Wednesday evening (11 September) marked the first organised demonstration in Athens since the fall of the Military based government seven weeks ago.
Wednesday evening (11 September) marked the first organised demonstration in Athens since the fall of the Military based government seven weeks ago. The students rallied outside the city's University to show their solidarity behind the Chilean and Cypriot peoples. However much attention was focused on a more parochial issue.
The United States, who maintain military bases in the country, became the focal point for much of Tuesday's protest. There were heavy security forces surrounding the United States' Embassy where one large group of students, chanting "Out with the American bases", gathered.
Because Greece is still officially under martial law, such demonstrations are illegal. Although police were very much in evidence, they made no attempt to interfere with the demonstrators.
Many of the placards carried by demonstrators criticised the United States alleged role on the overthrow of President Allende of Chile -- who died during a military coup d'etat exactly one year ago.
The same day the students were demonstrating in Athens, the Greek Foreign Minister George Mavros officially informed NATO Secretary-General Joseph Luns that his country had withdrawn from the NATO Defence Planning Committee--the first step in a total Greek withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Once this withdrawal is completed, the United States might have to close their Greek bases.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of students took to the streets in Athens Tuesday evening. It was the fi??? organised demonstration in the Greek capital since the fall of the military-based government seven weeks ago. The students had called the rally to show their support for the people of Chile and Cyprus -- however, much of the protest was aimed at a more local issue.
The presence of United States' forces in Greece became a focal point for the demonstrators' invective. They also protested against alleged U.S. involvement both in the downfall of the Allende government in Chile as well as the present Cypriot crisis.
The students marched from several parts of the city, converging on Athens University. Although demonstrations are sill illegal, police on duty maintained a low profile.
The same day the students rallied outside the University, the Greek Foreign Minister informed NATO Secretary-General Joseph Luns of Greece's withdrawal from the Organisation's Defence Planning Committee. The move is seen as the first stage of a total withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
The Greek withdrawal from the Western military alliance could mean the closure of the U.S. bases in the country -- meeting these students' demands.