Greek Communists Attack Harry Truman Statue in Protest Against U.S. Airstrikes in Syria

On Monday, supporters of Greece’s communist party attempted to tear down a statue of President Harry Truman in response to U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria, according to reports.

The bronze statue of America’s 33rd president stands at around 12-feet tall in Greece’s capital Athens. It was built in 1963 with the financial support of a prominent Greek-American organization, and it was meant to pay homage to the Truman Doctrine—which saw the U.S. give around $2 billion to combat communist guerrilla forces during the Greek civil war of the late 1940s.

But in the years since the statue was first erected, it has been the frequent target of vandals and protesters. The statue has been covered in paint on numerous occasions, and it had to be replaced in 1986 after it was bombed.   

Monday’s action marked another attempt by Greek protesters to remove the statue in the heart of their capital. After the U.S. launched airstrikes in Syria on Friday evening in response to alleged chemical attacks against civilians, communist party members attempted to topple the statue by cutting its feet with a metal cutter and attaching ropes to it. The attempt was unsuccessful, however, because riot police quickly arrived to disperse the vandals.

Members of Greece’s communist party, however, also marched in front of the U.S. embassy to denounce what they called U.S. imperialism. The communist party is farther to the left than Greece’s left-wing ruling party Syriza. Its members maintain that capitalism is an evil that cannot be reformed, and it argues against participation in and cooperation with European Union institutions.

"The communist and workers’ parties express their internationalist solidarity to the people of Syria and the other peoples of the region, they call upon the working class, the people’s forces to reinforce the struggle against the imperialist interventions and wars, of the NATO, the USA and the EU,” the group said in a statement, which was signed by members of communist parties across Europe.

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