News / Europe

Greek War Hero Fights Austerity Plan

Manolis GlezosManolis Glezos
x
Manolis Glezos
Manolis Glezos
Henry Ridgwell
ATHENS - On the night of May 30, 1941, Manolis Glezos and a friend secretly tore down the swastika flag from the Acropolis in Athens, an act that inspired the resistance movement across Europe.  Now he is fighting for a place in the Greek parliament with the left-wing Syriza coalition.

At 90 years of age, Manolis Glezos is still putting himself on the front line. During anti-government protests in March 2010 and again in February this year, he was tear-gassed by riot police outside parliament.

Now Glezos is battling to win a seat in parliament with the left-wing Syriza coalition - where he intends to fight a European Union austerity plan.
We don't fight [the election] so that we can ascend to power, but so that power is given to the Greek people," said Glezos. "This is what we fight for and this is our goal. The people will decide everything, not us.”

Wartime Resistance Fighter Leads Greek Anti-Austerity Battlei
|| 0:00:00
X
May 29, 2012 12:25 AM
On the night of May 30, 1941, Manolis Glezos and a friend secretly tore down the swastika flag from the Acropolis in Athens, an act that inspired the resistance movement across Europe. Now he is fighting for a place in the Greek parliament with the left-wing Syriza coalition. Henry Ridgwell met one of Greece’s most famous figures and asked him about his latest struggle.
The Syriza bloc won 17 per cent of the vote in the first election.  The party’s rejection of the austerity program the EU and International Monetary Fund imposed in return for financial bailouts has made it a major contender to lead a coalition after the next election in June.

Glezos says the choice between austerity or leaving the euro -- the scenario threatened by countries like Germany - is a “false dilemma”.

“At this moment we are not discussing whether we will exit the eurozone or not," he said. "We ask that the powers within the eurozone change their policy toward Greece.  And of course the [austerity] Memorandum is not even up for discussion. We will abolish it.“

Glezos is well practiced in direct action.

Sixty-one years ago he tore down the swastika flag from the Acropolis with the help of a friend. He was captured by the Nazis in 1942 and tortured in jail.

Glezos spent many more years in prison under Greece’s right-wing military junta. Only an international outcry prevented his execution.
Glezos says his fight has not ended.

“All these friends... all these friends that I lost, all these comrades told me: ‘Don't forget me.’ Therefore, in order not to forget them, it is my obligation to participate in this struggle," said Glezos.

His is a remarkable history.  But Glezos says he has never seen such rapid changes as those that are now befalling Greece, where the huge government debt threatens the country’s economy.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid