Over 300 university and polytechnic departments now under occupation by Greek students
Despite the fact that the Greek academic year has yet to begin, students in universities and polytehnics across the country are already gearing up to resist contoversial reform programme being introduced by minister for education, Anna Diamantopoulou.
According to student leaders over 300 department in institutions of higher education nationwide are now being occupied by students unhappy with changes designed to overhaul Greece's ailing universities and technical schools. For protesting students and academics the reforms are little more than than a cost cutting exercise being foisted upon Athens by its international creditors anxious to bring public spending down.
Amongst the most contested elements in the reform package is the abolition of the country's campus asylum laws whch mean that the police are only allowed to enter university/polytechnc proprty at the inviation of the dean. Such laws ahve long been a thorn in the side of the authorities as it means that institutions of higher education are essentially off limits to the police.
Today students took part in demonstrations nationwide, in the northern port city of Thessaloniki between two and three thousand students marched peacefully through the centre of the city.
The latest wave of protests in yet another headache for the ruling PASOK party whose austerity measures have been opposed by an ever widening section of Greek society and has seen groups as diverse as taxi drivers and doctors clashing with the authorities. With popular support at record low levels prime minister Giorgos Papandreou attempts to implement deeply unpopular economic measures demanded by the IMF and EU are in danger of failing completely.