Athens, November 17, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
The Greek Police (ELAS) is on a high state of alert from Monday, November 16 until December 6. The planning includes increased security measures on Tuesday, November 17, for the established march from the Polytechnic school to the US Embassy, the following day farmers are planning mobilsations, this Saturday is the football derby Panathinaikos-Olympiacos, while on December 4, US Assistant Secretary John Kerry will visit Athens, and finally two days later is the anniversary of the murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos.
At the same time, security measures have become stricter after the terrorist attack in France, in embassies such as France, Britain, Italy etc, buildings housing companies of foreign interests, public buildings and other places that might be potential “targets”.
Measures for the commemoration of the Uprising of the Polytechnic University
Security measures have been designed with the aim the march to take place smoothly and avoid extended episodes at the center of Athens. Some 6,000-7000 police officers will be on foot early in the morning Tuesday and on standby at various points of the capital, while the police will have an increased presence at the perimeter of the Polytechnic University, University of Economics, Panteion etc.
The minor incidents that took place at noon on November 12 are considered expected by executives of the Police, since as they said the “protagonists” in them wanted to test the reactions of the police.
On November 17 there will be the commemorations of the Polytechnic uprising, which this year completes 42 years. The Athens Polytechnic uprising in 1973 was a massive demonstration of popular rejection of the Greek military junta of 1967-1974. The uprising began on November 14, 1973, escalated to an open anti-junta revolt and ended in bloodshed in the early morning of November 17, after a series of events starting with a tank crashing through the gates of the Polytechnic School.
“No confrontational mood”
Deputy citizen protection minister Nikos Toskas, speaking recently to officers of the riot police division, noted inter alia: “the actions to be taken at the next critical day, ie Tuesday, November 17, will be in accordance with the orders you will receive from your leadership and pretty much the practice that was applied yesterday. Which means, no confrontational mood, disciplined approach and not everyone doing what he wants. […] To avert violence, prevent damages, prevent injuries and prevent desecration of sites, because the monument of the Unknown Soldier has a symbolic, sacred significance, beyond the marble and the stairs”.
Gradually, since noon the roads will close and for this reason the traffic police asks drivers to avoid driving to the center of Athens to avoid discomfort.
There will also be changes to routes in public transportation as well, while in terms of Metro stations so far there has been no final decision, but one of the points considered is to close down the stations only at the time when the participants in the march are passing in front of them.
This year also marks 30 years since the murder of Michalis Kaltezas, on November 17, 1985, during the demonstrations on the anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising.