Greek Communists marked the thirty-fourth anniversary of the forming of the Greek Liberation Front on Friday (26 September) with their first ever mass rally approved by the authorities since the end of the Second World War.
Greek Communists marked the thirty-fourth anniversary of the forming of the Greek Liberation Front on Friday (26 September) with their first ever mass rally approved by the authorities since the end of the Second World War. Twenty five thousand people packed the stadium.
When Germany invaded Greece in 1941, many Greeks joined the resistance against the Zazis and formed the Greek Liberation Front, known more popularly by the initials E.A.M.
The freedom fighters included many Communists who wages a bloody guerrilla war with the Germans who retaliated with reprisals and executions.
With the defeat of Germany in 1945, the Allies acknowledged the vital role played by the Greek resistance in the Balkan theatre -- including the efforts of the Communist forces.
However, with the liberation of Greece, a bitter civil war erupted between the Communists and their supporters on one side and forces loyal to the Greek Government. Britain was involved when troops were sent in to crush the Communist uprising. For the Communists a long period of political twilight followed.
The Communist Party was banned from holding rallies, members and supporters were arrested and a number received long jail terms. Ironically, the coup by the junta against King constantine of Greece led in the long term to their rehabilitation in Greek political life.
With the demise of the junta and democracy restored in Greece, the Greek Communist Party has been rehabilitated into Greek political life. It fielded candidates in the elections and now plays a major part in the political life of the nation.
Greek National Theatre actress Aspasia Papathanassiou opened Friday's rally with a recital of the declaration that formed the E.A.M. 34 years ago.
The main speaker at the rally was the Greek Communist Party Secretary General Demetrios Partsalides. He called for the guarantee of Greek national independence, the clearance of junta remnants from the police and the armed forces, government recognition for resistance group organisations, the mass repatriation of refugees who fled to Communist countries during the Civil war, and justice for the Greek Cypriots.
The rally ended with a programme of music of the renowned Greek composer Michael Theodorakis who was himself imprisoned by the junta.