ATHENS, Greece (AP) — More than 5,000 police officers were deployed in Athens to keep order as thousands of people gathered in Greece’s capital Wednesday for a rally to mark the anniversary of a bloody anti-dictatorship uprising.
Violence often marred the annual march to the U.S. Embassy in previous years as groups of anarchist demonstrators attacked police. The event went ahead Wednesday despite restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In 1973, student-led pro-democracy demonstrations at Athens Polytechnic, a university in the center of the capital, saw police use force. Officers opened fire on unarmed demonstrators near the Polytechnic, and an army tank smashed in the gates of the complex behind which many students were gathered.
At least 20 are thought to have been killed, although the precise death toll of the November 1973 events remains unknown. A year later, a military dictatorship in power since 1967 collapsed, although the dictators were replaced by an even more hardline military regime.
Mostly left-wing demonstrators have marched to the U.S. Embassy every year since 1974 because Washington was seen as supportive of the far-right military regime.
In a tweet Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the uprising reinforced the country’s “daily commitment to a secure democracy.”
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