Greeks march to mark 1973 student revolt against junta

Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:17pm EST
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By Renee Maltezou

ATHENS (Reuters) - Thousands of Greeks protesting against austerity policies rallied in Athens on Saturday to mark a bloody student uprising almost four decades ago against the military junta that ruled the country at the time.

The annual protest often becomes a focal point for groups protesting against government policies and comes against a backdrop of rising public anger at a new round of wage and pension cuts approved by parliament this month.

About 20,000 protesters waving red flags marched peacefully through the center of Athens to the embassy of the United States, which protesters accuse of having supported the six-year military dictatorship.

They held banners reading "We can topple this new junta" and "Our revolt will become your nightmare", reflecting widespread fury at the government's austerity drive.

"Most of us feel that this is like the junta," said protesters Apostolis Sabaziotis, a 32-year-old psychologist who has been working for four months without being paid.

Demonstrators then moved to the Israeli embassy to protest against air strikes in Gaza.

It was the latest in a succession of mass rallies against austerity measures in Greece, which often disintegrate into bloody clashes between riot police and demonstrators. About 7,000 police were deployed in the streets of central Athens.

Earlier on Saturday, students, teachers, workers and pensioners laid wreaths and carnations at the Athens Polytechnic University to honour the dozens killed in the 1973 revolt.   Continued...

Greek students shout slogans during a rally marking the 39th anniversary of a 1973 student uprising against a U.S. backed dictatorship ruling Greece then in Athens November 17, 2012. Thousands of austerity-hit Greeks marched to the U.S. embassy to mark the bloody uprising against the military junta that ruled Greece. REUTERS/John Kolesidis