at a memorial to the victims of the uprising – the march will head to the US Embassy, across town at Mavilis Square.
As part of strict security measures imposed by the police, the Megaro Moussikis metro station near the embassy will be closed at 3 p.m., and followed at 5 p.m. by the stations at Syntagma and Panepistimio.
All streets along the marchers’ path will also be closed to traffic, so motorists are advised to avoid the entire area on Friday if possible.
The annual commemoration is often marked by clashes between self-style anarchists and police, though these usually occur after the march is finished and are restricted to the Exarchia area.
Police are on high alert this year, however, as anti-establishment and anarchist groups have already warned of an escalation from the usual tactics of street clashes.