Greece celebrates "Ochi Day" sending message against fascism

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ATHENS, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Greece celebrated on Sunday the national holiday of the "Ochi Day" (No Day) with military and pupils' parades across the country, sending a strong message against the revival of fascism.

"Ochi" is the response given on Oct. 28, 1940 by the then head of government to Italy's ultimatum to surrender the country to the Axis forces. It marked Greece's entrance in World War II.

For the first time, Italian President Sergio Mattarella joined Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Sunday to observe the military parade.

Later the two leaders are scheduled to visit the island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea in western Greece to pay tribute to the Italian soldiers executed in 1943 by German troops on the island, and to the Greeks who died during resistance.

The 'No' of the Greek people on Oct. 28, 1940 was and still remains a great 'Yes' to freedom and democracy and inspires the struggle to defend the European edifice against racist populism, Pavlopoulos said in his message for the day, according to an e-mailed press statement from his office.

The presence of the Italian president in Thessaloniki symbolized the common struggle to defend Europe, the Greek leader explained.

Greece and Italy have left behind what divided them in the past and have learned from the bitter experience of fascism, he stressed.

"Today we honor the 'No' against fascism and Nazism... We also assume our historic role to fight at the frontline against racism... so that we will never again see in Europe the revival of fascism," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in his e-mailed message for the day.

Meanwhile, thousands of young students nationwide marched as crowds waved Greek flags, singing the Greek national anthem. Enditem

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