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Thousands of Greek students in anti-American demo

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Thousands of Greek students in anti-American demo

Postby brother » Thu Nov 18, 2004 2:08 pm

Thousands of Greek students in anti-American demo
AFP: 11/17/2004

ATHENS, Nov 17 (AFP) - Thousands of Greek students demonstrated against the United States here Wednesday, chanting slogans slamming the US-led assault on the Iraqi insurgent stronghold of Fallujah and against Israel.

In the demonstration, part of a traditional march in downtown Athens to commemorate a 1973 student uprising against Greece's then military regime, protesters shouted "Hands off Fallujah," "Americans Killers of People" and "Bush, Sharon, Killers of People."

Police estimated the crowd at 13,000, while an AFP correspondent put the figure nearer to 20,000.

Demonstrators placed mock coffins in front of the US embassy with inscriptions in Arabic and Greek reading "No to NATO and European Army," "People Demand that Americans Leave."

Molotov cocktails were thrown at a branch of Citicorp bank and two Greek banks, but no one was reported injured and damage was minimal, police said.

Police deployed around 6,000 officers to protect key buildings, including special police guards at the US and British embassies.

Many Greeks blame the United States for having engineered the military junta's rise in 1967. The November 17, 1973, student protest presaged the regime's collapse a year later.

The students marched from the city's Polytechnic university, where the 1973 uprising took place, to the US embassy.

Demonstrators threw stones at police, and 21 people were arrested, police said.

A French freelance press photographer said he was attacked by demonstrators, adding that he was not injured but his equipment was destroyed.

Demonstrators included members of Greece's left-wing parties, emigre Kurds, members of the anti-globalisation Social Forum and anarchists demanding the release from custody of Alexandros Yiotopoulos, convicted leader of extreme left-wing group November 17.

The November 17 group carried out 23 political assassinations between 1975 and 2000 as well as bombings and robberies.

Yiotopoulos was sentenced last December to life imprisonment. On Monday he was admitted to hospital after conducting a month-long hunger strike in protest against conditions in the jail where 14 members of the November 17 group are doing time.

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