Subversive Historian – 11/17/08

The Athens Polytechnic Uprising

Exactly thirty-five years ago on this day in people’s history, the ruling military junta of Greece put a violent end to an uprising challenging its dictatorship. On November 17th, 1973, the self-proclaimed “Regime of the Colonels” sent a tank crashing through the gates of Athens Polytechnic to quell a three-day student rebellion. Tired of the impositions of the dictatorship on the universities, nearly 1,500 students went out on strike and barricaded themselves inside the Polytechnic. From within the campus, the “free besieged,” as they called themselves, broadcast pro-democracy messages on a makeshift radio station urging Greek society to rise up. Outside the barricaded Polytechnic, at least twenty-four were killed and hundreds injured during the brutal repression.

The Athens Polytechnic Uprising didn’t directly topple the “Regime of the Colonels” but it did lead to dissension within the ranks of its leaders and a counter-coup which, in turn, led to the eventual downfall of the dictatorial rule the following year.

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