Greeks are standing up to their government against what they perceive as sacrificing the country's sovereignty to foreign lenders
For Greeks, October 28th is a revered day -- marking their resistance to tyranny and the anniversary of a 1940 response to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's demand that Greece surrender without a fight during World War II.
Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas was said to have written a one-word response: "Oxi" -- No.
The response unified the Greeks, who pushed the Italian Army out. This forced Nazi Germany to take matters into its own hands and occupy Greece through a concerted military effort.
Since then, Greece has celebrated the day with military parades and shows for standing up to the Axis powers.
But this year, the demonstrations took on a different importance. The public, already angered by waves of pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and layoffs as a condition of $157 billion in bailout loans to stave off default, forced besieged politicians to stay at home for ceding the country's sovereignty to foreign lenders.
Many direct the growing anger at the EU, especially at Germany, whose Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded last week a "permanent supervision" of Greece after she pressured European banks to accept a 50% loss on the value of Greek bonds.
"Seventy-one years ago our people said 'no' to subjugation, and today the people are saying 'no' to our country becoming a protectorate," WWII resistance hero Manolis Glezos told ANT-1 TV.
Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou took pains to explain in a nationally-televised speech why Greece agreed to the Troika presence until 2020, arguing it "will pave the way for us to freedom from dependency".
Few seem to agree with him. In Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, demonstrators blocked the parade route and politicians -- apart from President Karolos Papoulias and city Mayor Yiannis Boutaris -- were afraid to show.
Even Papoulias, 82, one of the few respected politicians, was called a traitor.
He responded: "They should be ashamed of themselves. We fought for Greece. I was an insurgent since the age of 15. I fought the Nazis and the Germans, and now they call me a traitor?"
In Athens, the scene of months of demonstrations and riots, protesters wore black shirts emblazoned with OXI, high school students turned their faces away from a reviewing stand, and people said they were defying their government, one they believe has collaborated with foreign powers and ceded its sovereignty.
"This is what Oxi means," Agatha Papanopi, 31, told SETimes as she sat in a cafeteria after a low-key military parade with her friends, all wearing the shirt.
She said they and hundreds of others also hung banners from their balconies with that message.
"If I could persuade even one person, it's a victory; if I could get him off the couch where he was listening to the prime minister saying Greeks were guilty," she said, referring to Papandreou's speech.
"We don't believe them. More austerity measures will be imposed on the people," her friend, Silia Vitoratou, 35, told SETimes.
The parade in Iraklio, Crete, was also cancelled when protestors attacked dignitaries. Athens' municipal band marched with black ribbons tied to their instruments and stopped playing when it reached the podium where Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou was standing.
In front of the parade reviewing stand outside parliament in Athens' Syntagma Square, Hara Tzavara, 25, a college student, told SETimes that she came because "We had to say Oxi. We want a better future … we are not society's garbage."
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