Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Starting today, university students in Greece will demonstrate for three days in a row in protest against planned higher education "reforms."

The demonstrations have been timed to coincide with a two-day session of education ministers from member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The government, fearing the possibility of clashes between demonstrators and the police outside the OECD session, has moved it to a resort hotel in Lagonissi, a seaside town 40 kilometers south of Athens.

The police have taken emergency measures and will use over 2,000 policemen and riot policemen to block access to the hotel, while another 2,000 will be deployed in the center of Athens. The road to Lagonissi, from the 39th to the 42nd kilometer from Athens, will be closed to vehicles from early today to tomorrow afternoon.

For background go to http://oreaddaily.blogspot.com/2006/06/students-take-on-government-in-greece.html

The first report is from Bulgaria's Focus News on today's happenings. The second is from the Independent (UK)

Police and Demonstrators Clash in Athens

There were clashes between police and demonstrators in Greek capital Athens today, Greek agency ANA-MPA reports.

The incident was registered at noon in front of the Lagonissi Hotel where the meeting of the Education Ministers of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is taking place.

About 500 people requested to be granted access to the hotel’s entrance to hand in a declaration. The police refused to do so. Half an hour later the protesting crowd tried to break the police cordon but were dispersed with tear gas.

FOCUS News Agency reminds that the students warned they will hold a three-day rally during the meeting of the OECD Education Ministers. For tomorrow the protesters have planned to hold a rally in front of the Lagonissi Hotel.

Greek police fire teargas at rioting students

Athens - Riot police fired teargas at student demonstrators on Tuesday during clashes in central Athens, the latest in a series of protests against education reforms that have turned violent.

Scores of youths threw petrol bombs, sticks and stones at police in full riot gear, and they returned with several rounds of teargas that left one Athens avenue covered in smoke.

Local television showed demonstrators with scarves wrapped around their heads, breaking up marble paving stones and throwing them at police.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

The centre-right Greek government has been attempting to reform the country's system of higher education. Greece is the only European Union member which does not recognise private universities.

It is facing a deadline by 2010, when the EU hopes to adopt common standards for education that will make cooperation between universities easier and establish equivalence between degrees.

Earlier on Tuesday, student demonstrators also clashed with police at a seaside resort south of Athens where education ministers from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development were holding a meeting.

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