Greek Police Attack Anarchists After Demo for Victims of 1973 Student Uprising

Athens, Greece – Greek riot police attacked an anarchist contingent as they dispersed from an annual November 17 commemoration for the second year in a row. Hours of clashes followed massive demonstrations commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic Uprising, a student uprising against a seven-year military junta which was attacked by the military, leaving dozens dead on November 17, 1973. Unprovoked at the end of this last Saturday night, police attacked the dispersing crowd, reportedly sending four people to the hospital from injuries and arresting thirteen.

The timeline of the attack goes as such: at the end of the night as an anarchist contingent marched down Alexandras Avenue, police doubled up their platoons around the contingent and verbally antagonized them, when the contingent called out that they were taking the metro to leave, the police attacked. A video of the police attack (above) is also described in a tweet thread by @kinimatini (in Greek).

Thousands of police were deployed throughout Athens during the November 17 commemoration, which routinely draws large clashes with police during the night. The yearly commemoration brings thousands of people to the streets to demonstrate against the military and state for killing dozens of people outside of Polytechnic University in Athens on November 17, 1973 as they rose against oppressive military rule.

For more information on November 17 and the crackdown against anarchists and anti-authoritarians in Greece, check out: Political Prisoners Part 2 – Targeting of Anarchists & Autonomous Groups & Political Prisoners Pt. 1 – Tasos Freed & Irianna Jailed (Τάσος & Ηριάννα)

This year, after a large peaceful demonstration, clashes erupted throughout the area near Polytechnic University with projectiles and incendiaries being thrown at police, who reacted with crowd control explosives and tear gas.

Thousands take part in the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic Uprising on November 17, 2018 (photo via Nikolas Georgiou)
Fire rains down onto Athens streets from incendiaries thrown at police on November 17, 2018 (photo via Nikolas Georgiou)
Police use water cannon during clashes on November 17, 2018 (photo via Nikolas Georgiou)

In what’s becoming a frequent scene in Athens after demonstrations, police attacked demonstrators on Alexandras Ave., just north of the anarchist Exarcheia neighborhood. There was a very similar police attack on the same street last year, on November 17, 2017, at the end of the protest (video below).

Expecting the same kinds of police attacks this year, the anarchist federation decided they would leave ahead of the spot they left last year, at the Ampelokipi metro station. It’s reported that when someone shouted “everybody from the federation we’re going down to the metro“, that’s when the police fired instantly.

Thirteen people were arrested during the police attack, and as many were injured by police beating them with batons and unloading tear gas canisters on the dispersing crowd.

They are not even afraid that people will make a connection between the commemoration of a crushed bloody student rebellion by a military junta and the brutal attack against a protest by policemen armed and dressed like soldiers on the same day years later“, said @kinimatini of the police attack.

At least nine of those arrested during the attack are reported to have trial at noon on Monday, November 18, for charges of various offenses, even carrying arms, and for having wooden flagpoles.

Cover image by Nikolas Georgiou.

Continue to follow Unicorn Riot as we have a media team set to be in Greece during the first half of December to document the 10 year anniversary of the police killing of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos and many more topics.

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