Athens.- The ruling New Democracy (ND) party on Friday lauded the contribution of citizens who resisted a military dictatorship in Greece that began on April 21, 1967 and ended seven years later.
“We honour all these people, regardless of ideological stand or party membership, who strove and sacrificed for the restoration of democracy, so that the dividing lines would fall, so that we could move ahead, avoiding fanaticism and employing dialogue and understanding,” ND said in a statement.
On April 21, 1967, a group of army colonels staged a military coup. The regime collapsed in July 1974 after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Today’s society faced new kinds of difficulties that required collective action.
“This in no way should compromise human rights or political freedom. Our obligations to the new generation are tremendous. Our duty is to take the country one step forward, proceeding with reform and strengthening social cohesion and social justice,” the statement said.
“We are moving with certainty and effectiveness in the right direction to resolve the public’s problems, to meet the challenges of the future,” ND added.
In a separate message, the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) said the protection and reinforcement of democracy concerned all Greek supporters of democracy, along with safeguarding peace, stability and democratic liberties and rights all over the world.
PASOK emphasised the dictatorship was a violent regime that violated democracy and freedom of expression, employing torture, exile and murder.
“Today, thanks to the struggles of the Greek people, Greece possesses a strong democracy, has achieved high goals, the Greek economy has become part of the eurozone, while Cyprus has joined the European Union, a modern social state has been established, and the country has gained a strong position internationally,” the statement said.
“The country has gained significant infrastructure and successfully staged the 2004 Olympic Games. The necessary conditions are in place, so that the Greek people, can finally look to the future with optimism,” it added.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said that the anniversary was a reminder that “the dominance of plutocracy and our country’s active participation in imperialist organisations were incompatible with the rights of the people”.
“With terrorism as a pretext and in coordination with the policies of the U.S. and EU, the governments of PASOK and New Democracy have passed laws and signed treaties that ‘legalise’ keeping files on people, surveillance and oppression of the people’s movement,” the announcement said.
The treatment of strikers, protesting students and farmers and “the terrorism of employers in the workplace” confirmed that the “dictatorship of capital was behind this imposed legality,” KKE added.
The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) noted that for the Left and its members who played a leading role in the seven-year-long anti-dictatorship struggle, the current anniversary was a key event with symbolic and humane content.
“The battle for democracy must be continuous. This struggle is directly associated with peace. Much more so today when peace is being tested, particularly in the Middle East, and when societies have come face to face with attempts to limit democratic rights with the pretext of the [US President George] Bush administration’s ‘war against terror’,” SYN said.