Shots of the fourth Marathon Peace March, 42 kilometres from Marathon to the centre of Athens. A landmark event demanding international peace and disarmament on 22 May 1966.
The first Marathon Peace March, led by the EDA MP Gregoris Lambrakis, took place on 21 April 1963.
The march on this film is the last one; one year later (1967) the event was forbidden by the Colonels’ Junta that had staged a coup and taken over the government. The march was reinstated as part of the peace movement in the 1980s.
In the film, shortly before the march begins, we can see protestors with banners and signs carrying messages of peace. The peace sign and doves are the dominant symbols. The cries are “Stop the war in Vietnam”.
We can also see the banners of local representations from all of Greece. Banners from Thessaloniki, Arcadia, Karditsa, Ikaria, Crete – some protesters are dressed in the island’s traditional attire – Cyprus. Many are from the Attica area: Aigaleo, Tauros, Petroupoli, Piraeus, Kaisariani, Kokkinia. Many banners bear the face of Gregoris Lambrakis.
As marchers walk by we can discern signs bearing messages such as “Invest in people, not bombs”, “NATO keep out of Cyprus”, “No more wars”, “The future belongs to peace”. A float passes by; on it is a male figure in overalls holding the hands of a soldier who is holding a bomb.
The police monitor the march.
From the top of a banner hangs a German helmet with a dove nesting inside.
The protestors chat as they walk, some are barefoot, some run, others laugh, dance, stop to enjoy a bit of shade and rest and eat, some stop at a fountain to drink water and pose for the cinematographer in an atmosphere of optimism.
A helicopter flies over the march.
From the long shots which show the length of the road, it is easy to see that it was an enormous march with people of all ages – from babies in their strollers holding on to balloons with the peace sign, to old people.