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Protests continue in Athens over plans to introduce university police force

DEMONSTRATIONS continued in Athens over the weekend against plans to introduce a police force within universities, with protesters calling for the reopening of education facilities that have been closed for a year.

The demonstrations started in the Greek capital on Thursday with a march on parliament, where students were joined by teaching unions and other workers. Slogans included: “We are defending our education and our future,” and “We are struggling for the studies and education we need.”

Protesters are demanding the €30 million (£26.7m) allocated by the conservative New Democracy government for the new police force be used instead to open universities with coronavirus measures in place.

The plans are part of a government education restructure that will open the doors to police, bringing an end to a decades-long ban on them entering university grounds.

The demonstrations have been met with a violent response, with police attacking students and firing tear gas in a bid to break up the crowds.

At the end of last year riot police use drones in an operation on a student dormitory in Athens before storming the building and making six arrests. It is believed to be the first time police had entered student accommodation in Greece.

Hundreds of students protested on Saturday against the arrests, warning that the education reforms would lead to similar actions at universities in the future.

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) offered support to the students, warning the government it was mistaken to think they would end their struggle.

“They will decisively continue the struggle for open, public and free universities, which will promote learning and research for the benefit of the people and not the business activity and investments of the few.

“They will struggle for universities of academic freedom and research and not repression and authoritarianism,” it said in a statement.

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