The Athens Polytechnic, a massive student demonstration, occurred on 17 November 1973, the most significant protest against the seven-year dictatorship.
It began on 14 November, with thousands of students occupying the National Technical University of Athens (Polytechnic School). They transmitted a message of resistance against the military junta, using a makeshift radio that they had set up. Soon, the gathering escalated to an open anti-junta revolt, ending in bloodshed in the early morning of 17 November after a series of events, starting with a tank crashing through the gates of the Polytechnic. The tanks entered the courtyard, killing dozens of protesting students.

The incidents marked the beginning of the end of dictatorial rule by the colonels that had been in place in Greece since 21 April 1967.

Under the dictatorship regime, there had been an abolition of civil rights, a dissolution of political parties and the exile, imprisonment and torture of politicians and citizens based on their political beliefs.

This year marks the 46th anniversary of the Polytechnic Revolt, a reference point for Modern Greek history.

READ MORE: Riots break out in central Athens following Polytechnic commemorations, 19 arrested

In Greece

The day is hailed as a valiant act of resistance against the military dictatorship and stands as a symbol of resistance against tyranny.

It is observed as a public holiday for all educational establishments with commemorative services held at schools.

This year’s celebrations culminate on Sunday with an annual march from the Polytechnic to the American Embassy, a symbolic protest for the support offered to the regime by the United States. There are typically a spate of violent incidents centred around the Polytechnic and Exarheia.

READ MORE: Greece marks Polytechnic uprising

In Australia

The spirit of the Polytechnic anniversary lives on with the slogan “Psomi, Paidia, Eleftheria” (Bread, Education, Freedom) at the Democritus Cultural Centre (583 High Street, Northcote, VIC). The programme, titled ‘Immigration, Community and Historical Consciousness’ features academic George Vasilakopoulos. A cultural programme will also be presented by Vasilis Mihalakis, Antonis Iliou, Anthi Sidiropoulou and Stelios Tsiolas.
Refreshments and light snacks will be available.
Admission free.