What is Greece Celebrating the 17th of November?

On the 17th of November, the mind and our heart is at the University of Athens or else know as ”Politexneion”. It’s been 39 years since the heroic uprising of students, the youth and the entire Greek nation against tyranny, in November 1973. The University symbolizes not only the heroic struggle but the unity of all democrats. The celebrations of the day are dedicated to the seven years of fighting dictatorship and one of the most important moments of the hazard of our people’s and the youth’s freedom. The ideals of freedom, independence, peace, love for life and people, are alive and remain relevant and unchanged, many years after that uprising. Always live to empower the youth.

The University has been and always will be a live call to democracy, humanity and freedom. ”The Politechnion is alive!”

The causes of the revolt: Greece was from April 21, 1967 under the dictatorial rule of the military, a regime which had abolished civil liberties, had dissolved the political parties and had been exiled, imprisoned and tortured politicians and citizens on the basis of political beliefs.

In 1973, the leader of the dictatorship,  begins a process of liberalization of the regime, which included the release of political prisoners and the partial lifting of censorship, which promises a new constitution and elections on February 10, 1974 to return to political governance. Opposition leaders, were thus able to start political action against the junta.

The junta, trying to control every aspect of politics, was involved in student unionism in 1967, banning student elections in universities recruiting students mandatory and imposing unelected leaders of student clubs in the National Student Enosi Elladas (EFEE). These actions are naturally created intense feelings of dictatorship to students, such as Geology student Kostas Georgakis, who set himself ablaze public in 1970 in Genoa, Italy as a protest to the junta.

With this exception, the first massive public protest against junta came from students on February 21st, 1973. The riots started a little earlier, on the 5th of February, when students of the University decided not to attend their lectures. On the 13th of February a huge demonstration took place in Athens and the junta violate the university asylum and ordered the police to intervene. Eleven students were arrested and referred to trial. On the occasion of these events, on February 21, about 3-4000 students of the Law School of Athens University occupied the building of the school in the center of Athens on the road Solonos, and requested revocation of the 1347 county imposed conscription “new reactionaries”. At that time 88 fellow students had already been recruited by force. From the roof of the building the students were reciting the following oath:

“We students of the Higher Education Institutions swear to the name of freedom and we must fight to the end to ensure our:  a) academic freedoms, b) university asylum, c) the withdrawal of all repressive laws and ordinances.”

The police was ordered to intervene and many students in surrounding streets were brutalized by the police,  but succeeded to compromise the University Asylum. The events at the Law school are often cited as a precursor of the Polytechnic uprising. The student arousal was also affected significantly by the youth movements of the ’60s, and especially since the events of May ’68.

Despite the harsh repressive measures coup, imprisonments, deportations, collective trials in emergency military, torture, mock executions and murders, were the constant anti-dictatorship demonstrations of the Greek people throughout seven-year dictatorship, always leading with the untamed youth.

Since the march in 1973, every year students in Greece gather outside the ”Politechnion”, in the same street, and protest in order to support and honor those arrested on Nov. 8th. It is a way of keeping in mind that students many years ago had the courage to fight for their beliefs and their aspirations and besides the losses they won.

By Eleni Velonaki
Students comment on the question
NOVEMBER 17:   Why is this day so important for the Greeks?


  • Sofia

    Πέμπτη, 17 Νοεμβρίου 2016

    I believe the day of 17 November is very important for Greeks because it reminds them all the students of university who wanted the fascism extinct. Those students have a lot of courage who sacrifice their lives and "fought" for a better tomorrow, to have they the system of democracy at their country. So this day Greeks celebrate to these honourable students Eirhnh Leivada age:13

  • Mariois D1

    Τετάρτη, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2016

    I think that this day is important for the Greeks because of the fact that Greece gained its freedom and it was all happened from some brave university students who fought for democracy and were ready to even give up their lives.

  • Afroditi

    Τετάρτη, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2016

    17 November is a special day for all the Greek people. It is the date when the university students of Politechnion stood up against the military dictatorship. It is so important to Greeks because so many students died for our liberty. age13

  • Dora

    Τετάρτη, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2016

    November 17 has special meaning in the fight for democracy and freedom . Greeks celebrate this action annual , to honor the university students who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of our country. Dora age: 13

  • irene

    Τετάρτη, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2016

    November 17: has special meaning in the fight for democracy and freedom. This day is very important because the polytechnion students were not afraid to resist the military regime and even take their lives for their nation. age:16

  • GeorgeMpou

    Τετάρτη, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2016

    i believe that 17th November is important for Greek nation because many people killed by the police for our freedom. I want to thank them for the freedom they gave us! Age 15


    Τετάρτη, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2016

    This day is so imprtant for Greeks because it remind us that some people died for our freedom and they fought for their beliefs. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart because they deserve it. 13

  • kostkapellas

    Τετάρτη, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2016

    I bielive that day 17th November is very important because people they died ther for freedom and their country.However now they gave freedom and we selebrate this day . 13

  • TheofilosVlx.D1

    Τετάρτη, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2016

    17 NOVEMBER This day is very importand because the Greek people resisted to the junta and were killed by the police . Αlso they sacrifice with their lives. Theofilos Vlaxogiannis Age: 15


    Τρίτη, 15 Νοεμβρίου 2016

    Greece gained its freedom from the Greek Junta on 17th November,1973. Hence, this day is very important for the citizens of Greece. This day reminds us of the university students who sacrificed their lives for their country. It inspires us to love our country.