Greece: law would allow police in universities, students protest

Agents without weapons but with batons and spray

14 January, 17:49

    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, JANUARY 14 - Hundreds of students demonstrated on Thursday in Athens, challenging the coronavirus lockdown to protest against a bill that would impose a police presence on university campuses for the first time.

    One of the banners at the protest said "No to police at the universities", held aloft by protesters wearing face masks.

    Brief moments of tension occurred when police used tear gas to bring protesters back to the sidewalk and restore traffic on the streets of the capital.

    Demonstrations also took place in Thessaloniki and Patras.

    The Greek education ministry announced Wednesday a bill that would establish a special police force to patrol universities, often the site of violence between various political groups.

    The force would be made up of a thousand police officers, without firearms but equipped with batons and anti-aggression spray, and placed under the auspices of law enforcement to collaborate with the rectorate of each university.

    The presence of police at Greek universities, traditionally very politicised, has been a delicate topic since the bloody repression in November 1973 by the army and police of a student movement at Athens Polytechnic.

    The students were protesting against the Greek military junta at the time, and the event, which marked the beginning of the end of the regime, is commemorated every year. When Grece returned to democracy, in 1974, a law was passed that still forbids police from entering university compounds. (ANSAmed).


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