17th of November Uprise of the Polytechnion in Athens

We would like to tell you about the event that is commemorated in Greece in these dates: the Polytechnion Uprise against the Junta in Athens. 

Everything starts for a reason, and the background of this day is that in April 21st, of 1967, a group of army colonels staged a military junta which was characterized by repression, brutality, censorship and political incompetence. Many social rebellions would take place during the seven years of the Junta, from 1967 till 1974. The most important rebellion was the one we present to you: the Polytechnion Uprise in 17th November of 1973 when several hundred of students, who stood up against the military dictatorship, occupied the Athens Polytechnic.

The uprising began on November 14, 1973 and ended in the early morning of November 17.

On November 14th of 1973 students began gathering at the Athens Polytechnic to demonstrate against the Junta. This demonstration turns into a student rebellion that gains strength every day as more and more people join. On the 16th of November the students and demonstrators attempted to march from the Polytechnic to Syntagma Square but they are stopped by the police.

The students and demonstrators locked themselves in the Polytechnic and tried to make out of this rebellion the final revolution against the Junta and put them down. The students made a radio and broadcasted calling for support and declaring the reasons of their revolution. One of the hymns that remain from those days is: Psomi, Paidia Eleutheria! which means Bread education and freedom.

On November 17th a tank crashes through the gate of the polytechnic and police and military storm the campus. The students try to escape but some of them are killed and several hundred were injured as well as many of them were arrested. After two days the rebellion at the Polytechnic is over and the country is put under martial law for the next week.

The Junta eventually fell in July 1974 as Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus and this made the regime to collapse.

For Greece, November 17 has special meaning in the fight for democracy and freedom. The ideals of independence, peace, love for life and people, are alive and remain relevant. This date is also a date for empower the youth and to remember that the power belongs to the people.

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