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Fight and hostages at the University of Patras

12 April 2013 / 14:04:35  GRReporter
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Teachers at the Technological Educational Institute of Patras (TEI-Patras,) became hostage to a group of students and members of non-academic factions in the premises of the educational institution on Thursday evening. Opponents of the reform of the education system, "Athens," had broken into the room where the academic council was sitting on Thursday afternoon. They threatened that they would not let anyone leave until the head of the Institute, Socrates Kaplanis, and the board resigned.

"We are hostages at present. There are students who had blocked the exit as early as 2:30 pm, not allowing us to leave," teacher-prisoner Yiannis Mitropoulos told Mega TV on Thursday night. He explained that the furious young people held hostage 24 teachers, threatening them that they would take matters into their own hands if they did not meet their demands. "We cannot understand exactly what they want. The groups that are holding us are chaotic and have different demands. Some of them want the resignation of the head of the Institute and others - of various board members."

Under the plan "Athens," the Department of Management and Economy will be transferred from the Institute in Patras to Mesolongi and the Social Activities Department will be closed after 2018. The students had decided to take matters into their own hands and intimidate the teachers in order for them to keep the two departments in Patras. They said that the Institute’s management had not protected their interests and had not pushed for not taking any measures as regards the departments before the Ministry of Education. About 70 people had blocked the meeting room, not allowing anyone to get in or out of it.

Members of the student organization PASP tried to help the teachers and release them from their unlawful detention but to no avail since their efforts resulted in clashes between the different youth groups.

"Three or four students were injured and were then taken to hospital. The council had decided that the institute should continue to operate normally. Then, a group of students of the United Independent Left Movement (EAAK), studying mainly "Social business," broke into the hall, demanding resignations," Socrates Kaplanis explained for VimaFM on Friday morning.

After hours of tension, two women, members of the council, had a nervous breakdown during the night and they had to be sent home by taxi. At about 1:30 on Friday morning, the students and their supporters from other organizations allowed the teachers to leave. The head of the Institute refused to sign his resignation under pressure of blackmails and threats. According to his description of the events, he had been sent off with the words, "Leave, you're not welcome here. We'll set the department on fire."

"Terrorism has reached its limits. They made us dirty with paints. They demolished the halls. This is the jungle of the country. There is no way to take measures. There are no civil rights. Everyone should condemn what happened," said the head.

GRReporter tried to contact the Public Relations Department of TEI-Patras, but no one has answered the phone so far. Further details are to be submitted later in the day.

Tags: SocietyEducationPlan AthensGreecePatrasCrisisHostages
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