Rebellion in Athens 1973
Rebellion in Athens 1973
The uprising that began on November 14th of 1973 was the culmination of the events against the dictatorship. The morning of that day the students gathered in the courtyard of the Polytecnio University and decided the declaration of abstinence from courses, seeking to hold elections for student unions in December of that year and not at the end of next year, as was announced by the regime.
Student assemblies at the Medical and Law School followed this incident. Indeed, law students demanded the withdrawal of the decisions of the junta to conduct student elections. The students also required the democratization of universities, increased funds for education up to 20% of the budget and withdrawing Law Number 1347 that was forced students into the military recruitment.
As the day went on, more and more students gathered at the University, as well as others who learned the news. The police proved unable to prevent the attendance. In the afternoon, the decision was made to occupy the Polytechnic School (Politechnio). The doors closed, and they began to organize the uprising. The first step was the election of the Steering Committee, which was attended by 22 students and two workers, in order to lead the riots. In addition, committees were created in all faculties so to organize the communication with the rest of the Greek society.
For this purpose, a radio station operated, initially in the building of Chemistry and later in the building of Mechanical Engineering, with announcers Maria Damanaki and Dimitris Papachristou. In addition, the University installed polygraphs, who worked day - night, to inform students and the world for the decisions of the Coordinating Committee and the student assemblies. Students formed teams, who wrote slogans on placards in walls, trolleys, buses and taxis for all Athenians to read them. The University set up a restaurant and a hospital, and student groups safeguarded the sites.
The first reaction of the dictatorial regime was to send secret agents to blend in the crowd that flocked to the University and set up shooters in the surrounding buildings. On November 16th, major police forces attacked the crowd that was gathered outside the Polytechnic School, with batons, tear gas and bullets. Most of the crowd dissolved. Those who were barricaded, they were using trolleys and buses as fortresses and gathered materials from constructions, and lit bonfires to neutralize teargas. Later, the police used weapons, so to suppress the uprising.
Georgios Papadopoulos, the dictator, realized that the police could not enter the University, so he decided to use the army. Three tanks came down from the mortar to the University. Two parked on Stournara and Tositsa Streets, excluding the side doors of the Polytechnic School and the other tank was opposite the main gate. The Coordinating Committee of the students asked for negotiations, but their request was rejected.
At 3 o'clock in the morning of November 17th, the tank that was opposite the main gate was ordered to invade. It want straight to the gate and threw it over the course of one girl who was perched in the yard holding the Greek flag. The police invaded Athens and chased students who were jumping off the fence and tried to escape towards surrounding streets. Many sought safety and were saved in the surrounding apartments; many were arrested and transferred to the General Security and the ESS.
According to the official announcement of the police on November 17,840 people were arrested. But after the dictatorship, police officers, under interrogation, reported that those arrested exceeded 2400 people. Officially 34 people died. In the interrogation conducted in the autumn of 1975 against the instigators of the repression, 21 cases of fatal injury were identified. However, victims must have been much more, since many who were seriously injured, in order to escape arrest, refused to go to a hospital.
The dictator Georgios Papadopoulos declared martial law, but on November 25th, he was overthrown in a coup. President appointed Lieutenant Phaedon Gizikis and prime minister of the new government Adamantios Androutsopoulos. But the strongest man of the new regime was the commander of the Military Police, Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis, who imposed a regime harder than that of Papadopoulos
The dictatorship collapsed on the 23rd of July 1974. Gizikis and Lieutenant Davos, commander of the Third Army Corps, asked for Konstantinos Karamanlis' return to Greece so to restore the democratic government.
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