18 November, 2005
The customary protest march to the US embassy in Athens, realized every year to mark the student uprising at Athens Polytechnic in 1973 against the then military dictatorship, ended on Thursday evening with only minor episodes being reported.
Of the 42 individuals taken into police custody, 37 have been let go, while three have been referred to the prosecutor for possession of dangerous objects, and two are still being questioned.
The Athens Polytechnic's gates opened Thursday morning to begin a day-long series of events commemorating the 32nd anniversary of a student uprising at the university, regarded as the most important act of resistance against a military dictatorship then ruling Greece.
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias arrived at the polytechnic in the morning, followed by Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki and representatives of political parties.
Besides laying a wreath at a monument on the campus grounds, Papoulias also met with members of an association representing imprisoned and exiled individuals that resisted the seven-year dictatorship.
"I am here, just as thousands of other citizens, with respect and gratitude for those that participated in the uprising," Papoulias said. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who also met with the association representing imprisoned and exiled individuals on Wednesday, spoke of national unity on the major issues facing the country.
Statements on occasion of the anniversary were also made by opposition leaders. Main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou said on Wednesday that the messages behind the polytechnic uprising will always remain timely.
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) President Alekos Alavanos said that “had it not been for the Polytechnic uprising, we would have reached a historical stalemate.”
Parliament commemorated those involved in the uprising with speeches by government and opposition representatives and by observing a minute of silence. The customary march through rainy central Athens began at roughly 2 p.m.
According to reports, security measures were tight with police around the school and along the protest march’s route since previous commemorations have been marred by violence, mostly from youthful, self-styled anarchists.
In later statements, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros noted that the anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising is a day of "remembrance and tribute, a celebration of democracy and national unity".
Source: Athens News Agency