Organization for the Protection of the People's Struggle


Organization for the Protection of the People's Struggle

The Organization for the Protection of the People's Struggle (Greek: Οργάνωση Προστασίας Λαϊκού Αγώνα, abbreviated ΟΠΛΑ - OPLA, an acronym meaning "weapons" in Greek) was a special division of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) during the Axis Occupation of Greece in World War II. It was part of the broader National Liberation Front, but was not controlled by it, but directly by the Politburo of the KKE. It can be described as a paramilitary security force. It operated in the cities, and its purpose was the "self-defense" of the members of the National Liberation Front (EAM) and its affiliated organizations from the German occupation authorities and the collaborationist government, the Police and the Security Battalions. It proved to be very successful in assassinating commanders of the Security Battalions. However, it also became involved in political assassinations of political opponents of the KKE on both ends of the political spectrum, such as Trotskyites and Archio-Marxists. As a result, the activities of the OPLA are a subject of heated debate even today.

The organization was active during the December 1944 events in Athens, and during the subsequent Greek Civil War, especially in Thessaloniki and Northern Greece in 1946-1947. One of its more notable later actions was the assassination of Justice Minister Christos Ladas in Athens on 1 May 1948, by OPLA and KKE member Efstratios Koutsogiannis. In Macedonia and Epirus during the Civil War, the OPLA assassinated many high-ranking officers of the Greek Gendarmerie.

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