Papoulias: Nothing more powerful than the passion for freedom

The Polytechneion uprising gains significance through time as it shows there’s nothing more powerful than the passion for freedom, the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias said on Sunday during the second day of celebrations marking the event.

“The Polytechneion uprising is one of those events in Greek history which gain an even bigger importance with the passage of time. That’s because we increasingly need examples which show that social liberation is earned with struggles, that there’s nothing more powerful than the passion for freedom, that state violence and autocracy need passivity to be enforced,” Papoulias said, adding the country has reasons to remember that history is written by people who take responsibility for everyone, even when no one asks them to.

The doors of the Polytechnic University of Athens, the venue where the revolt took place, are open to the public. Celebrations will culminate on Monday, with the annual rally towards the American embassy of Athens. Authorities have deployed 7,000 policemen and are enforcing emergency traffic regulations in the city centre. The streets around the Polytechnic University will be closed until Kaningos Square, while on Monday the area enclosed by the avenues of Alexandras, Patision, Stadiou, Vassilisis Sofias will be closed.

Commenting on the event, Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said: “Greeks have proven they know how to honour their history but also that they know how to fight until, the wheels of time turn and they recover the place our country deserves in Europe and the world.”

New Democracy’s political committee secretary, Andreas Papamimikos, said November 17 “emits a message of democracy and unity for Greeks.”

In its own message on the anniversary, min opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party said “41 years later, the message of the Polytechneion uprising is more relevant than ever. At a time when the government of the memorandum is trying to abolish any collective rights, to condemn the youth and employees to poverty and destitution, Polytechneion is here. In the fights for social justice, independence, equality and social freedom. In defending democracy and freedoms against the government’s autocracy and the dead end of memorandums and austerity.”

The Communist Party (KKE) said the young people, students, workers, the unemployed, “have the right to know the truth about the popular uprising in November of 1973, for the protest sit-ins of Athens Law School which took place first.” The party also said people need to know about “the role played by the military dictatorship in promoting the interests of the rich, the United States and NATO. To isolate the Nazi Golden Dawn party that defames the fight against the dictatorship.”

To mark the anniversary, the Democratic Left (DIMAR) party said “the generation of the crisis must not turn into a lost generation. On the contrary, it must use all its experience of the post-dictatorship era to stand on its feet, against an environment of general scorn, to claim a better future, which will not be sealed by the desperation of unemployment, social exclusion and marginalization.”