Traffic disruptions in Athens on Saturday during November 17 rally


An annual march to the American Embassy in Athens to mark the anniversary of the November 17, 1973 Athens Polytechnic student uprising against the military dictatorship will affect public transport in and around the city center on Saturday, and especially the metro.

Authorities said that they will be shutting down the Megaro Mousikis station near the embassy on Vassilissis Sofias Avenue as a security precaution starting at 3 p.m., followed by Evangelismos and Syntagma from 4.30 p.m., when the protesters start gathering in front of Parliament to march towards the embassy.

Trains will run normally but will not stop at the above stations. They will be reopened once given the all-clear from the Greek Police (ELAS).

The march, as well as events at the university building on Patission Street, are also expected to affect buses and trolley buses, as much of the city center will be closed to traffic for the duration of the commemoration. 

Many stores in the center are also expected to remain closed on Saturday over fears of clashes between police and anti-establishment groups.

More than 5,000 police officers have been assigned to patrol the city in the runup to the big march from the historic university building on Patission Street to the US embassy across town at Mavili Square, while ELAS will also be using drones to monitor the march by air.

Earlier on Friday, a few dozen members of a crowd gathered outside the Athens Polytechnic on Patission avenue lashed out a group of leftist government officials who came to pay their respects at a memorial to the movement's victims.

Interior Minister Panos Skourletis, Education Minister Costas Gavroglou, Defense Alternate Panagiotis Rigas, Citizens' Protection Alternate Nikos Toskas, and MPs Nikos Filis, Giorgos Dritsas and Yiannis Manios were pushed back and insulted by several members of a large crowd gathered in front of the building's entrance on downtown Patission Street.

“The events that unfolded here today are a dishonor to the struggles of that generation,” Rigas said after the incident.

At the same time, the committee that is responsible for organizing the annual commemorations issued a plea to a group of self-styled anarchists who have taken over a historic building in the Polytechnic's campus, to leave its premises.

“The actions and practices taking place in the Averoff building are condemnable,” the committee said in an announcement.

The anarchists have reportedly said they will not impede the commemoration.