Athens — Several hundred protesters from the Communist party in Greece gathered on Monday, aiming to topple down the statue of U.S. president Harry Truman. They were there to protest the air strikes on Syria that sent scores of missiles down on chemical weapons targets throughout Syria. The protesters tied ropes to the statue in an attempt to tear it down; they also brought a grinder to try and separate the statue from its feet to make it easier to fall. None of these attempts were successful, and before long the riot police arrived — they dispersed the crowd using tear gas, and in the fray three protesters were injured. The statue remained relatively undamaged.

This statue, close to several key political locations like the Prime Minister’s office and the U.S. Embassy, has been the target of vandalism before. SOFREP asked our very own, Vasilis Chronopoulos, a 5 year veteran of Greek SOF, to explain the anti-U.S. sentiment coming from these Greeks. He said,

A lot of the animosity comes from the help that came from the U.S. to the Greek government during the civil war. After that, the main reason is that the U.S. is a capitalist country — which it is — and they feel like that means the U.S. needs to exploit other people in order to be successful. So they see the U.S. as a kind of modern imperialist country, as if they were the only country that acted that way. But at the same time, when the Soviet Union did things in the Czech Republic or in Afghanistan, these groups said nothing. That’s very strange — in Syria now, the Russians could do practically whatever they want and you’re not going to hear anything, but a couple days ago after the bombardment with the Tomahawks and all that, people go to the streets to protest.”

AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris

Who are the communists in Greece?

The Communist Party of Greece, or the Kommounistikó Kómma Elládas (KKE), has been active in Greece since 1918. They are the oldest, current and active political party in Greece, and currently have representatives within parliament and throughout local government. They subscribe to communist Marxism-Leninism ideology and have been gaining supporters and growing in recent years. While they attempt to align themselves with left-leaning political groups, they often find that they cannot come to terms with many of them, even those that also claim to be rooted in communist and/or socialist ideas.

Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press.