Five thousand police were deployed in Athens yesterday for an annual demonstration marking the anniversary of a 1973 anti-junta uprising that regularly descends into violence, authorities say.
This year the protest looks set to be dominated by opposition to the new conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, elected in July on a pledge to strengthen law and order.
The demonstration marks the 46th anniversary of a student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic against the US-backed military dictatorship that ruled Greece at the time.
In recent years, demonstrators have used the anniversary to voice opposition to US “imperialism”, and the harsh austerity measures imposed on Greece by international creditors after the global financial crisis.
Mitsotakis’s administration has already come under fire over police operations against anarchist squats and demonstrators.
There is also tension over a recent amendment to facilitate police checks in universities, which has prompted several student demonstrations.
“We need to be careful these days, and (public) comments must be guarded,” the Polytechnic’s rector Andreas Bantouvas said this week.
“We will be there with 5,000 officers,” police unionist Stavros Balaskas told Ellada radio.
Athens mayor Kostas Bakoyannis urged respect for the city.