ATHENS (Reuters) - Thousands of Greeks marched through central Athens on Thursday to mark the anniversary of a violently quashed student uprising in 1973 that helped topple the military junta which then ruled the country.
The annual march to the embassy of the United States, which many Greeks accuse of supporting the 1967-1974 military dictatorship, often becomes a focal point for protests against government policies.
Demonstrators on Thursday held banners reading "U.S. and NATO get out, disengagement from war" and a few protesters wore T-shirts that read "Fight for peace and disarmament". Brief tension broke out between police and protesters before the march reached the heavily guarded parliament on Syntagma square.
Police had deployed more than 5,000 of police officers in Athens. A helicopter and drones hovered over the central Syntagma Square and neighbouring districts through the day.
At the front of the procession, youths held a blood-stained flag that belonged to the students engaged in the 1973 revolt.
Earlier, people laid wreaths and carnations at the Athens Polytechnic, site of a bloody clamp-down on Nov. 17 1973 when tanks smashed through the gates to crush the revolt that heralded the end of the junta.
The junta unravelled in 1974, amid a public outcry over a coup they instigated in Cyprus, triggering Turkey's invasion of the island just days later.
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)