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.”

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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs