Modern Greek History

Civil Rights Aftermath of the Greek Military Junta

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Greek army parades at a national holiday on AthensThe Greek Military Junta, or dictatorship, lasted in Greece from 1967 to 1974 after a successful coup that was plotted and executed by a group of Greek military officers who were against the royalty. After Greece won its independence from the Ottoman Empire, the country never quite settled in on a stable form of government. Several attempts were made to establish a democratic republic, but in between that, Greece was ruled by the royalty. On top of that, the country also experienced a few hours, including a civil war, as well as occupation by the Germans. This military dictatorship is another piece of the puzzle.

During the Junta, the people were fairly oppressed under this system of government. Besides the fact that it is officially classified as a dictatorship, there were also several civil rights problems that were part of the time period. Here’s an overview of exactly what they were:

Article 14 of the Constitution Was Suspended

Soon after the military took control of Greece, Article 14 of the Greek Constitution, which protected both freedom of thought and freedom the press, was suspended so that the government could exert more control over the media and, as some interpreted, the people’s very thoughts. State music related to the military was played on the radio instead of the regular programing people had been enjoying. Every now and then, the music would be interrupted by the junta issuing orders and telling people what they could and couldn’t do.

The Junta Controlled the Government

The military dictatorship also immediately began to influence the government and set out to dismantle the democracy that had been in place before the dictatorship. The suspended the court system that had been established by the Greek Constitution and set up military courts, instead. They also dissolved all preexisting political parties and any legislations that had been set up by parliament under the political system that came before the junta. They also took away the people’s right to assembly and even prohibited people from getting photographs taken in public. While the Greek people could participate in certain public or societal events, they had to be approved and accepted by the government.

Greece Accused of Violating Human Rights

Many of the civil rights changes that the junta made after they came into power happened in 1967, shortly after the coup itself. Other countries took notice, such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands, and they took their concerns before the European Commission of Human Rights to accuse the junta of violating their people’s civil rights. This was largely in response to the fact that the junta either imprisoned or exiled over 6000 people that they suspected were either communists or those who opposed the dictatorship’s agenda. The Greek Military Police were also accused of torturing people. Amnesty International estimates that in the first month after the coup, over 8000 people were arrested, some of whom were tortured in order to gather information.

The Greek Military Junta came to an end in 1974 when Greece’s Parliamentary Democracy was officially restored. Those who were part of the junta were arrested and put on trial to be held accountable for their crimes.

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – Greek Military Junta

 

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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