ATHENS – President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou highlighted the obligation to defend democracy at all times, including on a personal level, in her message marking the sombre anniversary of April 21, the date of a 1967 coup that established a seven-year military junta in Greece.
“April 21 returns us each year to one of the darkest periods of our contemporary history,” Sakellaropoulou said, noting that the seven-year dictatorship 55 years ago had dismantled the polity and its institutions, worsened national divisions and culminated in the tragedy of Cyprus’ invasion.
“The political, cultural and spiritual regression that the country experienced at the time now seem like distant memories and experiences… the junta of the colonels seems like a completely incongruous condition, a direct and ignominous break with our tradition and sense of statehood.
“At the same time, it reminds us that democracy is not a self-evident or natural condition of political and social life and that its constant defence is the duty of everyone. Not only in the sense of the state and the organisation of power but also as a way of life, daily and tangible, which finds its strongest foundations in freedom and equality, pluralism and respect for fundamental freedoms,” the president said.
“The non-negotiable guarantee of democracy is a source of strength of our individual and collective self,” she added.