The 32nd annual Marathon Peace March, organised by the Hellenic Committee for International Detente and Peace (EEDYE) set off from Marathon on Sunday, and is expected to be completed at 6:30 pm at the National Defence Ministry on Messogion Avenue.
The peace march set off at 8:00 am from the Tomb of Marathon, with the route passing through Nea Makri, Rafina, Pallini, Aghia Paraskevi, Halandri, Holargos and Papagou, with additional marchers joining the initial march along the way.
This year's peace event will culminate with marchers circling the National Defence ministry "as a form of protest against the Greek governments' policy of sending Greek soldiers to various fronts, from Afghanistan to Libya, and prospectively to Syria," EEDYE president Evangelos Machairas told ANA-MPA.
The history of the marathon peace marches has its roots in April 21, 1963, when the first peace march was organised with the participation of thousands of people who defied a ban by the then government.
The leader of that first peace march was Greek pacifist, politician and track and field athlete, and member of the faculty of Athens University's School of Medicine, Grigoris Lambrakis who, a year earlier, was elected vice-president by the 1st EEDYE national congress, and a month later, on May 22, 1963, was assassinated during the association's first event in Thessaloniki.
The first peace rally was organised on April 21, 1963, despite a ban, and man demonstrators-marchers were arrested, including Mikis Theodorakis.
Protected by his immunity as an MP in the Hellenic parliament, Lambrakis completed the march alone, holding a banner with the peace symbol that he had previously held during the Aldermaston rally in the UK while protesting near the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE), and was also arrested afterwards by police.
Although the demands of the peace march vary year-to-year depending on the current political affairs, the primary demand for peace and detente has remained unaltered.