On Friday, 17 November 2023, demonstrations will take place in Greek cities. This is due to the 50th Anniversary of the Polytechnic Uprising in 1973.
Greece protests on 17 November 2023
On this coming Friday, 17 November 2023, demonstrations in memory of the Polytechnic Uprising in 1973 will take place in major cities in Greece.
These protests begin peacefully in the early afternoon. However, they always escalate to acts of violence between demonstrators and police later in the day.
Unless you want to participate in the demonstrations, you might want to avoid certain areas in Athens, Thessaloniki and other major cities. In any case, it is wise to stay updated on safety measures.
November 17 demonstrations in Athens
The big demonstration in Athens begins at the Polytechnic University in Exarchia. Thousands of people gather to pay their respects at the site of the 1973 Polytechnic Uprising.
The participants then march all the way to the U.S. Embassy, on Vas. Sofias street, close to Megaro Moussikis metro station.
Later in the evening, the protests may turn violent in certain areas, with clashes between demonstrators and the police. Tear gas and molotov cocktails are not uncommon.
The affected areas mostly include Exarchia, Patission street, and the broader vicinity of Panepistimio metro, where restaurants and cafes usually remain closed.
As a rule, these areas are safe until the afternoon. However, if you don’t want to get caught up in the protests, it’s best to avoid them in the evening.
In addition, if you happen to live in those areas, it’s also wise to keep your windows shut to avoid teargas smoke and fumes. Or even spend the night in another area if you don’t feel comfortable.
Athens transportation disruptions on 17 November
Public transportation in these areas of Athens is disrupted on November 17. Due to road closure, bus routes are diverted or cancelled.
Most importantly, certain metro stations remain closed after the early afternoon. Exact times may vary slightly from year to year, but they usually start closing at around 14:00 or 15:00.
This includes Megaro Moussikis, Evangelismos, Syntagma and Panepistimio metro stations, and affects the blue, red and green metro lines.
As the metro will not stop at Syntagma Square, you cannot change between the red and blue lines. Monastiraki station remains open, so you can change from the blue to the green line.
Here is some more information about how to use the Athens metro system.
If you have your own car, definitely avoid central Athens – in fact, many roads will be closed to the traffic.
November 17 demonstrations in Thessaloniki
Demonstrations in Thessaloniki revolve around the U. S. Consulate General on Tsimiski Street, the University area, Aristotelous square, and Egnatia Avenue.
The police have been known to use tear gas to disperse crowds. As Thessaloniki has a large student population, demonstrations are particularly active.
Several bus routes running along the main avenues are affected on the day. Again, avoid driving in the center, and be mindful of the protests.
The Athens Polytechnic Uprising in 1973
The Polytechnic Uprising refers to a protest that took place in Athens on 17 November 1973. The protest was directed against the military junta that held power during that period.
The uprising originated from the Athens Polytechnic University, where students united in opposition to the repressive regime.
On November 17, 1973, students barricaded themselves inside the university and made several demands for political reforms. This eventually led to a violent confrontation with the police and military forces.
To this date, the number of casualties remains unknown. Several estimates have been reported over the years, but there is no consensus.
The uprising is a significant event in Greece’s recent history, and remains a symbol of resistance against authoritarian regimes.
Hi! I’m Vanessa from Athens, and I share news and guides about Greece on my blog. Follow me on Facebook for more Greece-related inspiration and travel tips.