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Greeks march on 40th anniversary of anti-junta uprising

AFP | Last Updated: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 09:44

Athens: Tens of thousands marched in Greece on Sunday, amid tight security, to commemorate the 40-year anniversary of the violent suppression of a student uprising against a US-backed junta.

At least 12,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens, remembering a historic event seen as a key moment in the restoration of democracy.

Another 13,000 demonstrated in Greece`s second-largest city Thessaloniki, in the north of the country.

As always, the blood-stained flag that flew over the Athens Polytechnic on the night of November 17, 1973 was carried at the head of the Athens demonstration in memory of those who died.

More than 6,000 police were deployed in the Greek capital to prevent any violence, according to the same source, and the demonstration ended peacefully.

Special traffic regulations had been in effect since early in the day, including the closure of central streets and metro stations as well as modifications in public transport routes.

"I was a student in France and watched all the events of the uprising on television. Forty years later, no one can separate (these events) from the drama Greeks experience today... The economic crisis has become unbearable," 63-year-old farmer Thodoros Psarras told a news agency.

"Although 40 years have gone by, we now experience a greater dictatorship and no one is reacting," added 35-year-old self-employed engineer Nikitas Rondogiannis.

Hard hit by the economic crisis, the heavily indebted country has been obliged to adopt harsh austerity measures, including drastic pension and salary cuts, in return for international rescue loans.

Greece is currently negotiating with its international creditors the release of a one-billion-euro (USD 1.3 billion) slice of financial aid from its rescue loans.

Talks with the so-called troika of creditors -- -- the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank -- are expected to resume tomorrow, but according to a finance ministry source could "go on until Christmas".

First Published: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 09:44
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