November 17th holds a significant day in Greece’s history as it marks the first protest of students against the military rule that lasted from 1967 to 1974. The event took place at the Athens Technical University and resulted in bloodshed, leading to an annual commemoration each year. This year’s ceremonies included a large protest march to the US Embassy, believed to have supported the Junta administration at the time, as well as demonstrations in front of the Israeli Embassy to protest Israel’s Gaza operations and the US.
The student uprising was suppressed in 1973, but it fueled the people’s hatred of military rule. Despite this, it was not enough to overthrow it until the Colonels’ Junta staged a coup against the legal president of Cyprus in 1974, which led Greece to regain democracy. However, during this year’s ceremonies and protest marches, groups that define themselves as “anarchists” frequently attacked police forces with stones, sticks, and molotov cocktails. In response, the police used tear gas bombs sometimes resulting in street clashes. More than a thousand police officers were assigned to Athens and security measures were taken during these ceremonies and marches. The metro and public transport services were suspended, and the main avenues and streets in the vicinity of Athens Technical University were closed to traffic.