The three-day commemoration of the 37th anniversary of the 17 November 1973 Polytechnic uprising against the military dictatorship in Greece came to an end on Wednesday with a march through the centre of Athens and Greek police firing tear gas and detaining dozens of demonstrators.

Police estimate that more than 20 000 people took part in the annual march from Polytechnic to the US embassy in Athens on Wednesday noon, raising banners with the classic slogan of students of 1973 “Bread, Education, Freedom”and chanting slogans on the economic crisis and austerity measures, such as “IMF go home”.

Police detained over 40 people towards the end of the march after firing tear gas and charging one bloc that was throwing stones and bottles at riot police.

Five protesters were also detained in a smaller demonstration in the city of Patras but were later released.

Another 12 000 people marched in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister George Papandreou and representatives of opposition political parties and labour unions who laid wreaths earlier on Tuesday and Wednesday to the monument that commemorates the dead of the uprising inside the Polytechnic School, also focused on the significance of the message of the 1973 uprising.

“This year’s anniversary comes in a difficult period for Greece with a lot at stake. It reminds us that youth always leads social struggles for change,” said Papoulias in his message, paying tribute to the young people who were killed during the uprising.

“Struggle for democracy and freedom is never ending. Citizens should take part, with belief and hope for a better future. That’s why we give struggles today,” stressed Papandreou after placing a few flowers on the monument, among parents who taught history on the spot to children.

In its own statement, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called on the working peple and youth to “honour the Polytechnic” by atively participating in the social and plitical movements opposed to the EU/IMF memrandum and the austerity measures.

It said that the heavy sacrifices being imposed on the people will have no end, and no result for the people, while only the creation of a strong social popular alliance against the monopolies, the EU and the parties that serve capitalism can raise obstacles to the barbarous.

The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Syn), in a statement, said that the 1973 uprising lives in today’s struggles for peace, equality, democracy and socialiberation.

Source: ANA, Athens News, Xinhua, Reuters