TENS of thousands of Greek university and school students, along with teachers and universities’ staff, participated in protest marches in all major cities against the government’s plans to allow the establishment of private universities. Many schools and universities were occupied by students on Wednesday and Thursday.
Students say that the government have closed down dozens of schools and merged university departments with the intention to further reducing university places and impose fees on university studies.
This is leading to low quality studies and to the decimation of state education.
The absence of an adequate number of university departments and professional post school education institutes has allowed the proliferation of so called profit run ‘university colleges’, many linked to US, British and EU universities who charge very high fees.
For a number of years the US Embassy in Greece has been pressurising the Greek government to allow the functioning of US profit-run universities.
In Athens over 15,000 school and university students, along with many delegation of teachers’ trade union branches, staged a most militant and enthusiastic march chanting rhymed slogans expressing their determination to fight against the government’s plans and to defend their studies and free state education.
As the march converged on the square of the Vouli (Greek parliament) building, students were attacked with tear-gas by armed riot police who hit them with their shields and truncheons and pushed them on the street.
But students holding their banner high up and chanting slogans against the government and the police, remained for hours outside the Vouli. The hundreds of armed riot police did not attack.
The march made it absolutely clear that the students will fight all the way against the government’s attacks on free state education while the government will intensify the violence of the armed police.