TWENTY thousand university and school students, primary and secondary school teachers and universities staff marched through Athens last Thursday in a determined and enthusiastic mood to defeat the Greek right-wing government plans for private universities for profit and thus deliver a blow to free state education.
Students in the march said that about 80% of all university departments have been occupied following mass students meetings in each department.
University students held large banners stating: ‘No to private universities – free modern state education’ and shouted ‘university and school students united victorious!’ and ‘the government’s plans will be thrown on fire!’.
School students of the Athens – Piraeus metropolitan area, held their makeshift banners proclaiming ‘you cannot decide without us’ and shouted ‘never, never, never!’. Greek National Theatre Drama Students’ banner stated ‘no to the commercialisation of education’.
There were many more teachers’ trade union branches participating in the march as compared to Thursday’s 18 January. The Secondary Teachers Trade Union banner stated ‘No to the privatisation of education’.
The Greek government mobilised some 1,000 armed riot police and water cannon vehicles to intimidate and confront the students.
Mass student marches were held in all the main Greek cities. There were some clashes between students and riot police in the cities of Thessaloniki and Patras.
On Friday and Saturday university students would be holding mass meetings in their departments to decide on another demonstration next Thursday and other mobilisations.
Some students’ unions have decided to participated in this Sunday’s Freedom to Palestine march in Athens organised by trade unions.