Remembering the Polytechnic

Sunday marks 40th anniversary of junta's bloody suppression of 1973 student uprising

'Bread, education, freedom!' they chanted 40 years this Sunday, as the junta sent in the tanks to crush the Athens Polytechnic uprising

(File photo: Reuters) (File photo: Reuters) The annual commemoration marking the junta's bloody suppresion of the 1973 Athens Polytechnic uprising got underway on Friday, as schools across the country marked the anniversary by remembering those who died and the ideals behind the protests.

During the three-day commemoration, the gates of the Polytechnic will be open from 9.30am to 9pm to allow the public lay flowers on the original gates of the institution, which now form a part of a monument. The anniversary will culminate with the traditional march to the US embassy on Sunday.

More than 7,000 police are expected to be deployed around the Polytehcnic, now officially the National Technical University of Athens, parliament and the US embassy during the march, which in the past has sometimes turned violent. 

Research published in 2003 by the National Hellenic Research Foundation (EIE) named 24 people as having been killed in and around the Polytechnic campus on November 16-18.

One of them was Toril Margrethe Engeland, a 22-year-old student from Norway. An exclusive interview with her sister, Liv Kari Engeland, will be published in Greek in Sunday's edition of Eleftherotypia and in English on EnetEnglish.gr.

Early on Friday, the general secretary of parliament, Athanasios Papaioannou, laid a wreath on the Polytechnic monument on behalf of the institution.
He said: "Today we honour the memory of those who gave their lives 40 years ago so that our country would be set free. The slogan of the Polytechnic [uprising] "Bread, Education, Freedom" continues to inspire us. Today our people have won freedom and education to an extent that is unprecedented in our history and we are striving to ensure prosperity. But we must not underestimate the importance of these achievements, because without freedom and education there can be no struggle for prosperity."

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