Every year, the Greek Community of Melbourne together with the other members of the Polytechnic Commemorative Committee honour the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic students heroic uprising against the junta, with a special event often organised at the Democritus Cultural Centre. This year because of the pandemic such an event will not take place.
The Polytechnic uprising symbolises not only the heroic struggle of the students but also the unity of all those that embrace democracy and freedom.
The political upheaval at the Athens Polytechnic began on November 14 with a student sit in and peaked with a pan-Athenian mobilization against the regime whose methods included displacements, mass trials in emergency courts, torture, executions and murders. The uprising began with a general meeting of the students’ unions that resulted in the rejection of government measures concerning the planning of student elections. On 17 November 1973 Greek tanks broke down the main gate of the Athens Polytechnic, killing students and marking the start of the end of the seven-year dictatorship that had begun on 21 April 1967.
In Athens, the commemoration traditionally ends with a demonstration that begins from the Polytechnic campus and ends at the US embassy.
Our Saturday City campus students honoured the Polytechnic uprising with a small online event. Here are some comments from Ms Bakalidou:
"An online gathering of all the students took place on Saturday 14th and Tuesday 17th November at the Bentliegh and city campuses. Students, parents and teachers attended a very moving presentation of the history of the day by the kindergarten teacher Mrs. Christina Soumi. During the event they all had the opportunity to see rare photos and videos and to listen to and sing songs about the Anniversary of the Polytechnic Uprising. It was a time for the older ones to remember and the younger ones to learn."